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5 Games To Keep Your Golf Round Interesting

5 Games To Keep Your Golf Round Interesting

Apart from drinking Irish coffees at 7am and playing a round with your best friends, we love to gamble. No better feeling that seeing doubles of your ball, yet somehow sinking that clutch put on 18 to take your buddies money. Amazing. 

You don't have to bet a fortune, but it does make things more interesting. Let's dive into some popular golf betting games that will have you loving or hating the game even more. 


This is probably the most popular golf betting game. Nassau consists of three Match play games, an OUT match (or front) that is played between holes 1 and 9; an IN match (or back) between holes 10 and 18; and a total match between holes 1 and 18. Nassau is sometimes called 2-2-2 because traditionally the match bet would be of $2 for each match.

In Nassau, holes are won, lost or tied. And the score is represented as the number of holes (up or down) that a team has with respect to their opponent. Once a team cannot be caught, even if they lose all the remaining holes, the match is over.

An interesting feature of the Nassau golf betting game is that it allows the losing team to press a match. If a press is accepted, a new match starts from the next playing hole and lasts until the end of the original match pressed. For example, if the total (TOT) match is pressed on hole 5, a new match is created between hole 6 and 18.

A press match can itself be pressed, hence, if a press match between holes 5–18 is pressed on hole 12, another match is created between hole 13 and 18. The new pressed game can be pressed in turn, and each time a new match is created for the remaining holes of the original match. Press matches will have the same bet amount as the match they pressed. The number of matches and, hence, bets can become significant, and manual scoring becomes complicated.

There are variations on how you determine the hole winner as well. Traditionally, a hole is won by the low net score, but you can also use the second team member score as the tiebreaker. Another and more aggressive version would be to use both team members’ scores and award two points per hole. These options aim to ensure that all players contribute to the outcome of the game.

You can start play on any hole, but the OUT match is always the front nine, the IN match is the back nine, and the TOT match is the full course. The winner of each match wins the match bet. Nassau is suited for all handicap levels, but when making teams, it is best to pair the high and low handicappers together.


Of all the games mentioned here, dots may be our favorite. It allows players of all abilities to have a shot at making some cash, no matter how bad the rest of their round was. Here’s how to play:

  • Each hole is worth a dot
  • If a hole is halved (even just by two of the players in the group), the dot carries to the next hole
  • Who ever wins the hole, wins the dot
  • Dots can be accrued over each nine or for the course of the entire round


Wolf is played with four players, where all players play independently. The objective of the game is to be the player with the most points at the end of the round.

Before the first hole, the order of play is decided by drawing or by flipping a tee. The 'Wolf' is always the last player to tee off. At each hole, the players rotate the tee-off order (on the first hole 1,2,3,4 and on the second hole 2,3,4,1 and on fifth hole 1,2,3,4 again) so that each player becomes Wolf once every four holes. On the 17th and 18th holes the first and second players are Wolf, respectively.

After the tee shot of each player, the Wolf decides whether or not to take that player on their team. Or, after all three other players have teed off, the Wolf can play as a 'Lone Wolf' if they feel they can beat all three other players. As the Lone Wolf, the player plays alone and tries to shoot the lowest NET score on the hole. Otherwise, each hole is played NET best ball (only the best score of each team counts) with scoring as follows:

  • If the Wolf and their partner win the hole, they each receive 2 points.
  • If the non-Wolf partners win the hole, they each receive 3 points.
  • If the Lone Wolf beats all the other players (shoots the lowest NET score), he/she receives 4 points.
  • If another player beats the Lone Wolf on a hole, all players - except the Lone Wolf - receive 1 point.

9-Point Game

Only have 3 players? Then the 9-Point Game is perfect for you. The Points at Stake in Nine Points

Each hole in a round of Nine Points has, as the name suggests, nine points at stake, but those points are divvied up among the three golfers in the group. Here's how the points allotment breaks down on each hole:

  • The golfer with the lowest score of the group gets five points.
  • The golfer with the middle score is awarded three points.
  • The golfer with the high score gets one point.

Add the points accumulated on each hole, and the winner is the one with the most points at the end of the round.  

What is scores are tied?

Of course, on many holes, there will be ties for a low score or high score. This is how you divvy up the nine points in case of ties:

  • If one player has the low score and other two players tie, the low scorer earns five points and the other two get two points each.
  • If two players tie for low score, those two get four points each and the high scorer gets one point.
  • If all three players tie on a hole, they split the nine points equally—three points each.

9-Point sometimes goes by the name of Nines. The point structure in Nine Points is similar to related games such as Split Sixes, also known as English. In that format, there are six points at stake and the breakdown is four points for the low score on a hole, two points for the middle score, and no points for the high score. A tie for low score in Split Sixes is worth three points per player, while a tie for high score results in one point for each of those golfers and four points for the low score. Each golfer gets two points in the event of a three-way tie.

$X Per Hole

Lastly, we have the simplest game of them all—$X Per Hole. If the other games seemed a bit complicated, this one's for you. Each player or team (2 v. 2) bets a certain amount per hole won. For example, you can play $5 per hole, and each time a player or team wins a hole, they win the bet. To keep things interesting, you can allow the player or team that's behind to double down on the next hole.

Remember, the goal of these golf betting games is to add enjoyment to your round, not bankrupt your friends (or do, up to you). Just remember, if you’re the big winner of the day, drinks are on you at the 19th hole. 

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