The best golf betting games can make your round of golf way more interesting. Not only do you get to beat your buddies at golf, but you also get to take their money while you’re at it.
The beauty of golf is that it has a handicap system. So, high handicappers can play low handicappers on an even playing field, making betting games in golf all the more fun.
You can still beat your buddies and go home with the cash even if you have a high handicap. It’d be unfair and boring if the lowest handicapper won every time.
We’ll outline the 10 best golf betting games for those who like to up the stakes on the course. Having a bet can add more excitement to the game and make those pressure putts all the more challenging.
The Nassau is one of the easiest golf betting games to play, making it popular among many players. Golfers can play it in a 2 vs. 2 team format or in the “every man for himself” variety.
The classic Nassau consists of three separate bets in one round of golf. Players can bet on the front nine, the back nine, and the full 18 holes. Golfers sometimes call the $2 Nassau the 2-2-2 for that reason.
How to Play Nassau
- Decide whether to play in a team format or an individual one – the 2 vs. 2 team format is best if you have a foursome, while an individual one is better if you have a threesome.
- Agree on the bets for the front nine, the back nine, and the full 18 holes – the bet can be any amount everyone agrees on.
- You can apply the Nassau format to any scoring system, but matchplay is the most common and is easy to follow. The team or individual who wins the hole after applying your handicaps scores a point.
- Payouts can change due to pressing.
Players can up the stakes within a game of Nassau by including the optional variation of pressing. A team or player who is two or more holes down in a nine-hole segment can call a press.
The press starts a new bet of the same value as the original bet. So, the bet can double from $2 for the nine holes to $4.
Say a team is two holes down after four holes on the front nine of a $2 Nassau and calls a press. That adds another $2 bet to the remaining five holes of the front nine. However, the opposing team needs to accept the bet because it doesn’t need to take the extra bet.
If the opposing team accepts the bet, the other team has the chance to break even. They can win the $2 from the five-hole bet but still lose the overall nine, canceling out the loss.
However, they can double their overall loss if they lose the five-hole bet and the overall nine holes. They’d have to pay the opposing team $4.
Skins is another favorite golf betting game among players. The first televised professional Skins Game took place in 1983, and the event continued until 2008.
Gary Player defeated Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson in the first event in 1983. He won $170,000 for that event.
However, Fred Couples became the most successful Skins player. He won $3,515,000 from the game and was known as ‘Mr. Skins’ because of his skill playing that format.
How to Play Skins
- Skins uses a match-play format and can be played with 2, 3, or 4 golfers like Nassau.
- Golfers must decide how much each hole is worth before they start – it could be a dime, a buck, or whatever you want. The amount is called the Skin.
- The Skin gets carried over to the next hole if two or more players half the hole, no matter what score the other players get. For instance, the Skin is carried over if two players get a par, even if the other players score double bogeys. The next hole is then worth two Skins. It gets carried over again if players half it, and so on until someone wins the hole outright.
- At the end of the game, the player with the most Skins wins.
Not every hole needs to have the same dollar amount for a Skin. For instance, the first six holes, the middle six holes, and the last six holes can have different amounts.
The Skin for each of the first six could be worth $1, the Skin for each of the middle six could be worth $3, and the Skin for each of the last six holes could be worth $6.
You can arrange it however you like, as long as everyone agrees.
Vegas is a game for teams of two players. It has a unique scoring system and involves some risk, as the name suggests.
How to Play Vegas
- Arrange the two-person teams
- Agree on the payout amount for each point
- Use the Vegas scoring system
Vegas Scoring System
The scoring system makes Vegas super interesting. And it can lead to some big wins (or losses).
You must combine the score of each player on the team to get the team’s score. However, you don’t add the two scores together in a traditional sense.
For instance, the score isn’t 10 if both players score a 5 on the hole. The Vegas score is 55.
If one player scores a 3 and the other gets a 4, the team’s score is 34. The lowest score always makes up the first number of the team’s score, with one exception.
The lowest score never makes up the first number if one of the players hits double figures on a hole. For instance, if one player scores a 5 and the other scores a 10, the team’s score isn’t 510.
The system gets reversed in that instance, with the highest score coming first. So, the Vegas score in that example is 105, not 510.
Wolf is an enjoyable game to play in a foursome. It can heap pressure on a player, so it’s good for building mental toughness in golf.
How to Play Wolf
- Flip to determine the Wolf for the first hole
- Agree on the betting amounts
- Follow the format below
Each player in the foursome takes turns being the Wolf for a hole. You play in the same order in which you hit off on the first hole throughout the round. However, the Wolf always hits last.
Once everyone has hit, the Wolf can decide to team up with another player or go ‘lone wolf.’ You can win four points in your beat the other three players as a Lone Wolf, but a team only gets two points each for a win.
The other team gets three points each if they beat the Wolf’s team. If any player beats a Lone Wolf, all three players get a point each.
The player with the most points wins the game. Winning holes as a Lone Wolf gives you the best chance of scoring more points, but it has some added pressure.
Blind Wolf is a variation of the game. It allows the Wolf to become a Lone Wolf even before the group has hit off the tee.
5. 6-6-6 (Sixes)
Another popular game is 6-6-6, also called Sixes, Hollywood, or Round Robin. It only works with four players and keeps things interesting throughout the round.
How to Play 6-6-6
- This game consists of three six-hole matches, with the teams changing every six holes. Flip on the first tee to see who the teams are.
- You and your partner play the other team for the first six holes.
- Change teams for the next six holes.
- Change teams again for the last six holes, with the two players who haven’t been on a team yet partnering up.
You can bet on each match individually. However, you can also bet within the matches as well.
6. Bingo, Bango, Bongo!
This is a great game for golfers of all abilities. Beginners and high handicappers can easily score points against better players.
How to Play Bingo, Bango, Bongo
- Bingo – the first player to hit the green
- Bango – the player closest to the pin after every player has hit the green
- Bongo – the first player to put the ball in the hole
As you can see, the score on the hole doesn’t determine the points. So, everyone has a fantastic opportunity to get on the board.
Rabbit is similar to the game of tag you play as a kid. It can be your go-to if you do not like to add up a bunch of different numbers after a round.
You can play Rabbit in a twosome, threesome, or foursome.
How to Play Rabbit
- The first golfer to win a hole outright (with no ties) is the Rabbit, and they remain the Rabbit until a different player wins a hole outright (again, no ties).
- The previous Rabbit either gets set free until any player wins another hole, or the player who won the hole immediately replaces the Rabbit.
- The goal is to be the Rabbit after the 9th and 18th holes when the bets are paid out.
8. 9-Point Game
The 9-Point Game is designed for a threesome. It’s an easy game to play and makes things interesting even if you don’t have a fourth player.
How to Play 9-Point Game
- Nine points are available for each hole – the outright winner gets five, the second place gets three, and the final player gets one.
- If two players tie a hole, the points are split 4:4:1.
- A three-way tie means each player gets three points.
- Tally the points at the end to see who wins the bet.
9. The Dot Game
The Dot Game is a combination of side bets. You can add the Dot Game to any other game you’re playing during a round.
In the Dot Game, you can gain points for the following:
- Closest to the pin on par-3s
- Longest drive (must hit the fairway)
- Sand saves
You can lose points for bogeys, double bogeys, out-of-bounds, etc.
The Dot Game is known for its inventive terms. Here are some other things you can bet on:
- Green hit in regulation – Greeny
- Par save from water – Fishy
- Par save after hitting trees – Barky
- Par save from sand – Sandy
- Holing from off the green – Chippy
10. Bounce Back
Bounce Back is a favorite side-betting game amongst streaky golfers. A golfer who often feels those “double-bogey blues” can consider installing a bounce-back rule to the round. The game is designed to reward a gutsy player who shows the tenacity to put a bad hole behind him quickly.
Bounce Back is a fun game for any skill level of golfer, but it is especially beneficial for new players. Bounce Back can get young players used to playing under pressure, increasing their confidence and mental toughness!
How to Play Bounce Back
- Set aside money to payout bounce-back bets.
- Anytime someone in the group has a double bogey or worse on a hole, they get an opportunity for a bounce-back bet on the next one.
- If that player scores par or better on the subsequent hole (after the bad double bogey), he or she is rewarded with that bounce-back payout of cash (whatever figure was agreed upon at the start of the round).
- However, if that same player does NOT bounce back with a par or better, they must pay out that amount of money to the pot.
- This rule is optional, but you can decide to pay out more for a birdie bounce back than for a par bounce back.
These golf betting games can make your round more fun. You can try some of them out with your best buddies over your next few rounds.
Also, you can throw in the Dot Game for some interesting side bets. That gives everyone a chance to get in on the action, even if they’re not having their best day.
Gambling on the golf course adds spice and fun to the action and can be very enjoyable for all golfers. However, follow the main golf betting rule: No matter what, keep it fun and affordable!
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