If you have ever taken a golf trip with your buddies, Play in a weekly golf league, or just the occasional golfer, someone in your group has probably asked “What are we playing for?” or “What side games are we playing?”. There are few things better in life than when you get to take money from your golfing buddies (especially when they are better than you).
So today we aren’t going to be talking per hole bet games or Skins games, today we are talking about more complex, but extremely fun games. Let’s dig in.
Let’s start off with a game that is perfect for 4 golfers with 2 teams of 2. Vegas!
The two scores for each team are put together in order to form a double-digit number. NOT added together. Don’t worry, once you see an example it’ll be your favorite game on the list. Make sure everyone is comfortable with the dollar amount per point. Even a $0.25 per point can add up quickly as you can see.
Let’s talk about how to play: Remember that the two scores are NOT added together. They are put together or paired together (lower score first). We are going to use Golfer A and Golfer B. If Golfer A scores 5 and B scores a 6, that would be a 56. Fifty-six would be the score for Team 1 on the first hole. The smaller number goes first. Now the betting comes in — let’s say that the bet is placed at $1 per point — on Hole 1 if the team with a score of 3 and 4 are together for a 34, and Team B scores 4 and 4 for 44, the difference between the two is 10 points. The winning team just won $10. This is a volatile game as the winnings, or losing add up fast.
Bingo, Bango, Bongo:
Moving on to the popular game Bingo, Bango, Bongo. This game is great for groups of 2+. A very important point here is to play every shot in order based on honors and distance from the pin. There will be a total of three points available for each hole. One for the first player who reaches the green (bingo), one for the player closest to the pin (bango) and one for the first player to hole out (bongo). This is a great game to try because the best score will not always win. The goal is to get the most points during the round. At the end of the round you add up your points and the highest score wins. This game is especially great when you have golfers that vary in skill levels. With 54 total points up for grabs, just make sure everyone is comfortable with the amount per point before you tee off.
Another great game for 4 players is Wolf. You will play many different partners with this game but points will be added up individually. Let me explain how to play.
On the first hole flip a tee and see who it points towards. The person the Tee is pointing at will be the “Wolf” for the first hole. Next determine how much the points are worth in dollar amounts.
Here are the rules:
All players will take turns being the wolf as it switches players every hole. After the first player is determined the wolf for the first hole, then pick an order to stick with following that.
All players tee off and then after that the wolf decides if they want to play “Lone wolf” and play against the other 3 players, or pick a partner of their choosing. The wolf gets double points if they go “Lone Wolf” which equals 4 points vs 2 if they were to pick a partner.
If the Wolf and their partner lose the hole, the other team gets 3 points each.
If the wolf goes Lone Wolf and loses, all other players get a point.
Scoring: The object of the game is to have the most points at the end of the round.
Lone Wolf: 4 Points
Wolf + Partner Win Hole: 2 Points
Wolf + Partner Lose Hole: Other Team Earns 3 Points
Lone Wolf Loses Hole: Other players earn 1 point
Otherwise known as “Hollywood or Round Robin”, is a great game on our list which is suited for 4 players. You will need to establish the betting and dollar amounts beforehand. Keep in mind that this game us best suited for groups of 4 who are similar in skill level. Since there will be 3 different matches, you can bet on each match as well as the aggregate. Matchplay is usually how scoring is kept. So before you tee off, Player A will flip a tee to see who their first partner will be between players B, C, and D. Player A will play 6 holes with Player B, 6 Holes with Player C and 6 Holes with player D. The winner is the person who has been on the winning side of at least two matches. So, you could lose the first six-hole match but win the second and third, and still come out on top.
Nassau is a popular game that is great for 2 or 4 golfers. Nassau breaks an 18-hole match into three matches: one for the front, one for the back and one for the overall score. The players will determine the dollar betting amount before the match begins. For example, a $10 Nassau would mean a total of $30 per player is at stake in the match (which means $10 for the front, $10 for the back, $10 for the overall match). What makes it different than just regular match play, however, is that you can “press,” which essentially ends one of the front or back nine bets and starts a new bet. A player/team can press when down two holes. For example, if TEAM A is down two holes to TEAM B after six holes, TEAM A could press, which would end the front nine bet and create an additional wager on holes 7-9. In this scenario, TEAM B wins the original bet, and TEAM A is trying to get back to even as their bet is now doubled. There are many nuances to this game and pressing, so just be sure to communicate the rules beforehand to everyone playing.
Favorite Game for Groups of 2 or 4:
This might be our favorite game on the entire list. This game is played 1-on-1 or 2-on-2. You create a set pot for each hole, let’s say $5. At any point to the match, one player/team can “hammer” the other, which the other team can either “fold” — which means they lose the $5 bet and the hole is over — or the hole doubles in value to $10. Let’s say Team 1 hits a shot in the fairway bunker off the first tee while Team 2 hits it in the fairway. Team 2 would likely hammer the bet to $10, but if Team 1 then hits a great shot out of the fairway bunker to five feet from the hole, they can then hammer back the other team and make the hole worth $20. Back-and-forth it goes: If Team 2 then puts it to 10 feet from the hole and subsequently drains the putt, they would re-hammer Team 1 and make them drain their five-foot putt for $40. Talk about pressure!
Best Game For A Group of Three
It’s tough to find fun games for groups of three, but this one might be the best. There are a total of nine points available on each hole (make sure to determine what $ amount each point is worth). The player with the low score on a hole gets five points. The player with the second-lowest score gets three points. The player with the worst score on a hole gets one point. If there are ties, you simply divide the points by the number of players tied. For example, if two players tie for the best score on a hole. That means they split the first- and second-place points (5+3/2=4 apiece). The player with the most points at the end of the round will collect from the other two players, and the 2nd place player will collect from the 3rd place player.
What gambling games do you love playing, but aren’t on our list? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.