To play golf is to engage in a paradoxical experience; it is, at times, quite relaxing and, at times, highly stressful. On the one hand, it demands your total focus and commitment towards your putt, and on the other, asks you to completely forget about it on your next hole. It is truly a unique game where a round can be both boring and exciting at the same time.
Unlike most other games, there are no restrictions regarding the way golf can be played. Over time, numerous formats have been developed on how to play golf. There are also formats for side golf games,the types of bets you can incorporate into your main game to keep things fresh as well as encourage players to recover quickly from bad breaks. In this guide, we will introduce you to 3 of the most popular golf side bets and how to play them.
Also popularly known by the name ‘Arnies’ in honor of the legendary golf player, Arnold Palmer. Nothing short of the golf’s version of Houdini, he was noted for being able to miraculously save par or make a birdie at any hole despite driving the ball all over the place.
In Seves side golf games, players will try to mimic Arnold Palmer’s ability. At the beginning of the round, all players set an amount for the bet, and during their play, should any of them manage to make par or a better on a hole without finding the fairway, they win the bet. During a round, players may win the bet multiple times. At the conclusion of the game, their wins counts are added up, and the bets settled.
The ball missing the fairway can often be extremely discouraging to the player. Incorporating Seves can thus allow them to keep their focus and attempt their best shot even if the ball has landed in a ditch a good distance away from the hole!
You are allowed to include other betting scenarios as well where a player might be given a bad break such as making par or better after hitting a tree, going over a hazard, out of bounds, etc.
Also known as ‘Chasing the Bear’, rabbit is all about getting the lowest score on the first hole (termed as catching the rabbit) and retaining it on the front nine. On the back nine, the ‘rabbit’ is released, and the bet starts over.
This side golf game is usually played in a threesome or foursome golf game. Before the start of the round, all players agree to a prize amount for winning the bet. On the first hole, whichever of the players scored the lowest amount captures the rabbit. If they manage to keep the lowest score for the first of nine holes, they win the bet. They and the player who does so likewise for the next nine are awarded the amount at the round’s conclusion. Potentially, a player can win double the amount if they amazingly kept the lowest score on all the holes all the way to the 18th green.
However, should there be a tie on the first hole, no one gets to capture the rabbit, and this can continue on over the next holes until someone eventually does manage to acquire the lowest hole score.
The bet can also prematurely start over if the player who had captured the ‘rabbit’ is unable to carry their performance over to the next hole. In other words, if it was someone else who managed to score the lowest on that hole. However, it is important to note that the lowest scorer on that hole doesn’t capture the rabbit, merely get it to be released. It is on the next hole that players can try and capture the rabbit by singly scoring the least.
Since a player has to keep the rabbit for each of the nine successive holes, this can be a really tough side bet to win. Nonetheless, it is this very challenge of achieving victory that makes winning this bet all the more satisfying.
A 3-putt on the green is something that all golf players generally wish to avoid. This side bet makes such an outcome all the more punishing as well as add a whole lot of extra uncertainty to the gameplay.
In this side golf game, whoever has the first 3-putt gets the snake, and it stays with them through the round until someone else 3-putts, in which case, it gets passed over to them. This process of passing continues until the conclusion of the round where the latest person to be passed over the snake owes the rest of the players the agreed-upon bet amount.
To keep track of the side bet easier, many golfers may bring an actual rubber snake to pass along between them during the game session.
A modified version of this side golf game also exists, in which the agreed-upon amount at the start doesn’t remain static. Rather, each time the snake gets passed, the amount doubles, further increasing the stakes and intensifying the competition.
In this snake format, it is highly advised to take extreme care with setting the initial amount. Through the round progress, it could potentially balloon to a significant sum. For instance, in a round where a snake was passed 5 times, a starting sum of $5 could lead to a final sum of $160. If it was a foursome game, that means that the poor person who lost the bet would lose a total of $480.
Thus, this modified snake format is not recommended for groups composed of high handicappers. Just imagine the loss to the player in a game where the snake gets passed a total of 12 times! Unless, of course, real money has instead been replaced by a point system, steer clear of including this modified version if your obviously not a skilled golf player.
Beginner golfers are sometimes called ‘rabbits’, but it isn’t from this term that the name of side golf game takes its inspiration from. Rather, it relates to the trait associated with the real animal – quickness. After all, the side bet is all about having the lowest score and, thus, trying to keep way ahead of the rest of the pack – figuratively sprinting your way towards victory.
You might know it by other names, but it simply refers to any area of the golf course that may provide a significant obstacle to playing the ball. Special rules may apply while playing your ball within a hazard. For example, you are typically not allowed to touch the ground with your club before playing the ball, and any ball lying here can be played without incurring a penalty.
Usually, golf course hazards are of two types – water and bunkers. A water hazard can include lakes, rivers, and ponds. It can be further divided into two types – lateral (adjacent to the fairway) and intersected (crossing through the fairway).
Meanwhile, a bunker hazard includes sandpits, and any depressed landscape formation from which driving a ball could be quite challenging.
Saying that golf is like a mere game is no different than saying than an astronaut is a pilot. Sure, both an astronaut and a pilot lift a craft off the ground and into the air, but an astronaut takes theirs far further, beyond the blue into deep space. Similarly, while both golf and another game may similarly serve the purpose of recreation, the spectrum of experiences that you take home with you after a day of golfing is un-comparable.
Without argue, golf is a fantastic game, but it can be even made better with BEEZER GOLF, an app created to help you keep better track of your scores and bets. BEEZER GOLF also makes it easier to discover local golf courses near you, with over 38,000 golf courses worldwide listed in its database. With its dedicated range finder and stat analysis, you can improve your gameplay and get land better shots at the green. Download BEEZER GOLF on your smartphone and take your golfing experience to the level.