Before we get into this golf season, take a second to think back on the golf formats you played last year. Did you switch it up and keep it interesting with your golf buddies or play the same old stroke play round again and again?
Playing the same format every round can get old but introducing a new format to the group is a fun change of pace and a break from the norm. Next time you’re on the tee box trying to decide what to play that day, keep these games in mind!
Nassau (2+ players)
If you’re the type of golfer who gambles on the course often, you’ve likely played or at least heard of the format Nassau. It’s been one of the most common golf betting games for generations. This format is easy to understand and keeps the round interesting from start to finish.
For an 18 hole round, you’ll have three separate competitions or bets that are worth an amount set by the group before the round begins. Each bet is simple. The set amount is awarded to the player with the most holes won on the front, the player with the most holes won on the back, and the player with the most total holes won for the entire round.
Nassau is most commonly played with Match Play scoring but if you’d prefer Stroke Play, you can award the set amount to the player with the lowest front nine total, the lowest back nine total, and finally, the lowest total score for 18 holes.
The reason that this game is so popular is the unique fact that you always have something to fight for. Whether you’ve had a bad front and you’re fighting to win the back nine or if you’re having the round of your life and battling to sweep them all, you’re always in the match.
In Nassau, you can propose a Press which would be a tactic that you can use to limit the amount that you stand to lose. For example, if you decide to Press and the other player agrees, you would be playing for double if you lose and nothing if you come back to win. A Double Press would be the same concept but doubled again. This can be a great way to save some cash but you better be confident that you can come back!
Vegas (4 players)
One of my all-time favorite golf betting games to play is Vegas. Vegas is a format that is far less common than the Nassau format but that doesn’t mean that it should be overlooked. This must be played with four players with two-player teams. The scoring will be based on stroke play but there’s a unique twist.
Once the players finish a hole, the scores for each of the two teammates will be added together with the lowest number starting first. As an example, if teammate A1 scores a par-four and A2 scores a bogey-5, the score for team A would be 45. If team B makes two bogeys, they would score a 55 and be down by 10 points.
This game is exciting because you will sometimes need to rely on your teammate to make a low score when you’re having a bad hole and other times, you’ll be needed to pick them up. Even if you’re behind by a large number of points, you never know when the other team will blow up together, giving you an opportunity to make up some ground.
In Vegas, you can choose to play ‘Flip The Bird’ which means if one team birdies a hole, the other team has to take their higher score first. If team B makes a birdie and a par for 34 and team A scores a par and a seven, they would have to take 74 as their score.
Wolf (4 players)
Wolf is an awesome format to play next time you’re out on the course with a group of four players. In Wolf, you decide on an order for teeing off that you will stick with for the duration of the round until the 17th and 18th hole because the order will be completed fully for the last time on 16. On the last two holes, the person who is in last is the Wolf.
The person who tees off first is the Wolf on that hole and it will be up to them to decide if they want to play the hole with a partner or take all three other players on. The twist is, the person does not have to decide until everyone has hit their shots. The hole will then be played in a best ball/match play format for an amount decided before the round. Keep in mind, if you decide as the Wolf to play alone, the best is doubled.
Additionally, a player can call ‘Lone Wolf’ 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 that can come back to bite you! At the end of the round, each person pays out to the player with the most holes won.
Nine Dot or Nines (3 players)
Another underrated format to play is nine dot. This format can only be played in a group of three players because each hole is worth nine points that are divided to the players based on their score on the hole. This format allows you to keep track of your strokes throughout the round and because of the point system, it allows you to stay in the competition even if you have a few bad holes.
As an example of how this game would be scored on a par 4, if player A makes a four, player B makes a five, and player C makes a six, A would win five points, B would win three points, and C would win one. If player A and B tie with a four, and player C makes a five, A and B would win four each and C would still win one.
At the end of the round, the player with the most points wins the match. This unique game is a fantastic way to keep your round interesting from start to finish!
Bingo-Bango-Bongo (2+ players)
If you’re looking to mix it up and play a game that relies entirely on how well each player is playing for the entire round, Bingo-Bango-Bongo is an excellent choice. In this format, each player is fighting for three points on each hole.
The three ways to score a point are titled Bingo-Bango-Bongo. The first, a Bingo, is awarded to the first player to get their ball on the green. A Bango is a point that is awarded to the player with the closest ball to the pin once each player is on the green. And a Bonog is awarded to the first player to putt out.
This game is more exciting than a standard stroke play match and it can be added to another format if you choose to play it as a side game. By keeping track of the points throughout the round, you will determine the winner as the player with the most points.
Get Out and Play!
If you decide to try one of these formats for the first time or if you have a favrotie of your own that didn't make our list, we'd love to hear about it!