Golf: Bets from the Short Grass
As we move into a slow of professional sports, golfers can focus on the surest bet of all — themselves! Getting together for a game of golf presents opportunities to get some action, however, it helps to know the games before you play. In this column, I have composed some popular golf games that will keep your rounds exciting and hopefully profitable. While game formats might vary slightly depending on who you are playing with, these are some of my favorites.
This game is usually played by match play rules (hole-by-hole) and consists of three wagers: front nine, back nine and 18-hole total. Players declare the stakes for each wager ($5-$5-$5) and play against each other matching scores hole by hole. As with most games, players can opt to press in hopes of recouping lost holes. For example, if Player A is down 1 on the ninth hole, he can press Player B and double the bet for that particular hole and nine. A press essentially doubles the stakes with the beginning of a second bet. Where this gets interesting is when each bet continues simultaneously until the round is completed. After the front nine, the second wager begins on the 10th tee. The final wager is determined based on all 18 holes.
This popular wager makes a great four-person game. This two-man-team game begins by selecting a tee-off order that stays in place throughout the entire round, alternating who hits first. After the first golfer hits, he can select his partner after their hit. The catch is, once you select a partner, you can’t select the next player or go back to an earlier player once you have passed on them. If you don’t want to pair with any of the shots, you can opt to go “wolf,” in which you are now playing for low score against the other three players in the group for triple the bet. If you happen to lose when going wolf, you lose triple to all in the group. Any player can call wolf as long as they are still on the tee box, and it’s predominately done when getting a stroke or when you have hit a good shot compared to the others. The catch is when someone hits a good escape shot and either ties the low ball or beats it, leaving the wolf paying triple to all three.
Daytona is a four-person game with two-man teams where both players’ scores make up the team score. For example, playing a par 4, Team 1 records two pars and their score would be 44; Team 2 records two bogeys and their team score would be 55; the difference in scores is 11 points, which is allocated to Team 1. Where the action begins is when a team records a birdie (Par 4 – Team 1 = 3 & 5 for a 35) and the other team fails to record a par (Team 2 = 5 & 7 for a 75), in which case the high number is put in front of the low number. So, for this scenario, Team 1 = 35; Team 2 = 75; Team 1 wins 40 points. Point value is determined at the beginning of the round and added up at the end.
Usually played in a threesome, each hole has six points available. Each hole awards points in increment of 2-2-2, 3-3-0, 4-1-1, 4-2-0 or 6-0-0 based on who wins, ties or loses a hole. If a player wins the hole out right, and the other two players tie, the score would be four points for the winner and one each for the two who tied (4-1-1). If two players tie for low ball, the points would be 3-3-0. This six-point formula is recorded throughout the match with each press representing a new bet on top of the original bet.
The greatest thing about wagering on the course is that through handicapping, players may tee it up on a level playing surface when it comes to skill level. You just have to understand the bet, know when you get your strokes, manage your golf ball in the fewest strokes and hope that your playing opponent doesn’t have a bag full of sand.
Josh Snider is the head golf professional at Oxmoor Country Club in Louisville, Ky. As a teacher, he believes not only in attaining good mechanical skills but also developing a whole concept approach to the game, including course management and physical improvement with an emphasis on a precise short game to lower scores. Some of Josh’s accolades are: Certified PGA Professional: Executive Management, Instruction, Golf Operations, and Retail, 2008; Hank Haney: Teaching the Teachers Workshop, 2005; KPGA Communication Committee Member 1999-2002; KPGA Assistant Golf Professional of the Year, 1999; Kentucky Section, Titleist, Acushnet Scholarship recipient, 1998.