Playing golf the same way every time can get a bit boring. This is where golfers look for tournaments that allow for alternate shot formats, Match play, or even Best-ball formats.

image of what is a chapman golf format - AEC Info

In the end, the game of golf is supposed to be fun, and the Chapman golf format, or the “Chapman System” is an excellent way to enjoy your time with a friend on the golf course. If you are curious about how this format is played and some tips to win your next Chapman, we have you covered. 

What Is a Chapman Golf Format? 

A Chapman golf tournament is a team event with two players hitting a drive, then switching drives, and then choosing the best ball to play into the hole from there. If the Chapman is played as a net event, there is a combined team handicap that will be advantageous to players.

Handicap allowances will be modified to ensure that they are fair for both Player A and Player B. A Chapman tournament can also be called a Pinehurst or a modified alternate shot.  It is different than an Four-ball golf format.

How To Play Chapman System?

To play a Chapman tournament, you can follow these basic steps. Although the first few holes may seem a bit confusing, once you get started with this format, it becomes quite enjoyable. 

An infographic on how to play the chapman system

Step 1: Drives

Both golfers will hit their tee shots. There is no need for players to alternate which holes they hit their tee shots on because both teammates will hit a drive on each hole. 

Step 2: Switch 

The next step involved you hitting your 2nd shot from the position of your partner’s drive. If your golf ball ends up on the left side of the fairway in some trouble, it will be your partner’s job to get this ball back into play. 

Step 3: Make a Choice

When you get to the 3rd shot, there will still be two golf balls in play. Players will decide whether Player A’s ball or Player B’s ball is in the best position. Both golfers move to this position. 

Step 4: Alternate

From this point on, only one ball will be played into the hole. Golfers will alternate until the ball is holed. If Player B’s golf ball was selected as the better shot, Player A hits the next shot.

Wherever that ball comes to rest, Player B will then take the next shot. This process repeats until the ball is holed. 

Step 5: Scoring

At the end of the hole, a team score is recorded. Many tournaments will require both a gross and a net team score.

It’s important to note that even though this is a team format, both players are able to have their own set of golf clubs, and they do not need to share clubs.  

A valid Golf handicap is required to play the Chapman System in a tournament. 

Chapman Golf Format Strategy 

If you have a Chapman golf tournament coming up, you may want to get some tips that will make your 2-Man Chapman a bit more successful. This tends to be a tough format for golfers who are new to the game or weaker players that tend to struggle when the pressure is on.

image of what is a chapman golf format - AEC Info

  • The Chapman golf format can be played in a stroke play format or match play format depending on what the tournament organizers are planning; make sure that you understand the full scope of the format
  • The weaker partner should typically go first to see what they do with their shot; golfers capable of awesome golf shots may be able to be creative about the drive they put out there for their partner to play 
  • The Chapman is a fun event if you and your partner both contribute, don’t put too much pressure on yourself; simply play as if you were enjoying an individual stroke play event
  • Communicate well with your partner during the alternate shot portion of the event, and ask them the type of golf shot they would like to have into the hole; sometimes, a 100 yard shot is more favorable than an 80 yard shot into the green 
  • Bad shots will happen, but creative shots and smart shots can fix them; make sure you always have at least one ball in play before you get to the alternate shot sequence 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions about the Chapman golf format, also known as Pinehurst and American Foursomes.

Is Chapman Golf Format Hard? 

The Chapman format can be very difficult to play. As far as golf is concerned, anytime teammates must rely on each other, the pressure is considerably higher.

image of what is a chapman golf format - AEC Info

One of the good things about a Chapman is that both players get to hit tee shots; this helps it to be a bit easier than a traditional alternate shot tournament. 

Are Chapman and Pinehurst the same? 

Chapman and Pinehurst are the same competition for golfers. Both players will hit from the teeing ground, followed by a switch of the golf ball in play, and then alternate shot into the hole. The Chapman can also be called American Foursomes. 

 The modified Chapman format requires golfer A and golfer B to tee off, and then the best shot is chosen and the player’s alternate shots into the hole from here. Essentially, the modified Chapman starts the alternate shot section of the event a bit sooner. 


We hope you now understand what the Chapman System is and whether or not this would be a good event for you to play in. If you belong to a private country club, chances are there are events like this that take place throughout the course of the year.

The key is to find a partner that you trust and can rely on and enjoy your time out on the golf course together. Chapman is an event that has been around for many years, and it will likely stay that way for quite some time.