phil mickelson and john rahm match play

Many golfers love gambling and golf. Golf money games or side bets are very popular during a friendly game among friends. How can you make your game a bit more exciting?

The nine best money games to play on the golf course.


Try this game, it’s one of the most popular and best. Foursomes can be used for both individual and team matches.

How to play: Nassau divides an 18-hole match up into three matches – one for each side, one for each back and one overall. Before the match starts, each foursome decides on a certain amount of money. As an example, a $10 Nassau means that a total $30 is at stake per player (which would be $10 in front, $10 in back and $10 for overall match).

The Wolf

The wolf golf game is one of the most popular golf money games played today. This is a classic golf betting game in which one player per foursome plays as the Wolf. The Wolf can then decide whether to play the hole 3 vs. 1, or play it with a partner.

How the game works: On every hole, “Wolfs” will be the first to tee-off. The Wolf will then watch as the other foursome members hit their drives. The Wolf must decide after each drive: Would I like that golfer to be my partner on this particular hole? The Wolf can choose to play the hole alone if he doesn’t enjoy any of his group’s drives. The team with the best ball wins the hole. (Better ball: lowest scores among both sides/teams). The Wolf can choose a partner if he decides that he enjoys the drive of another golfer. However, this must be done immediately after the golfer has hit his drive. If, for example, the Wolf decides to pair up, the golfers who lose will each pay $1 to the golfers who win. The Wolf can win or lose a lot, so don’t be too high with your wager. If the Wolf wins the hole alone, he will receive $2 from the three other golfers on the opposite side. Or, if the Wolf loses, he will pay $2 to them.


This is a two-player foursome.

The rules: All players hole out and then check their scores. They will add the digits if they scored the same. If they both make a 4, then the score for the hole is 44. If the scores differ, the par score will be used as a guide. Note that if someone scores a par, or higher, the lowest score will be given first. If you make a bogey, or worse on a particular hole, then the higher score will be given first. (For example a bogey plus a double-bogey would equal 65). The lowest score wins at the end of each round.

Bingo (Bango) and Bongo

Only play this game when you’re going to play “ready golf” in the exact order.

How It Works: Each hole will have a maximum of three possible points. The first player to reach the green will receive one point, the closest player to the pin gets another and the first to hole out will get a third. It is worth trying this game because it does not always matter who has the highest score. This game is played by two players or more. The objective is to score the most points in a round. The highest score is awarded at the end of each round.


This game is great for groups of 3 or 4 players. This game is unique in that the number of holes does not matter. The player with the lowest score from the previous hole will be the “banker” of each hole. It will be fun to see who is confident and who has let the bet affect their mind on the first hole.

How to play: The minimum amount that a hole will be worth is determined at the start of each round. The banker will set the maximum amount for each hole. The minimum bet is usually $5. The maximum bet rarely exceeds $100. However, you can never tell who will feel confident in each round. Each player will then face the banker after the minimum and maximum bets are set. Each player decides whether they want to bet the maximum or the minimum based on their confidence in the game

The Dot Game

The group decides the rules and the scoring. Each player plays their own ball.

How to play: The group must first decide which side bets they will track. Each player who wins a side wager gets a point. Negative achievements will result in a deduction of one point. Positive achievements include a hole-in one, birdie or long drive. This list of side wagers can go on and on, so make sure you keep track.


It is a betting game for golf where two teams are formed. The side scores are added together to create a two-digit number. Not added together. Once you see the example, it will be your favorite on the list.

How to use: Do not add the two scores together. The two scores are paired or put together. We will use Golfer A, and Golfer B. If Golfer B scores 6 and A scores 5, that’s a 56 instead of 11. On the first hole, Team 1 would score 56. The smaller number is played first. Let’s say the bet was placed at $1 per points on Hole 1, if Team A scores 4 and 5, and Team B scores 6 and 7, the difference is 11 points. The winning team won $11. The winnings or losses can add up quickly. This game is for golfers who are financially secure.


Three or four foursomes can play this game.

How the game works Fourballs offer more options but three-balls give you a greater chance to win a hole outright. This is the driving force behind the game. This game is all about capturing the rabbit by the player who first wins the hole. The player who wins the hole will keep the rabbit until another person wins it. It is also important to know that the player who leaves the 9th and 18th greens with the same amount of money wins. This version of rabbit has the rabbit released each hole. You can place bets on either 9-hole or 18-hole rounds. You can have a pot where the person who holds the rabbit at the 18th hole gets the cash pot.


It’s a fun game to play because you can include everyone in your team. The game is played between two teams or players. Every six holes, you will switch partners. Three different matches are played in one 18-hole round.

How the game works: When three six-hole matches are played, the player who is on the winning side in at least two of them wins.

The 9-point Game

You can see that most of these betting strategies are designed for between two to four players. A 9-point game, however, is unique as it was designed for only three golfers. This game is easy to play, it has no carryovers, and you don’t have to think much about the outcome.

How to Play the 9-Point Game

On each hole, nine points are at stake and five are awarded to an outright winner. The golfer in second-place receives three points, and the last player is awarded one.

In the event of a tied first place, points are divided four-four-1; if there is a tied second place, it is split five-two-2. In the event of a tie between three players, each receives three scores.

At the end of each round, the total points earned by all players are added up to determine the winner.

The Dot Game, (Garbage, Junk or Trash)

It is not a golf game per se, but rather a term used to describe a variety of side bets that can be added to a conventional tournament or any other game. The dot-game is a great way to get in all the action, just like your betting in Vegas with a bookie.

They can be obvious and simple, like points or dollars for birdie or eagle or longest drive or sand saves or the closest to pin (on par-3 holes). You can lose points for bogeys, double-bogeys, out-of-bounds, etc.

There are many other bets that have been invented, some of which may even have more creative names.

Here are a few dots examples:

Green hit in regulation – “Greeny”

Up and down from Sand for par – “Sandy”.

Saving Par from the tree(s) “Barky

Save par from the water with “Fishy”.

holing it out of the green from “Chippy”.

Closest to flag

These bets may also be optional or mandatory. That is, if the player finds himself in trouble he can call the bet and win or lose a point based on whether or not he manages to save par.

Quota System

The quota system is another way to make your bets more interesting. This system is great for groups of any size, provided that each golfer has an accurate handicap.

The system has a fixed amount of money that you can win. You can also have a lot of excitement by mixing up the points for every score based on the group.

How to bet with the Quota System

The handicap of each player is subtracted from 36. This number is the quota of points they must make in a round. This is how it works: a typical score for players with a midhandicap would be 1 point per bogey. 2 points per par. 4 points for birdies. 8 points for an Eagle. You can change them to your liking.

The player with the highest number of points over their quota will win a pot. Be sure to choose this amount prior to teeing-off!

If you don’t have a winner, then you can use a tiebreaker. This could be extra holes or a carryover to the next round.

This game is great because it rewards you for playing consistently with pars, and also rewards you if your birdies or eagles are good. The rules are also simple.


Looking for a game where you can bet more than your total score? Look no further than “snake.”

The word “gimmies”, as it is used in this game, does not exist. No more dragging of three-footers. If you want to play for money and putt, this is how to start.

Snake Game Instructions

You can specify a certain amount that each player will add to the pot in the event of a three-putt (must be made on the green for it to count).

Every time a player makes a three-putt, the amount predetermined is added to pot. The money continues to accumulate throughout the round.

The person who three-putts last must pay the money to each player. Yikes!

You can choose to switch the format and have the person who has the most three putts pay instead.

You can create a system that makes three-putts cost more later in the game. Let’s say, for example, that the first three putt costs only a dollar and doubles every time. This can quickly add up if you double your money.

You will need to prepare everything to play this game, so I recommend playing it when the weekend is not busy. Make sure everyone understands the rules and pot amounts before you start.

This is a good way to keep your fellow golfers honest if you are confident with your putting but tired of them dragging every short putt. The cool thing about “Snake”, is that it can be paired with other games, as the game only counts on the greens.


This game is great for twosomes or foursomes (sorry, three players). This is a 1:1 or a 2:2 format, where you have a pot per hole. It’s a 1:1 or 2:2 format where you set a pot for each hole (ex. How to play.

One player or team may “hammer” another at any time during the match. The other team can choose to fold (which is to lose the hole and stop playing). The pot for the hole can be doubled.

Let’s say, for example, that team one hits its first tee-shot behind a large tree and team two strips one down the fairway. In this instance, team two would bet $10. Team one has to choose.

They can hammer even more if they accept the challenge. Double the bet that has already been doubled. The round is a constant back-and-forth.

You can see that this game is expensive. If you are not careful, you could lose a great deal of money (or win big). If your group is the type that will “hammer” the pot a lot, then I recommend starting with a small pot to keep it interesting.

Badges or animals

You can have more fun with a regular golfing and gambling foursome. You can give them badges and prizes for different “accomplishments” at a cost of a dollar.

The last golfer who three-putts might receive the “Snake”, while the last to play in the sand would get the “Camel”. By hitting directly into another trap, a Crab could mutate if the player manages to do so. The last golfer to hit the water receives the “Fish” badge, while the last golfer to hit the tree earns the “Squirrel”.

There are also a variety of forfeits that can be used to punish other mistakes, such as hitting the house or out of bounds. Make sure that the rules of each game are clearly explained to newcomers. It’s not fun to have to pay for a bill and then be unsure of how it came about!

Bounce Back

Bounce Back is a simple but popular game that rewards players who remain tenacious in tough rounds, even if they have already lost a lot.

How to play Bounce Back

You can choose to do this if your group has a skill level that is above bogeys or above double bogeys. You are rewarded if you come back strong from a bad hole.

Let’s say, for example, that you made a double-bogey at the third hole but a par at the fourth hole. The amount you receive is predetermined.

If you make back-to-back bogeys or doubles (depending on what you choose), you will also lose the same amount.

You can also give more money for a par than a birdie.

This is a side bet game that can be played with other games on the list.

Let It Ride

This is the best golf betting game if you are more of a gambler. This system is perfect for gamblers that are willing to lose (or win) big. This is how it works.

How to play “Let It Ride”

This is a game of points. The first step is to determine your point system. The typical point distribution is 5 points for a bogey and 15 points for par. 30 points for a birdie, 60 for an Eagle. (Lower handicap groups may start by using par as their first score eligible for point). If you wish, you can award zero points for bogeys.

If you win the hand, you can either put your earnings in the bank (aka the pocket) or add them to the existing bet and let it ride. You can either add your winnings to your bet or put them into your bank if you won the hand. For every hole you don’t bank, the point totals will double. Par, for example, is worth 30 points and a birdie is worth 60.

If a player chooses to leave his/her points alone and makes a double-bogey, or worse, then the total of points that have not been banked will be reset to zero. They can’t be taken from you if you deposit them.

Players with the highest totals of points are paid an amount predetermined for each point earned relative to other players.

This is a good game for those who love to gamble on the links and golfers with a lot ups anddowns. It’s also pretty entertaining when you break it down.

Imagine that you have made 18 bogeys at 5 points per point if you score back-to-back birds without a bank.

Final Thoughts

Even though it might seem surprising, this list only includes a small number of the golf gambling games that have been invented and played throughout the long history of the game.

In case you think that golfers are all gamblers who are addicted to gambling large sums of money on random events, keep in mind that most of these games are nothing more than creative scoring systems. There are so many different formats of golf than stroke play.



Four Ball

Alternate Shot

Play Games with 5 Players

The Chapman

The handicapping system is not always the best for weaker players.

There is no reason to play these games for high stakes. You can wager a sleeve, drinks, or even a few embarrassing forfeits.

It is important that everyone feels comfortable with the stakes and game. Click here to find out how to organize a Calcutta-style tournament.