Money won is twice as sweet as money earned — especially on the golf course. So for your next round, put one of these gambling games into effect and amp up the action. Hopefully, you’ll add some extra coin to your pocket, as well!

Skins

Among the easiest wager games to implement, simply pick a dollar value for every hole and let it rip. If you’re playing a threesome or foursome, you can opt to have “two tie, all tie” and carry over the points or prize money. If you prefer cutthroat rules, odd man/men out are out of the running for the carryover prize.

 

Some golfers like to divide their round into sections. Holes 1-6 are the same amount, holes 7-12 are doubled, and the closing six holes are tripled (or higher).

 

A variation — Blind Skins — involves writing 18 different point/dollar amounts on folded scraps of paper, picking them out of a hat, and leaving the values hidden until the round is over. Tears could be involved with this version.

 

Nassau

One of the original betting scenarios for the links, a Nassau consists of three separate bets: front nine, back nine and the entire 18-hole round. In most cases, the betting amounts are identical, but some golfers prefer to keep the first and second legs of the wager the same, but double the stakes for the full card.

 

Pressing the bet on a Nassau involves creating an entirely new wager, either for the same stakes or a doubled/higher amount. Let’s say you’re five holes into the round and getting your ass kicked big-time. You can press the bet, making a new bet for the remaining four holes. That way if you lose the first leg (as you fully expect to based on previous scores), by winning the remaining four holes you can either break even on that first bet or, if you’ve doubled the stakes, actually be up one unit.

 

Wolf

Geared for foursomes, each player takes a turn at being The Wolf. After all players tee off, The Wolf has a decision to make: he/she can choose to pair with one of the other three players, effectively creating a 2 vs. 2 format, or go it alone (Lone Wolf) and take on all three. If a paired team wins the hole, they each earn 2 points. But if the Lone Wolf wins, he/she earns 4 points. Tally the points at the end of the round and settle up.

 

If you’re a real gambler, you can play Blind Wolf and choose a partner, or go Lone Wolf, before any tee shots are hit.

 

Witch (aka Harry Potter, aka Poison)

Played similar to Skins, however, prior to teeing off on every hole, your opponent (or opponents) “casts a spell” against one of your clubs, effectively “poisoning” it, making it unavailable to you for the duration of that hole. Each club can only be poisoned once per round. Drivers and putters are fair game.

 

Vegas (aka Sin City)

Vegas works best for foursomes, but the unique scoring format allows multiple teams to get into the mix. Scores for each hole are marked down as a double-digit number, with the lowest score first. For example, if one player in the duo makes a 3, and the other makes a 5, their score for that hole is 35. Total the scores at the end of the round, subtract the lower score from the higher score, and the difference is what’s owed (or multiplied by the betting unit). Be careful, because numbers can add up quickly!

 

All-In (aka No Limit)

Essentially No Limit Hold’em poker rules on the golf course, there was a high-stakes series played a number of years ago on various courses around the country. Both CBS and ESPN televised the tournaments, which involved fairly large prize pools with $10,000 buy-ins per person. Players start with an equal amount of chips, ante prior to teeing off (antes increase every hole), and then make a wager based on their shot — and that of their opponents’. Players can go all-in at any time and must win the hole to stay in the game. Players can also fold and not have to finish the hole, but, just like in poker, they’ll lose any chips already in the pot. First person to acquire all the chips is the winner.

 

D-U-F-F-E-R (aka A-S-S-H-O-L-E)

Virtually identical to H-O-R-S-E in basketball, D-U-F-F-E-R is best played against one opponent. Honors alternates from hole to hole, regardless of the score on the prior hole. The player going second must duplicate the club selection of their opponent, regardless of where on the course they’re hitting from. They must also tie or win the hole outright to avoid getting a letter. First player to spell D-U-F-F-E-R loses the match.

 

Sixes (aka Triple 6, aka 6-6-6)

Another game geared for foursomes, players have a new partner every six holes, thus every 18-hole round involves three distinct matches lasting six holes. Although typically played with a match play format, there’s no hard-and-fast rules, so participants can choose any scoring format they wish.

 

Junk (aka Garbage)

For gamblers who love prop bets, this is definitely your game. Junk involves keeping track of birdies, eagles, bogeys, double bogeys, snowmen, sand saves, water saves, out of bounds, lost balls, greens in regulation, fewest putts, etc. Whatever category you can think of, factor it in. Each POSITIVE ELEMENT (birdie, eagle, sand save — sandy, water save — fishy, eagle/par/birdie after hitting a tree — barky, hitting the green in regulation, etc.) earns that player a point for each occurrence. NEGATIVE ELEMENTS (lost balls, bogeys, double bogeys, etc.) lose that player a point for each occurrence. Tally the points at round’s end to find your winner. Additionally, the player that makes the most birdies, eagles, sand saves, water saves, or any other positive golfing element wins that category and earns extra money, along with bragging rights and the appropriate title. These include:

  • Most Birdies – Birdman or Birdmaster
  • Most Eagles – Captain America
  • Most Sand Saves – Sandman or Sandmaster
  • Most Water Saves – Aquaman or Fishmonger
  • Most Greens in Regulations – Greenskeeper or Grand Greenie
  • And many, many more… Be creative!

 

Boom Chicka Wah-Wah (aka Bingo, Bango Bongo)

This game works equally well for two, three or four players. Each hole consists of three separate bets, with equal or escalating point/dollar values. The first player to hit the green (in regulation or otherwise) wins the “Boom” bet. The player closest to the pin after all players are on the green wins the “Chicka” bet. Finally, the player who wins the hole (fewest strokes) wins the “Wah-Wah” bet. Ties receive the same number of points. The player with the most points at the end of the round wins.

 

Guardian (aka Defender)

A betting game that works for two, three or four players, but is at its most competitive iteration for a threesome. Prior to the round, players agree on or blindly draw which holes they will “guard.” For three players, the easiest way is to switch guards every three holes or divide the course into three sections. For two or four players, simply alternate as Guardians. Guards must win or tie the hole they are protecting. Lose the hole, lose a point. Total the points at the end of the round, subtract the lowest score from the others and that’s the amount owed.

 

Predictor

Prior to teeing off, each player must predict his/her exact score for that hole. Points will be subtracted based on the number they miss by, be it plus or minus. You don’t get bonus points for predicting a 6 and scoring a 3. Predict a 4, score a 4 and the player gets a point. Predict a 5, score a 3 and the player receives a -2. Highest score wins. I know of one foursome’s 36-hole golf odyssey where the winning score was a -29!

 

These are just a smattering of the betting games out there. If you’re a degenerate golf gambler like us, no doubt you can add a few dozen more to this list. Good luck!

 

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