Golf is the perfect outdoor activity for friends, colleagues, and competitors. The sport takes a twist when golf betting games enter the stage and you’re playing for more than pride.
There are plenty of golf betting games for scratch golfers, beginners, and average players. We did deep research for the most popular golf betting games for all situations. Whether you are a group of three or four, we compiled a list of the top golf gambling games for all skill levels.
The article explains all you need to know about the following games, including scoring and “how to play”:
#1 Bingo Bango Bongo
Bingo Bango Bongo is a golf betting game in which three points are available on each hole. Players earn points by completing a milestone on each hole. The first player to fulfill one of the three activities receives one point. Players should keep a cumulative total of points. The person with the most points at the end of the round wins.
Etiquette is critical with this game. Because most of the points depend on the first golfer to complete an event, the group should follow order closely. If a golfer goes out of turn for the first two points, the second person will earn those points.
How to Play
- Each golfer plays with their ball with great respect to etiquette
- Bingo: the “bingo” point goes to the first player who hits the ball on the green
- Bango: the “bango” point goes to the player who has the closest shot to the pin (once all balls are safely on the green)
- Bongo: the “bongo” to the golfer who hits it in the cup first wins the point.
Wolf is a fun betting game that involves team play. The designated “wolf” of the group will decide whether to play 1 vs. 3 or team up with someone else for 2 vs. 2.
How to Play
- The group decides the order, and each person will take their turn as “wolf” for the hole
- The wolf will hit their tee shot first and will then watch the drives of the other group members
- For each shot, the wolf needs to decide if they want that person as their partner
- If the wolf does not like any of the drives, they can go 1 vs. 3
- Each golfer plays out their ball, and the side or team with the lowest score wins the hole
- For a 2 vs. 2 win, the golfers on the losing team will pay $1 to the golfers on the winning team
- For a 1 vs. 3 win, the golfers on the losing team will pay $2 to the golfer on the winning team, and vise versa
Defender is a classic three-golfer game where two players go against one player (the defender). The defender changes for each hole on a rotation. The main goal of the defender is to match or beat the score of the two-player team.
How to Play
- The group decides the order and cycles through the sequence throughout the round
- The defender will play against the two other players through stroke play format
- If the defender wins the hole, they get $2 from the losing team
- If the defender ties the whole, they get $1 from the losing team
- If the defender loses the hole, they pay $1 to the winning team
Rabbit is a betting game for groups of either three or four. The goal of the game is to capture the rabbit by winning the hole outright. Once the player gets the rabbit, they retain the rabbit until another golfer wins a hole.
For betting purposes, the group can release the rabbit and make it available for every hole. Depending on the size of the game, players feed money into a pool. Once the group walks off the 9th or 18th green, the person with the rabbit will win the pot of funds.
#5 St. James Roll
St. James Roll is an exciting golf betting game that divides money or points based on each golfer’s finishing position for each hole. Each point represents $1, and the scoring is as follows:
- Golfer beats three other players: 3 points
- Golfer beats the two other players: 2 points
- Golfer beats the one other player: 1 point
- Golfer beats no one: 0 points
How to Play
- The group tees off in order of handicap
- All four golfers finish the hole and add up their scores (stroke play format)
- There are 6 points (or 6 dollars) available for each hole
- Players earn the number of points or dollars equivalent to how many other players they beat
#6 Split Sixes
Split sixes is a 3-player game where the golfers play one vs. one vs one. The goal is to win the max amount of points on each hole. To earn the available points, the golfer must score better than the other members of the group. At the end of the round, the group totals the points. The 1st place finisher will win the total pot. Split sixes is a riskier game because only one player will finish with a profit.
How to Play
- Play each hole just like you would in a best ball format
- The best score on the hole wins 4 points, the 2nd best score wins 2 points, and the worst score earns 0 points
- If two players tie a whole, the six points split in half between them
- At the end of the round, total the number of points
- The 1st place finisher earns the total point difference between the 2nd and 3rd place finisher
- The 2nd place finisher earns the total point difference between 2nd and 3rd place
- Money is then awarded as $1 per point
Instead of striving for the lowest possible score, the objective of a Stableford is different. You want to get the highest score out of the group. Stableford is also different because golfers do not record strokes. Rather than writing down the number of strokes, there are point values:
- One stroke over par: 0 point
- Even par: 1 point
- Birdie: 2 points
- Eagle: 3 points
- Albatross: 4 points
The player with the most points at the end of the round wins the game.
Vegas is a betting game that involves a 2-on-2 format. Instead of totaling or taking the best stroke score, the numbers form together to make a larger double-digit number. For example, if the first partner scores a 4 and the second partner a 5, then it would be a 45 for the hole.
How to Play
- Players tee off and play their ball through stroke play format
- Once the hole is over, each team combines their two scores into a 2-digit number
- The smaller number is the first digit, and the larger number is the second digit
- Once the two teams form a number, take the difference between the numbers
- If team A has 34 and the team has 36, then team A wins $2
Banker is an ideal game for groups with three or four golfers. The number of holes is irrelevant, and each hole has a designated “banker.” A golfer earns “banker” status by achieving the lowest score on the previous hole.
How to Play
- First, the group must determine the minimum and maximum bank amounts for each hole
- Once the group chooses the number, each member of the group will compete against the banker
- The golfer can choose their bet amount based on how confident they are feeling for the round
Nassau is a popular golf betting game for foursomes. The 18-hole round splits into three different matches:
- One match for the front nine
- One match for the back nine
- One match for the overall score
The group plays this game in stroke play format. The group determines the total money pot for the round. For example, a $20 Nassau means a total of $60 is at stake for the game.
Final Wrap Up
Now that you know the best golf betting games, it is time to assemble your foursome and plan your next tee time! As you decide on the best betting game for your squad, make sure you confirm the scoring, payouts, and team assignments for the round. And remember, be honest, have fun, and enjoy the sunshine.
Lastly, here’s a couple tips to help make sure you are winning more often than you lose.
When playing for money on the course, always try to follow best practices and proven strategies for golf course management. You want to avoid taking unpredictable shots as much as possible. Off the course, try to build in sport-specific exercises for golfers into your workout routine to help create an edge for yourself before playing these games.
Remember, the key to playing winning golf is through repetition and minimizing variables as much as possible!