Each hole is assigned a point value. Typically the first six holes have the lowest value, and points increase on the second and third sets of holes. If a player beats his or her opponents, the golfer wins the value of the “skin” for that hole. If there’s a tie, the skin carries over to the next hole. The golfer with the highest score wins—and can win big.
You need three or more players. The beauty of this game is that, regardless of the number of mistakes you make, you only need enough good shots for a birdie or an eagle to win.
2. Bingo, Bango, Bongo
This three-part game is great for every player—from beginner to advanced. Be the first in your group of two to four to get your ball on the green (bingo). Be the first to get your ball closest to the pin once all balls are on the green (bango). Be the first to hole out (bongo).
Each win earns a point, and whoever has the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
Another three-bets-in-one game, the Nassau is one of golf’s classic betting games. Money is wagered on the best match play score in the front nine, back nine and total 18 holes.
4. The Snake
The Snake is a common putting game for two to four players, ideal for every level of golfer. It’s considered more of a side bet than an actual game. The first in the group to three-putt gets the “snake” until someone else three-putts. The next three putter then gets the snake. This continues until the end of the round. The player who finishes with the snake pays the agreed-upon wager to the other players.
5. Three Club Monte
In Three Club Monte, players choose just three clubs to use with their putters during a round. Whoever tallies the best score wins.
“The game goes by quicker since you have less time to decide which club to play with,” says Michael Kim, general manager of the Cresta Verde Golf Club in Corona, California.
Ka-Ching is played with 10 metal coins with color icons. Each coin holds a point value—hit a ball out of bounds (-2), get a birdie (+2), sink your ball (-1)—and the winner is the player with the highest point total at the end of a round. Players keep the coin until another player has the same offense—or great play.
An Arnie goes to the golfer who makes par on a hole without getting his ball into the fairway. After the round, tally the Arnies and settle up. Arnies are eligible only on par-4 and par-5 holes, not on par-3s.
8. Acey Ducey
Acey Ducey is a simple game for four golfers. On each holes there’s a winner, two losers and one big loser. The player with the lowest score wins the betting amount from the second- and third-place losers; the high scorer pays the winner three times that amount.
You can’t get much lighter than a Barkies side bet. All you have to do is hit a tree with your ball. Oh, yeah, and make par. A double barkie is hitting two trees on the same hole.
Wolf is a great choice for foursomes. Players rotate as the “Wolf.” On each hole, the player, or “Wolf,” chooses to play against all three opponents, or chooses a partner to play with against the other two in the group. If the Wolf goes it alone, they can win or lose big.