Betting games great way to spice up a round

namathBetting on the golf course has always been popular, even back in the 1700s. It can definitely add a little excitement, allowing the winners to get bragging rights and a little extra money. It might involve you playing against other golfers on an individual basis or as part of a team. Of course, handicaps enter into the mix. Here are a few of the many variations of games that you can select from.

My earliest memory of involvement where bets were involved was in the traditional game of Nassau, named for Nassau Country Club in Long Island. Participants match scores on each hole, usually in a match play format, for a set amount of money. At an event in Snyder during my college days, I was paired against New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath for nine holes.

The bet was $5, my limit since I was in college. I got off to an early 2 up advantage. Namath decided to press, starting a new bet. I then found myself 4 up and 2 up, going to our last hole when he called for a double press. If he won that hole, no money would exchange hands. However, my birdie resulted in me winning $20. This game can be played with two players on each side, using the best score or net score if handicaps are involved. The game usually calls for bets on the front, back and overall. It can be played at stroke play and along with other formats,

Since it was likely started in Las Vegas where the bets can be large, a partnership game counting both scores can become interesting. A set amount of money is bet for each point. If both players make par 4s, then their score is 44. If one gets a birdie, the score is 34, If one gets a bogey, the score is 54, switching the order. Yes, a difference of 20! So be careful.

Skins is a game where you win money by having the best score on a hole. It can involve just your group or even more in a bigger tournament. Each player puts an amount into the pool that is shared by winners or a set amount is paid for each skin, Sometimes there will be gross and net pot separately. Skin games among professionals involved some big pots as they got bigger each time a hole was tied. I remember making a birdie on the No. 1 handicap hole and felt my net eagle could be a winner. However, a woman made par with her handicap of 20, tying my net eagle. Sometimes skins have to be verified on the following hole.

Greenies is a game where points are awarded to the player who is closest to the hole on the par-3 holes (grennie) and is usually played at the same time as skins. Points can also be awarded for saving par from bunker (sandy), after hitting a tree (barky), from water (fishy) from off the green (chippy), from a spot longer than the flagstick (poley).

The Quota System sets a goal for each players depending on his or her handicap. For example, a 20-handicapper’s quota would be 16 while a 10-handicapper’s quota would be 26. One point is awarded for a bogey, two for a par, four for a birdie and six for an eagle. The player with the most plus points or the least negative points collects.

Wolf is a team game where partners can change on each hole. A hitting order is established for the group. The player who hits first is called the wolf. The second player hits his tee shot and can be selected as the wolf’s partner before the others tee off. If he doesn’t pick any of the others, he becomes the “lone wolf” and must beat all the others on that hole, winning all bets. The only time I ever selected that option was on a par-3 where I hit it up close and the others were in trouble. I missed the putt and one of the other players got up and down for a birdie. Yes, a mistake on my part.

Bingo, Bango, Bongo is a game that can be combined with others, awarding a point for first to hit the green (Bingo), a point for being closest to the hole after all have hit the green (Bango) and one point for being the first one into the hole (Bongo).

A good Points game, especially for a threesome, calls for awarding five points for the lowest gross or net score, three for the second best and one for the lowest. If all three tie, each receives three points. If there is a tie for best score, points will be four, four and one. A tie for second best would result in two points for each.

Players in Round Robin, sometimes called 6-6-6, get to switch partners every six holes, using the best-ball format, but others may mix formats, i,e, scramble or even alternate shot.

Snake is something you do not want as you have to pay all the other players. The first player to three-putt has the snake, but then loses it if another player three-putts. Each time it happens in a round, the pot increases. The last to get the snake has to pay.

There are probably other games not mentioned here that can spice up a round of golf!

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