Games Within the Game

Friday, May 4, 2007

Kind of like the Redskins and RFK Stadium, we here at Swing '07 figure that some things are just meant to go together, and that includes a little wagering among friends when playing a round of golf.

So with apologies to Judge Elihu Smails -- "Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, and I never slice" -- here are some fun ways to help keep your round interesting while giving the lesser-accomplished player in the group a reasonable chance:

Six, six and six : Members of your foursome team up against each other, two-on-two, while rotating partners every six holes. This gives each player a chance to team up with every member of the group.

Teams can accumulate up to two points per hole for (a) the lowest recorded score by an individual and (b) the lowest combined score for the two players. If there is a tie, no points are awarded for that hole. The team with the most points after six holes wins the match.

Nassau : Three bets in one, consisting of the front nine, back nine and overall score. The most common is the $2 or $5 Nassau, which sounds innocent enough. But if a match has been decided with one or more holes remaining, the trailing player can choose to "press" -- or double the bet -- over the remaining holes, which raises the stakes in a hurry.

Bingo, Bango, Bongo : Points are awarded in three ways: first in the group to get his ball on the green (bingo), closest to the pin once all balls are on the green (bango) and the first to hole out (bongo).

This gives all players a chance because even if you are the shortest person off the tee, you will have the first chance to hit the second shot and yell "bingo." And if you are farthest from the pin when all balls on are the green, you will have the first chance to putt and scream "bongo."

By betting $1 for each achievement, the points and money can accumulate.

Wolf : This is a game for four players, with each player taking turns being the "Wolf." The player designated the Wolf can choose to play the hole against the rest of the group or team up with another partner.

If the Wolf chooses to play two-on-two, he must choose his partner immediately after that player's drive. The side with the lower better-ball score wins the hole. If the Wolf chooses to play alone after all people have hit, the winnings or losings are double for the Wolf.

There also is Lone Wolf, in which the designated Wolf can decide to go it alone before anyone hits, including himself. In this case, the winnings or losings are triple.

Gruesomes : This is another game for a two-on-two format, in which both members of each team tee off and the other team selects which ball you will play. Obviously, they will select the most "gruesome" of the two drives.

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