15 Best Golf betting games: Every Golf Gambler Should Know

golf betting games

Golf is a game that offers endless opportunities for competition, companionship, and entertainment. One way to make your golf experience even more enjoyable is by playing golf-betting games.

In this article, we will introduce you to the 15 best golf betting games that can add an extra layer of excitement to any round of golf.

I. Top 15 popular golf betting games

Here  are the top 15 most popular golf-betting games that you can play on the course:

1. Nassau

Nassau is a common golf betting game consisting of three separate bets: front nine, back nine, and overall 18 holes. Each bet is treated as a separate contest, allowing players to win or lose money on each segment. Nassau can be played in match play or stroke play scoring format. 

To play the Nassau golf betting game, players must agree on the dollar amount they will bet on each of the three contests. This is an exciting golf betting game as it has a press bet option, which allows losing players to start a new bet and keep their chances to win alive.


  • Handicap level: All levels
  • Players: Two players or two teams

2. Dots

Dots, also known as Trash, Junk, or Garbage, is a fun golf betting game where the objective of accumulating dots involves winning points by achieving specific tasks during a round. At the end of the round, these dots can be exchanged for cash.

For example, let’s assume three players, A, B, and C, are betting in a game of Dots. They agree that each point carries a value of $1. Upon completing the round, player A secures 20 points, player B obtains 8 points, and player C acquires 12 points.

As a result,

  • Player A receives $12 from Player B and $8 from Player C, resulting in a $20 net gain.
  • Player B pays $12 to Player A and $4 to Player C, resulting in a $16 net loss.
  • Player C pays $8 to Player A and receives $4 from Player B, resulting in a $4 net loss.

Here are some of the side bets you can follow to earn points:

  • Greeny: Green in regulation (GIR)
  • Sandy: Par saved from sand
  • Barky: Par save after hitting a tree
  • Fishy: Par save from water
  • Chippy: Holing out from off the green
  • Birdie: One under par
  • Eagle: Two under par
  • Closest to the flag
  • Scramble: Missing fairway and green, yet still making par


  • Handicap level: All levels
  • Players: Two, Three, or four players

3. Skins

Skins are one of the popular golf gambling games where each hole is worth a certain amount of money or points. The objective of the game is simple: the golfer who scores the lowest on a hole wins the corresponding value, known as a “skin.”

In the case of a tie on a specific hole, the skin’s value does not carry over to the next hole, leaving it unclaimed. The prize money or points are typically shared with the scorekeeper or bet organizers.

However, some variations of the skins golf betting game allow the tied skin’s unclaimed money to carry over to the next hole, increasing the potential payout for subsequent holes.


  • Handicap level: All levels
  • Players: Two or four players

4. Sixes (6-6-6 golf betting game)

The sixes golf betting game, also known as 6-6-6, is a variation of the popular Nassau bet, particularly suitable when deciding on teams becomes a challenge. This format introduces a fresh wager every six holes, with a partner rotation for each segment.

  • In the first six holes (1-6), Player A and Player B team up as partners. They aim to outperform the opposing duo during this phase.
  • Moving on to holes 7-12, Player A joins forces with Player C to form a new partnership. Together, they strive to secure victory against the other team.
  • For the final stretch of holes 13-18, Player A pairs up with Player D. Their objective is to emerge triumphant in this phase of the game.

Each set is a separate bet, with a $5 wager per match and an additional $1 for birdies. This format provides an exciting and evolving experience, emphasizing strategic partnerships and the quest for birdies.


  • Handicap level: All levels
  • Players: four or more players

5. Wolf

Wolf is an exciting golf betting game played with a group of four or five golfers. One player becomes “the wolf” on each hole and tees off first.

The wolf observes the other players’ tee shots and selects a partner for that hole. The remaining players compete against the wolf and their chosen partner. This process repeats on each hole, with a different player becoming the wolf.

The value of each hole is decided before the game begins. Strategic partner selection based on tee shots is crucial. Wolf adds suspense and decision-making to each hole, making it a highly engaging game.


  • Handicap level: low-mid handicappers
  • Players: 3-5 players

6. 9-point game

The 9-Point golf betting game is one of the rare golf betting games designed specifically for three players, making it an ideal choice when a member of your foursome cancels.

On each hole, a total of 9 points is distributed among the players based on their scores. The player in first place receives 5 points, the second-place player gets 3 points, and the third-place player earns 1 point. In the event of a tie, the points are divided equally among the tied players.


  • Handicap level: low-mid handicappers
  • Players: 3 players

7. Vegas

Vegas is a golf game that pits two teams against each other. The scoring system involves combining all the players’ scores, with the lower score placed first.

For example, if there are 2 players in each team, if one player shoots a 4 and their teammate shoots a 5, their team score for the hole would be 45.

After each hole, the team with the higher score subtracts their score from the team with the lower score. The resulting difference represents the debt that one team owes the other.

Vegas, as the name implies, is a game that thrives on high-stakes wagers, making it unsuitable for friendly golf betting games. Playing Vegas involves a significant level of risk and is best suited for those seeking a more intense and competitive betting experience.


  • Handicap level: low-mid handicappers
  • Players: Two teams

8. Bingo Bango Bongo

The Bingo Bango Bongo is one of the unique golf betting games suitable for twosomes, threesomes, or foursomes of mixed abilities. In this game, scores do not count. Instead, points are awarded for specific achievements on each hole. 

The first player to reach the green earns the “bingo” point, the player closest to the hole earns the “bango” point, and the first player to hole out earns the “bongo” point. Each of these points has a designated dollar value bet.


  • Handicap level: All skill levels
  • Players: 2+ players

9. Rabbit

The Rabbit golf betting game revolves around capturing and holding onto the “rabbit” by winning a hole outright. The player who wins a hole becomes the holder of the rabbit until another player wins a hole.

In this version of Rabbit, the rabbit is released and up for grabs on each hole. This game can be played over 9 or 18 holes, with betting options available for both. Another option is to establish a cash pot, where the player holding the rabbit at the end of the 18th hole claims the entire pot.

The objective of the game is to strategically win holes and capture the rabbit, holding onto it for as long as possible to maximize potential winnings.

  • Handicap level: All skill levels
  • Players: 2 or 4 players

10. Quota system

The quota system is an interesting golf betting game that requires each player to have a handicap. To start, subtract your handicap from 36 to determine your point quota for the round.

Points are earned based on scores, and the scoring system can be adjusted depending on the skill level of the players. For mid-handicappers, the following scoring system could be used:

  • Bogeys: 1 point
  • Pars: 2 points
  • Birdies: 4 points
  • Eagles: 8 points

At the end of the round, tally up the points. The player who exceeds their quota by the most points wins the pot.

Alternatively, a sliding scale can be implemented, similar to a poker tournament, where the top players share the prize pool. If no player exceeds their quota, tiebreaker holes or nine holes can be used, or the game can be carried over to the next round.


  • Handicap level: All skill levels
  • Players: 2 or more players

11. Snake 

Snake is a golf betting game focused on putting skills. Players cannot use gimmies or drag short putts. Each golfer contributes to the pot for three putts made from green. The last person to three putt pays the pot to other players.

There is a variation where the cost of three putts increases progressively. The game is not recommended for consistent three putters and may slow down the pace of play. It’s suitable for low to mid-handicappers.


  • Handicap level: Low-mid handicappers
  • Players: 2 or more players

12. Hammer

The Hammer golf betting game can be played in 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 formats. Each hole has a set pot, typically $10.

At any point during the hole, one player or team can choose to “hammer” the other. The hammered team then has two options: “Fold” and concede the hole, losing the $10, or accept the challenge and double the hole’s value to $20.

For example, if Team 1 hits their shot into the rough on the first tee while Team 2 hits it onto the fairway, Team 2 would likely hammer the hole to $20.

However, if Team 1 then hits a remarkable shot from the rough and lands it five feet from the hole, they can retaliate by hammering back, doubling the hole’s value to $40. The game intensifies as the hole’s value keeps doubling with each hammer. It involves strategic decisions and pressure-packed putts, making it a thrilling golf betting experience.


  • Handicap level: Low-mid handicappers
  • Players: 2 or 4 players

13. Banker

The Banker Golf betting game is an entertaining and slightly complex game that requires a minimum of three players. The objective is to rotate the role of the banker for each hole, and players can decide how much they want to wager against the banker. The banker tees off last.

For example, if Player 1 is the banker, Player 2 can bet $5, Player 3 can bet $15, and Player 4 can bet $25. Players 2-4 compete individually against the banker. The player with the lowest score becomes the banker for the next hole, with ties broken by the longest putt.


  • Handicap level: Low-mid handicappers
  • Players: 3 or 4 players

14. Alternate Shot

Alternate shot match play is a tricky format, yet it is one of the creative golf betting games. The game is played with two-person teams. Each team consists of two players. The players on each team take turns hitting shots. They alternate shots until the ball is holed.

For example, Player A hits the tee shot, and then Player B hits the next shot. The players continue to alternate until the ball is in the hole.


  • Handicap level: All skill levels
  • Players: 2-player team

15. Daytona

The Daytona golf betting game is played in a foursome format. After each hole, all four players will hole out, completing the hole. Once everyone has finished, the players check their scores. If all four players score the same number on a particular hole, they combine those digits to form their score for that hole.

For example, if each player scores a 5, the combined score for the hole is 55. If the players’ scores differ on a hole, the guide for determining the combined score is par. Here’s how it works:

  • If a player achieves par or better, the lowest number among the differing scores goes first when combining the digits.
  • If a player scores a bogey or worse on the hole, the higher score goes first when combining the digits. For instance, a bogey and a double bogey on a par 4 would result in a combined score of 65.

At the end of the round, the player with the lowest combined number wins the game.


  • Handicap level: Low-mid handicappers
  • Players: 3 or 4 players

Here is a quick glance at golf betting games and their details: 

Golf Betting GamePlayersHandicap 
Nassau2 players or 2 teamsAll skill levels
Dots2-4 playersAll skill levels
Skins2 or 4 playersAll skill levels
6-6-64 or more playersAll skill levels
Wolf3-5 playersLow-mid handicappers
9 point game3 playersLow-mid handicappers
Vegas2 teamsLow-mid handicappers
Bingo Bango Bongo2 or more playersAll skill levels
Rabbit2 or 4 playersAll skill levels
Quota system2 or more playersAll skill levels
Snake2 or more playersLow-mid handicappers
Hammer2 or 4 playersLow-mid handicappers
Banker3 or 4 playersLow-mid handicappers
Aleternate shot2 player team  All skill levels
Daytona 3 or 4 playersLow-mid handicappers

II. Choosing the right golf betting game

When selecting a golf betting game, it is essential to consider several factors to ensure an enjoyable experience for all participants.

1. Skill Level

Choose a game that suits the skill level of the players involved. Some games may be more suitable for high-handicap players, while others may require a higher level of skill and strategy.

2. Size of the Group

Consider the number of players participating. Some games work best with a small group, while others can accommodate larger groups. Ensure that the game selected allows for fair and balanced competition among all participants.

3. Time Constraints

Take into account the available time for the round. Some games may be more time-consuming than others, especially if there are complex scoring systems or additional rules. Select a game that can be comfortably completed within the allotted time.

Bottom line

Incorporating golf betting games into your rounds can add a bit of excitement and friendly competition. However, selecting and playing these games carefully is important to ensure fairness and enjoyment for all participants. While high-stakes games can be thrilling, it’s crucial to establish limits and play responsibly to avoid financial risks.

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