golf betting games

Enjoying Golf as a High Handicapper: Fun Betting Games to Try

Golf is an enjoyable yet challenging sport for players of all skill levels. However, high handicappers – those with a handicap index of 14 or higher – can often feel discouraged and left out of betting games, which are a fun way to make a round of golf a bit more interesting. But that doesn’t have to be the case! There are plenty of golf betting games that have been adapted to level the playing field and enable high handicappers to participate and enjoy friendly competition on the course.

What Are Betting Games in Golf?

Betting games in golf, often called side games, side bets, or wagers, add another element of competition, pressure, and fun to a normal round. These games will have established rules, scoring systems, and payouts if you win or lose. Many kinds of bets can be made between golf partners, teams, or entire foursomes. For high handicappers, certain games can be adapted to allow them to be more on par with lower handicap players.

Benefits of Betting Games

There are many benefits to incorporating betting into your average round of golf:

  • Adds pressure and competitive excitement, raising the stakes on normally casual play
  • Encourages concentration, focus, and urgency with every shot
  • Makes each hole seem more meaningful and keeps you invested in your performance
  • Can help you focus more, avoid careless mistakes, and bring out your best golf
  • Forces you to care about every stroke since money is on the line
  • Creates memorable moments and a fun, humorous environment on the course

Key Tips for High Handicap Betting Games

If you’re a high handicapper interested in trying out betting games with your regular group, keep these tips in mind:

  • Find games that allow handicapping or strokes given
  • Know your limitations and pick bets within your skill range
  • Focus on your net score, not gross score
  • Bet small, friendly stakes – avoid breaking the bank
  • Stay positive and keep perspective, win or lose
  • It’s about fun and friendly competition – don’t take it too seriously!

Great Betting Game Options

With the right approach and game choices, high handicappers can enjoy betting games just as much as better golfers. Here are some of the best betting games to try for players with higher handicap indexes:


Overview: Players rotate being the “Wolf” each hole and get to choose the best partner from the group or go it alone. The Wolf and partner(s) vs the rest.

Why It Works: As a high handicapper, you might get picked last or not at all on holes. But you can still win holes by scoring better than the Wolf group. Easiest game to integrate handicaps.

Criers and Whiners

Overview: Before playing, golfers declare if they will be a “Crier” or “Whiner.” Criers must loudly announce their good shots and whiners can only softly moan about bad ones.

Why It Works: Focus on your good shots rather than poor ones! No skill required and room for humor.

Best Ball

Overview: The best net score between you and your partner serves as the team score for each hole.

Why it Works: Partners carry each other on bad holes. You contribute to some holes without needing consistently good golf.

Bingo Bango Bongo

Overview: Three scoring systems per hole. First player onto the green gets the “Bingo” point, player closest to the pin gets “Bango” point, first to hole out gets “Bongo” point. Most points at the end wins.

Why it Works: Only one point requires making par. Just focus on your strengths through the hole rather than overall score.

Greenies or Sandies

Overview: Bet a small amount each hole for whoever makes a “greenie” (getting onto green with your tee shot) or a “sandie” (getting out of a bunker in one shot)

Why it Works: Small bets with big rewards! Stay focused on specific goals rather than your full game.


While high handicappers may feel betting games aren’t meant for them, the right games and approaches make gambling on the golf course inclusive and fun for players at every skill level. Finding ways to compete that focus on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses is key – think one shot at a time rather than overall score. Setting up partners games or betting small amounts keeps it friendly. Approach it with a sense of humor, perspective and remember it’s about camaraderie over competition. With some adaptation, high handicappers can enjoy the excitement, pressure and laughs that betting games create!

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