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How to Play Wolf: Excerpt from 'Chi Chi's Golf Games You Gotta Play'


(Editor's Note: Following is an excerpt from the book Chi Chi's Golf Games You Gotta Play, written by Chi Chi Rodriguez and John Anderson; © Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc. Excerpted by permission of Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL. )

Here's howl to play Wolf ... and aren't you glad your golf game is better than my pun, which was awolful?! Please, stop, the laughter's hurting my side.

Wolf is a classic four-player game that creates a different team on every hole or a gutsy one-on-three situation. An order one through four is established on the first tee and will continue to roll over through the entire round. The first player in the rotation tees off first on number 1, followed by players two, three, and four. On number 2, the second player in the rotation has honors, followed by players three, four, and one. The third player has the box on the number 3, followed by players four, one, and two. And player four leads off on hole number 4, followed by players one, two, and three. The wheel then repeats, starting with player one on the 5th hole and continues to turn over through the entire 18 holes. How the order is picked doesn't matter - by height, alphabetically, shoe size, or show of hands.

The player teeing off first on a hole is the wolf (my, what sharp teeth you have). As the wolf watches (my, what big eyes you have) the other players in the group tee off, he has the option to pick one of them as a partner on the hole, the rub being that the wolf must choose the player immediately after his tee ball. No waiting to see how all the players fare off the box before choosing. If the wolf chooses to partner with the second player, he must announce his intentions before the third player tees off. If the wolf passes on number two, he can tab player three but only before the last player hits. The same goes for the third player. If the wolf decides none of the shots are to his liking, he may go the hole alone and play against the other three.

To win a hole, the wolf and his partner, or the wolf alone, must combine to make a better ball score lower than the opposing team. A tie is a wash. A higher score, and the bet is won by the hunting team. A wolf playing alone receives double the bet if he wins and pays double to each of the other three players if he loses.

A brave variation of the game is to play Lone Wolf in which the first golfer on the tee announces he will play the hole solo immediately after his drive and without seeing any of the other tee shots. In Lone Wolf, the winnings are tripled, but so are losses, and again it's triple to all other players in the group. For those truly wild animals who would keep Marlin Perkins safely above in his helicopter while Jim Fowler runs through the burning forest floor, the Lone Wolf may declare his intentions to go it alone before ever putting his tee in the ground. In this case, all bets are quadrupled. Happy hunting.

All bets on tied holes may be carried over but most often are erased and started new on the next tee. Because the 17th and 18th holes are left over after four turns of the rotation, the player in last place is generally given the courtesy of teeing off first and being the wolf on the final two holes.

Wolf strategy is as much about self-confidence as it is about faith in a partner. A good player will go it alone as often as possible, especially on par 3s and 5s. Because this is a game played to full handicaps (3/4s or 2/3s for complete strangers), it helps to check to see who may be getting a stroke on the hole. Partners can be picked either to help win a hole or just to share losses, depending on your own tee ball. Hit it and howl golfers.

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