Nassau Golf Game: How To Play, Format, And Rules

How to play nassau golf game

If you are looking for a competitive golf betting, Nassau golf game can be a great format to try. Learn about its format, rules, regulations and more.

The Nassau golf game has emerged as a timeless classic among the various formats and betting games played on the golf course. The Nassau is an interesting choice for golfers seeking a competitive and thrilling betting experience with their friends.

What Is Nassau In Golf?

The Nassau is a popular golf betting game played among golfers, where equal amounts of money are wagered between the players.

The game revolves around dividing the round of golf into three separate bets, known as “nassaus.”

The first Nassau encompasses the front nine holes, the second Nassau covers the back nine holes, and the third Nassau includes the entire 18-hole round. Each of these Nassaus is treated as an individual match and can be bet on independently.

The game is designed to cater to players of different handicaps, ensuring that competitive golf betting games are accessible to various skill levels.

Origin of Nassau in golf 

History of “the Nassau” Golf Bet

The Nassau golf game is a betting format that originated from Nassau Country Club on Long Island in the early 1900s. The club had an exceptionally talented core golf team, which led to other clubs feeling reluctant to compete against them.

In response to this situation, the Nassau bet was born as a way to encourage participation from other clubs. The term “Nassau” in this context pays homage to the legacy and longstanding traditions of the game of golf. 

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How to play Nassau golf game?

The beauty of the Nassau match lies in its flexibility. While the basic concept remains the same, the specific rules, formats, and stake amounts can vary. 


The Nassau golf game is typically played among two teams. The round is divided into three separate matches: 

  • Front nine (Out match): 1 to 9 holes
  • Back nine (In match): 10 to 18 holes
  • Total match (TOT): Overall 18-holes

Each hole can result in a win, tie, or loss for the teams. The game can be played in two different formats: match play and stroke play.

  • In match play format, the team that wins the most holes in each round is declared the winner.
  • The stroke play format involves counting the total number of strokes for the entire round. The team with the lowest total number of strokes at the end of the round is declared the winner.


The rules of the Nassau golf betting game can vary significantly, making it crucial to establish ground rules before teeing off. To provide clarity, here is a breakdown of the basic guidelines for the Nassau format.

Setting the teams

Before the round begins, the players need to establish the teams. Nassau can be played as a 1 vs. 1 match or in teams of two. The teams can be formed through a variety of methods, such as randomly drawing names, selecting partners, or even pre-arranging the teams based on skill levels.

Counting strokes and handicap scores

When playing with handicaps, it is important to balance the competition according to the skill levels of the players involved. To achieve this, you can calculate the difference between the handicaps of the strongest and weakest players.

For instance, if Player A has a handicap of 10 and Player D has a handicap of 8, there is a difference of two strokes.

In this scenario, Player D would be granted an extra two strokes while Player A would not receive any additional strokes. This adjustment helps to create a more equal playing field.

Setting the bet

Once the teams are determined, the players need to agree upon the betting terms. This includes deciding on the stake amount for each match. Common options include monetary values like $2, $5, or $10 per match, but players can choose the amount that suits their preferences. 

Note: Nassau, also known as 2-2-2 Nassau or 5-5-5 Nassau, refers to the amount wagered on each individual match. In 2-2-2 Nassau, the bet is $2, while in 5-5-5 Nassau, the bet is $5.

Understanding the press bet

In the Nassau golf betting game, there is an option known as a “press” which the losing team can use to initiate a new match within the ongoing one. When a press is accepted, a fresh match begins from the next hole and continues until only the remaining holes of the original match.

To explain, let’s say the TOT is being played from holes 1 to 18, and the losing team decides to press on hole 5. 

Consequently, a new match will commence from hole 6 and progress until hole 18. The pressed match retains the original bet amount.

Furthermore, it is possible to press a pressed match, resulting in additional matches for the remaining holes. This process can be repeated, and each subsequent pressed match maintains the same bet amount as the match it pressed.

Pressing offers the losing team an opportunity to recover and potentially win a new match within the original match, thus enhancing the game’s excitement. 

However, pressing can lead to a substantial number of matches and bets. Therefore, it is crucial to establish the pressing rules prior to commencing the game.

Here are several variations of pressing rules to consider in order to regulate the frequency of pressing.

  • Pressing is allowed at any point when a team is losing
  • Pressing is only allowed when one of the original matches is lost.
  • Pressing is permitted for the team behind only during the last four holes of each nine.
  • Limiting pressing to a specific number of times, such as once per nine or per 18 holes. 

How do you keep score in Nassau?

In Nassau, scorekeeping depends on the game format chosen (match play or stroke play). Wins, losses, and ties are recorded for each hole. Match play tracks the number of holes won, lost, or tied, while stroke play records the total number of strokes taken.


Nassau is a great way to keep you golf games competitive and exciting. By understanding the rules and setting up a pressing system, you can create an entertaining golf betting game that caters to players of different skill levels. 

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