There are very few things that go together as well as gambling and golf. For as long as people have been playing golf, they have found a way to involve gambling on the course to add a little excitement to their round. Whether it’s playing to see who pays for the tab after the round or a pot of cash that has been accumulating for 18 holes, there’s often something on the line.
Golf has been around for hundreds of years, and over this time, a wide variety of side games have become popular in golf culture. That being said, there are a handful of golf games that have risen above the others in popularity because of the added entertainment that they provide to a round of golf.
Playing stroke play for 18 holes can get pretty dull, so here are the best golf gambling games for you to play during the upcoming golf season!
Golf Gambling Games
When it comes to golf betting games, there is one that stands out among the rest as the most popular, the classic Scramble.
A group of players (2+) will play each hole in a Scramble by first hitting a tee shot.
Then, each player will decide together which tee shot puts them in the best position, and each will then pick up their ball and play from the spot of the best shot.
This goes on until the ball is holed, including on the putting green.
A Scramble is the most popular game because it keeps every player involved in every shot, no matter how bad they may be doing. A Scramble format is often played during large golf outings where beginner golfers are involved.
Of all betting games, Nassau is likely the most popular. Golfers of all skill levels play this betting game because it’s fun and straightforward.
A Nassau is three separate competitions that are tracked throughout the round.
Each one will be determined by the lowest score on the front nine, the back nine, and a total of 18 holes or by the number of holes you won for each.
The winner of each competition will be paid out for the amount that has been determined for each player. The gameplay format of this betting game is typically match play because it’s easy to track and score.
One aspect that you can add to a Nassau competition is being able to press. In Nassau, a press is a side bet that can be proposed by the player who is losing, intending to limit their losses.
For example, if someone is two down and they decide to press, the wager is essentially a double or nothing for the person who is losing for the remainder of the nine holes, or the total 18 if that’s what the press is for. If the press gets out of hand, they could double press.
A Skins match is another highly popular betting game because it’s incredibly simple and easy to understand.
Each of the 18 holes is worth a Skin, which is another word for a point. The person with the lowest score in the group on each hole will be awarded one Skin.
The amount that each Skin is worth typically increases as the round continues to keep everyone still invested in the round no matter how far behind they are.
There is one unique aspect to the way this game is played in that if nobody has the outright lowest score, the Skin value carries over to the next hole.
Many players play a variation of Skins called Whole Round in which each player puts their money into a pot, and the pool is divided up by the number of Skins earned at the end of the round.
Skins is a fun way to play golf because it keeps the round competitive from start to finish and allows people to make heroic comebacks by merely winning one hole.
Vegas is a fun format to play with two groups of two playing against each other. This game works by combining the scores of the players from each team into a two-digit number. (Ex.-45) The game is scored with the lower number being placed first.
That means, if one player gets a four and the other gets a five, they scored 45. If the other team scores a three and a four, they will be marked down with 34.
Another unique twist with Vegas is the Birdie flip system. Using the example that we just discussed with Team A having 34 and Team B has 45, let’s say that team A’s score of three is a Birdie for that hole. When a Birdie is scored, the other team must flip their scores, meaning Team B would actually score 54.
This game can be paid out by assigning an amount to each point but be careful, Vegas can get out of hand quickly, but it’s sure to be exciting!
Next time you’re playing in a group of four, you can suggest mixing it up a bit by playing the game, Wolf.
This gameplay designates one player on each hole to be the Wolf which can be decided by flipping a tee on the first hole or however the group chooses.
Once you have your order, you will stick to that for the round. (Since the 17th and 18th holes will make the order uneven, the title of Wolf is typically given to the player who is in the last place as the last chance to catch up.)
On each tee, the Wolf tees off first and then will choose to play the hole alone in a 3v1 or team up with another player and play the hole as a 2v2. The caveat is that the Wolf can watch each player’s tee shot but has to decide before the next person hits if they will partner with that person.
If the Wolf partners with someone, it’s a 2v2 best ball match for that hole, and the hole is worth whatever amount your group has decided. However, if the Wolf decides that he wants to play the hole independently, the bet is doubled.
They will stand to lose or win double the set amount to each of the other players.
Additionally, a player can call ‘Lone Wolf’ and take on the hole solo without watching any other players tee shots. The Wolf will then stand to lose or win triple the set amount. Be careful; this is a risky move!
6. Bingo Bango Bongo
Bingo Bango Bongo is a simple game that keeps all players involved throughout the entire hole. All holes are worth a total of three points which are earned the same way for each.
The first point, Bingo, is given to the first player to reach the green, the next point, Bango is given to the player who is closest to the pin, and the last point, Bongo, is given to the first player to putt out.
This game is not only easy to keep track of, but it will also keep all players involved, even if they have a higher handicap.
A set amount can be determined for each hole and then paid out at the end of the round.
If you find yourself in a group of three players, it can be tough to determine a game that is competitive and fun. 5-3-1 solves that problem by being the perfect game for three players.
As the name suggests, each hole is worth nine points divided into five, three, and one. The points are given out based on the score of each player for that hole.
The lowest scoring player will win five points, the second-lowest will earn three points, and the highest-scoring player will receive one.
If two players tie for the lowest, they will each win four while the other player wins one point.
If one player has the lowest score and the other two tie, the lowest score wins five points, and the others each earn two. In the case of a tie, three points are given to each player.
For groups of four, 6-6-6 is a fantastic way to keep the round fresh and competitive. This format puts three matches into 18 holes by switching teams of two every six holes so that each player is paired together for a stretch.
You can choose several different scoring methods for this game, but Best Ball scoring typically works the best.
The winner of the match is the person who has come out on the winning side of two of their games.
This is an awesome game to play with buddies or a group of strangers because each player will compete against and rely on each other at some point in the match.
If you play in a group of less than average putters, you could benefit from playing the game mode Snake. In this format, gone are the days of gimmies.
You will no longer be able to pick up those putts that are inside the leather.
In snake, each time that a person three-putts, a set amount is added to the pot.
This money will add up throughout the round, and the last person who three-putted will have to pay out that amount amongst the rest of the players at the end of the match.
Be careful! Being at the end of this snake could cost you.
Murphy or Murphies are a fun side bet that can be declared on any hole. A player can claim a Murphy when they are around the green and believes that they will get the ball up and down.
If the player does get up and down, the rest of the group owes them a predetermined amount. However, if the player who announces the Murphy doesn’t get up and down, they owe the group.
To add an extra touch, if the player misses the green altogether with their Murphy shot, they owe the group double.
There are hundreds of possible betting games to incorporate into a round of golf but these ten are by far the most common and fun for everyone to try! For all your golfing needs visit the homepage here!