Golf and gambling go hand-in-glove for many golfers. The USGA takes no position on golf gambling, and neither do we. But it's certainly part of the game at many friendly group outings. The wager can be as large or small as you want, and the bets as varied as you can imagine. You can find many more golf bets in our Tournament Formats/Betting Games Glossary
. But below are our picks for the most popular golf betting games and side bets.
The Nassau is three bets in one: low score on the front nine, low score on the back nine and low score over the full 18. The $2 Nassau is perhaps the most common bet among golf buddies.
Round Robin, also known as Hollywood or Sixes, is a betting game for groups of four that involves two members of the foursome teaming up against the other two. The catch is that partners rotate every six holes.
Sandies have a set value throughout the round. A golfer automatically wins the bet (depending on the rules being played) either by making par on a hole in which he was in a sand trap; or by getting up-and-down from a greenside bunker.
Bingo Bango Bongo awards points throughout the round for three different accomplishments. At the end of the round, points are totaled and the differences are paid out.
Barkies, sometimes called Woodies or Seves (as in Seve Ballesteros), are paid automatically to any player who makes par on a hole on which he hit a tree. The value of a Barkie is determined before the round.
Wolf is one of the classic golf betting games for groups of four, but it gets a little complicated. Players rotate as the "Wolf." On each hole, the player designated as the Wolf has to choose whether to play 1 against 3, or 2 on 2; and if 2 on 2, then the Wolf has to choose a partner. The Wolf can win or lose more money by going it alone.
Arnies are side bets whose value should be determined prior to the round. They are won automatically by any golfer who makes a par without having managed to get his ball into the fairway. Named in honor of Arnold Palmer, who made quite a few "Arnies" in his time.
Aces and Dueces, or Acey Ducey, is a bet in which there is a winner, two modest losers, and one big loser on each hole. It's a game for groups of four, obviously. The low scorer on each hole wins a certain amount from each of the other three players; while the high scorer on each holes owes each of the other three.
Gruesomes is betting game that pits 2-person teams against each other. Both team members tee off, then the other teams gets to choose which of the drives your side has to play. Obviously, they'll choose the worst - or most gruesome - of the two drives.
Criers and Whiners is known by many different names, but the gist is the same: it's a game of mulligans for those players who are always crying and whining about that handful of shots they screwed up. "If only I could have hit that one again ..." The number of do-overs golfers get in Criers and Whiners is based on their handicap index.