Best Golf Bets for Threesomes, Foursomes, and Fivesomes

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply
Community Manager
Community Manager

 

"Alright, what's the bet?" 

 

  

That is literally the first thing that comes out of my mouth every time I set up to the first tee. Don't get me wrong, I still thoroughly enjoy a round of golf that doesn't have a bet going on... but let's be real... things are a lot more interesting with a wager on the line—even if it's for nothing more than a drink at the end of the round.  

  

Now, I'm somewhat of a traditionalist in that I will always be partial to a good old fashion 2-man Nassau, but there are endless golf betting games out there that can spice things up beyond the basics. Finding the right format that works ideally for the size of your group makes things even more exciting, whether you're in a threesome, foursome, or even a fivesome. 

  

Like a game of backyard baseball, even the most well-known golf games tend to have their own "house rules" depending on who is running the show, but here are a few of my favorite golf bets for different situations... HOUSE RULES! 
 ba8i2791.jpg

 

"9-POINT" 

Group Size: Threesome 

Wager: $1 per point (can modify to $0.50 per point or whatever value you want) 

Format: Individual Stroke Play (Net) 

 

How to Play:  
 

  1. Play out your own ball on each hole.

 

  1. After each hole, a total of 9 points are divvied out between the three players, based on how they placed onthe hole:

  

1st = 5pts 

2nd = 3pts 

3rd = 1pt 

  

1st = 5pts 

T2 = 2 pts 

T2 = 2 pts 

  

T1 = 4pts 

T1 = 4pts 

3rd = 1pt 

  

3-Way Tie = 3pts each 

  

  1. At the end of the round, add up the point differential to determine the final payout.

  

*Optional Kicker: winning with a birdie is a SWEEP and you take all 9 points!  

 

IMG_0758.JPG(Looking at the Sample Scorecard above, Player B would owe $4 to Player A and $2 to Player C... Player C would also owe $2 to player A.)

Ultimately, 9-Point is a great game for those times you end up in a threesome. Obviously, it places a premium on winning the hole outright, but it also always keeps you in the hole—even if you're fighting for second. 
 

I will say that if you're playing exceptionally poorly, the point differential can add up quickly... so if you prefer low-stakes betting, knock the value down to $0.50 per point and it won't get too out-of-hand. 
 

IMG_0761.JPG 

"PASS THE COIN" 
 

Group Size: Any 

Wager: $10 per person (or any value you want) 

Format: Side bet (any format where you play your own ball, i.e. not a scramble) 

 
 

How to Play: 

 

  1. Pick a "coin." You can use a ball mark or whatever item you want... a nice, big, heavy coin works best (see above).

 

  1. Before you tee off, flip a tee to determine an order within your group. Whoever is first (Player A) starts the round with the coin in their pocket.

 

  1. Once "Player A" makes a double-bogey or 3-putts, the coin is passed to the next player in line (Player B).

 

  1. This continues throughout the round, passing down the line each time a player doubles or 3-putts with possession of the coin.

 

  1. If ANY player birdies, they STEAL the coin (regardless of the pre-determined order).Keep in mind, the order you putt out for birdie can be important if there are multiple birdies on a single hole... you want to be the last person to birdie.

 

  1. After the 18th hole, whoever has possession of the coin wins the wager from each player. In this case, you would win $40 (including your own wager), assuming you had a foursome.

 

 

Pass the Coin is a great side bet to add to your Nassau or whatever game you like to play. It penalizes big mistakes and prioritizes making birdie. In most cases, the coin will be exchanged several times a round—but ultimately, it all comes down to trying to make birdie on the final few holes to STEAL the coin... then hoping you avoid a disastrous double or 3-putt on the final hole. 
 

For me, the most satisfying part of this game is rolling in a birdie and seeing your playing partner reach into their pocket to hand you the coin. That little extra jingle in your pocket is quite nice, especially when you're on 18 green. 

 IMG_6240.JPG

 

"THE WHEEL" 

 

The Wheel is a relatively new game in my repertoire. I recently joined Shadowridge Golf Club in Vista, CA, and we have a unique policy that allows fivesomes. At first, this felt like an unusual policy, but after time I realized that it fits more people into fewer tee times and minimal-to-no affect the pace of play. Most importantly, this policy opened my eyes to a great game if you ever end up in a fivesome. 

 

Group Size: Fivesome 

Wager: $5 Nassaus ($5 bets on front nine, back nine, and total) 

Format: 2-Man Best Ball Matches 

 
 

How to Play: 

 

  1. Before you tee off, have each player hand in a marked golf ball and throw the five balls together in the air... the two balls that end up closest together are partners "on the Wheel." For this example, let's say Player A and Player B are on The Wheel.

 

  1. The players on The Wheel will then have separate $5 Nassaus going against every 2-man combo of the other players: C&D, D&E, and C&E. Basically, players "on the Wheel" have THREE Nassuas going on.... the non-Wheel players each have TWO Nassaus going on, each against the two players on The Wheel. 

 

  1. Play out the round like a standard Nassau. Just keep in mind, there are multiple bets going on, so make sure you're going to use BOTH of your partners' scores before you scrape up that 5-foot bogey putt (if you're not on The Wheel).

IMG_0759.JPGHere is an example of how to properly fit all 5 players and all the various Nassaus onto one card (I always mark my card from the perspective of the players on The Wheel)... based on his 9-hole example, Players A&B would owe C&D $5, win $5 from D&E, and owe $5 to C&E.

Like any Nassau, you can always establish your own "press" rules. A lot of people at Shadowridge play with 2-down auto presses, but the scorecard can fill up very quickly. Personally, I prefer just playing the $5 Nassaus without presses. 
 

I know, I know... this game probably sounds confusing. The first time I played, I just said, "you keep the card and let me know what I owe at the end." However, if you just break it down to having a couple different Nassaus going on at once, it's a really simple game that easily involves all 5 players. 

 

When it comes down to it, being on The Wheel is the higher risk/higher reward position. You only have one partner to bank on and you have three separate bets going on. If you're playing $5 Nassaus (no pressing), players on The Wheel stand to win/lose $45 maximum on 18 holes. 

 

If you're not on The Wheel, you have the added benefit of having two partners (in two separate Nassaus), so you have less risk... but you also have less to gain. If you're not on The Wheel, you can win/lose $30 maximum. 

 
IMG_0633.jpgWhen you win your bets, those drinks tend to taste even better... and cost a lot less! 

 

Next time you'ree out on the course, give these games a shot and see what you think. Like any new game, it may take a round or two to truly get the hang of it, but it's always good to have some new formats lined up the next time someone asks, "alright, what's the bet?" 

 
 
 

Do you have a go-to game you love to play? Please share your favorite golf formats and/or bets in the comments below! 

 

 

 

 

Chris Edwards
Copywriter — TaylorMade Golf
Reply
Highlighted
rbauchman
Occasional Contributor

Last time I was out, our foursome played "Sixes" (I've heard it called Duffer Skins, too). You alternate partners every six holes and play low total on each hole where one point (skin) is awarded to each member of the winning 2-person team per hole. We each put in $5 for every 6 holes and the winning team (after 6 holes) splits the pot. This game/bet works well and is fun if you have a foursome with a wide range of handicaps.

0 Kudos
Reply
Regular Contributor

My buddies and I occasionally play a game we call Vegas. It's a four player game with teams of two. What makes this game fun is the potential for large point swings to occur on any hole. An ill-timed double bogey can be a disaster if the other team makes a birdie on the same hole. Situations may also arise where a player needs to hole a pressure putt to save their team and avoid a large point swing.

 

This game can be played with or without handicaps, but we've found it's best when no handicaps are used, but rather teams are composed of players with comparable skill levels; e.g., Player A1 is comparable to Player B1 and Player A2 is comparable to Player B2. Every person does not need to be at the same skill level, just similar to their counterpart on the other team (in fact, it's more fun if there is some gap between the two players on a team, as you'll see in a moment).

 

How to play

 

- Players play their own ball on each hole and record a score.


- The team score on a hole is created by joining the two scores together into a double digit number, with the lowest score in the tens place, and the highest score in the ones place.


- The team with the lowest number wins a point total for that hole equal to the difference between their team score and the other team's score, with the following exceptions:

  • Birdies - A team with a birdie will flip the other team's score (eg., 45 would become 54). If each team makes a birdie, the birdies cancel out and nothing flips. If one team makes two birdies, that would flip a single birdie from the other team.
  • Eagles - Eagles always trump birdies. A team with an eagle will flip the other team's score, regardless of the number of birdies that team has. If each team makes eagle, the eagles cancel and nothing flips. If one team makes two eagles, that would flip a single eagle from the other team.
  • Albatross - Same general rules as birdies and eagles.

 

- At the end of the round, the team with the most hole points wins the difference in points between their hole points score and the other team's.

 

Hole examples

 

So far, this may sound contrived and overly complex, but it's fairly simple once you've played it for a few holes. Here are some example holes that demonstrate the scoring.

 

- On a par 4, Player A1 makes 4 and Player A2 makes 5 for a Team A score of 45. Player B1 makes 4 and Player B2 makes 6 for Team B score of 46. Team A wins 1 point (46-45 = 1).


- On a par 5, Player A1 makes a 5 and Player A2 makes a 6 for a team score of 56. Player B1 makes a 4 (birdie) and player B2 makes a 7 for a team score of 47. Player B1's birdie flips the Team A score from 56 to 65, so team B wins 18 points (65-47=18).


- On a par 4, Player A1 makes a 7 and Player A2 makes a 3 (birdie) for a team score of 37. Player B1 makes a 4 and Player B2 makes a 3 (birdie) for a team score of 34. In this scenario, the birdies cancel out and no scores are flipped. Team B would win 3 points (37-34=3).  (It's important not to flip both here because of two birdies, or else it would be 73-43=39 for Team B, which is not correct).

 

- On a par 3, Player A1 makes a 2 (birdie) and player A2 makes a 2 (birdie) for a team score of 22. Player B1 makes a 2 (birdie) and Player B2 makes a 3 for a team score of 23. However, the double birdies for Team A flip Team B's single birdie, so Team B's score is 32. Team A wins 10 points (32-22=10).

 

Rare situations

 

One of the rarest situations that can occur also happens to be the one that can be the most fun: a player making a double digit score on a hole. In this situation, the scoring is the same as above but needs an example to make it perfectly clear because people get this wrong.

 

Imagine the following scenario on a par 5: Player A1 makes 5 and Player A2 makes 10.

 

  • Not flipped: This is added together as 50 + 10 = 60 for the team A score on that hole (remember, the low score is the tens place, hence 5x10=50).
  • Flipped: The team score would be 10 in front of the 5, so 100 + 5 = 105 for the team score (10x10=100).

 

Wagers

This game has been known to get out of hand at times, so we tend not to play for much. Through experimentation, a $0.10 per point has worked out to be just right for a couple of reasons. First, if the game does get out of hand, it's rarely more than a $20 loss/win. Secondly, it's easy to think in terms of dollars during the game with points being worth a dime (not true at $0.25).

 

For example, if Team A has made a birdie 3 and a par 4 for 34, and Team B is in for a 4 and the last player is putting for something other than birdie, every putt taken will cost them a dollar because the birdie will flip their score. You hear much "Buck a putt" needling once this scenario occurs.

 

I will say this, however. Occasionally playing for $1 a point keeps the blood flowing and can be a lot of fun.

0 Kudos
Reply
Community Manager
Community Manager

@rbauchman wrote:

Last time I was out, our foursome played "Sixes" (I've heard it called Duffer Skins, too). You alternate partners every six holes and play low total on each hole where one point (skin) is awarded to each member of the winning 2-person team per hole. We each put in $5 for every 6 holes and the winning team (after 6 holes) splits the pot. This game/bet works well and is fun if you have a foursome with a wide range of handicaps.


Sixes is a solid game, especially if you like switching up partners. I've also played a variation of this where (in addition to the 6-hole matches) we keep track of "points" or # of holes won for the total 18-round to determine the overall winner.

 

One problem with this is that if the two players paired at the end are fighting for the top overall spot, it's impossible for one to make up ground on the other... so sometimes we will play 5-5-5 and leave the remaining 3 holes to play as SINGLES and make the "points" worth double so anyone has the chance to make up ground for the overall bet.

 

 

 

Chris Edwards
Copywriter — TaylorMade Golf
Reply
Community Manager
Community Manager

@jll62 "Vegas" sounds like a blast. I can definitely see it getting out of hand at times, but $0.10 per point is a nice solve.

 

I've also heard of a variation of this for 3 players called "Monkey in the Middle." It's the same exact concept, but to determine teams on each hole, the player in the middle after the tee shots goes solo against the other two players. The solo player's score gets used twice to determine his two-digit value (ex: a 4 turns into 44, 5 into 55, etc).

 

 

Chris Edwards
Copywriter — TaylorMade Golf
0 Kudos
Reply
rbauchman
Occasional Contributor

I like your idea of playing 5-5-5 and then singles the last 3 holes...going to have to give that a try next time. 

 

Ironically, this old golf digest article popped up on my Bleacher Report feed: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golf-betting-games

0 Kudos
Reply