With that said, on course betting (where legal) can be fun...but unless you are a hardcore gambler, it should be kept simple and friendly. Most of us have found ourselves in a match that was something like,
"Dollar a hole for total score, automatic double if you're down two; 50 cents for longest drive, closest to the pin, and first in; 25 cents for each bunker you hit; birdie after hitting a tree goes pig for the hole. Tie on 18 carries over to the putting green."
For starters, some poor bastard has to keep track of all that. Of course, no one else will know if he's right or wrong so he'll at least end up even. Second, people who are playing poorly that day will end up so angry that you won't want to play with them anymore. At betheball.com, we believe that betting games should make the round more enjoyable. Here are a few suggestions:
StrokesThis is an easy one if everyone has an official index. The only decision to be made here is whether to go with the Current or Low index. Those who have never established an index can often be a problem. These guys will make statements such as, "My last three rounds were 101, 105, and 103 so I guess that makes me about a 30. Just give me a stroke a hole." This never works as we all know that the way handicaps are calculated (stupid as it is) is based on the best 10 or 20 rounds and multiplied by 96%. In short, they have very little to do with what you shot over your last three rounds. Here are two recommended ways to settle this:
If you play with this guy often, everyone should have an idea as to his "potential." Why potential? Because that is what the USGA has designed the handicap system to be. To be fair, don't hold him to the 84 he pulled out of his ass five months ago. Still, you should be able to come to a consensus and assign him an index.
Make him negotiate. This can be the easiest way of all. After a couple of minutes you should be able to come to an agreement such as "I want 12." "I'll give you six." and so on.
A word of advice. Try to avoid giving strokes on Par 3's. This will put you at a huge disadvantage.
GamesFor maximum enjoyment, games should be simple to understand, require no extra equipment, and start with a low initial bet (to allow for presses, etc.).
Skins - Probably the easiest of all games. Lowest score on the hole wins a skin worth whatever stake was agreed upon. Ties can carry over or not. The rule of validation that was used on TV is a pretty crappy one. I don't recommend it.
Wolf - Another easy one. One player is selected as The Wolf for the first hole. All players hit their drives and the Wolf selects his partner for the hole. Lowest individual score on the hole wins a point for his team. The Wolf may opt to go PIG if he believes that he can beat all of the other players on the hole. If he succeeds, he receives three points. If he fails, the other team receives two points per member. Each player takes a turn being the Wolf on successive holes (based on an established rotation).
Vegas - This game is played in teams. The low score between partners is put first. For example, on a par four one player makes a 4 and his partner makes a 5, the team score is 45. If the other teams scores 56, the first team receives eleven points. If one team makes birdie, the other team must reverse it's score. If the above example were on a par five. Team One's score is still 45, but Team Two's score becomes 65 and therefore Teams One receives 20 points. If both teams birdie, both scores are reversed to figure the points. It's up to you to decide the value placed on each point. Just remember that there are a lot of points at stake.
We will be adding more games in the near future. Check back.