Golf is boring to watch. To play golf though is a whole different matter. I enjoy that.
Now let’s keep things interesting. Combine playing golf with another fun filled activity almost guaranteed to help you elevate your game — Wagering.
Not gambling which implies chance but rather wagering; pitting your skills versus another golfer[s]. Thankfully golf offers a handicapping system that allows various skill levels of golfers to compete for fun, profit and bragging rights.
How to wager is another story and will be set aside for discussion later. In the meantime here is a list with a description on some of my top 10+ favorite golf wagering games.
Skins. Skins is very much a match play format, but it is usually played between three , four or more players. Each hole is played separately, and is won by the player with the lowest score on that hole. The golfer with the lowest score on that hole wins ‘the skin’. Adding side wagers like carryovers in the event of a tie, par the next hole to validate the won hole and so on makes this game interesting.
Nassau. The Nassau is one of the most popular golf tournament formats and golf bets. It’s essentially three tournaments/games (bets) in one: the front nine, back nine and 18-hole scores all count as separate tournaments or bets.
In a Nassau tournament, the player (or team) winning the front nine wins a prize, the player (or team) winning the back nine gets a prize, and the player (or team) with the low 18-hole total wins a prize.
Nassaus are more common as wagers among friends, however. As a bet, the most common form is the $2 Nassau. The front nine is worth $2, the back nine is worth $2 and the 18-hole total is worth $2. A player or team sweeping all three wins $6. (From About Sports)
Stroke. This is for you sandbaggers. Played with two or more players. Each stroke is attached to a dollar amount. Total amount due is determined at end of round. Loser is the player with the most strokes. Payment is made by determining the difference between each player and paying the difference. Side bets really can get out of control.
Aside from these three very basic games you can mix and match various aspects of each to create your own convoluted game to the amazement and wonder of your fellow foursome. My personal favorite is to play Nassau (3 games in one — front, back and 18-hole) and combine it with skins. The reasoning it can really mean a decent payday or at least minimize the loss if you’re playing exceptionally poorly.