Mastering Golf Side Games: Elevate Your Game and Enjoy Friendly Competition

Adding Excitement to Your Game

Golf is a sport renowned for its rich tradition, meticulous technique, and serene atmosphere. However, beyond the pristine fairways and well-groomed greens lies a world of vibrant competition and camaraderie known as side games. These additional challenges not only add excitement to your round but also foster a sense of camaraderie among players. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking to spice up your game or a newcomer eager to explore the variety golf has to offer, here are some top side games for golf that will elevate your experience on the course.

According to the PGA, 80% of Golfers Prefer to Wager on Their Games

Side games in golf aren’t just about adding excitement and camaraderie; they’re also deeply ingrained in the culture of the sport. According to the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), a staggering 80% of golfers prefer to wager on their games. Whether it’s a friendly bet among friends or a high-stakes competition, the thrill of playing for something more than just pride adds an extra layer of intensity to every round.

1. Greenie

Objective: Get your ball closest to the pin on the green in regulation (usually on par-3 holes).

How to Play: Compete against fellow golfers to see who can hit their tee shot closest to the pin on par-3 holes. The player with the ball nearest to the hole wins the Greenie.

Why It’s Exciting: Greenies inject an element of precision and strategy into each par-3 hole, challenging players to showcase their accuracy with the irons.

2. Skins

Objective: Win individual holes to accumulate “skins” and emerge as the overall winner.

How to Play: Compete against fellow players on each hole to win the skin by having the lowest score. Skins carry over if tied, increasing the stakes for subsequent holes.

Why It’s Exciting: Skins games are known for their dynamic nature, with the value of each hole escalating as the round progresses. Every shot counts, and the potential for a dramatic comeback keeps players on the edge of their seats.

3. Bingo-Bango-Bongo

Objective: Earn points based on various achievements on each hole, including being first on the green, closest to the pin, and holing out first.

How to Play: Players compete in three categories on each hole—Bingo for first on the green, Bango for closest to the pin, and Bongo for holing out first. Points are awarded accordingly, with the player accumulating the most points declared the winner.

Why It’s Exciting: Bingo-Bango-Bongo offers multiple opportunities for players to excel on each hole, rewarding both skill and strategy. The dynamic scoring system keeps everyone engaged throughout the round.

4. Nassau

Objective: Compete in three separate competitions within a round—the front nine, the back nine, and the overall round.

How to Play: Players or teams compete in three categories, with bets often placed on each separately. The winner of each category is determined based on specific rules and bets, with the possibility of sweeping all three for ultimate victory.

Why It’s Exciting: Nassau combines elements of match play and betting, offering multiple layers of competition and opportunities for strategic gameplay. Each segment of the round presents its own challenges and rewards, keeping players fully immersed in the action.

5. Wolf

Objective: Take turns being the “Wolf” and select partners to compete against the other players on each hole.

How to Play: The Wolf rotates on each hole, choosing a partner or going solo before the other players tee off. The lowest score on the hole wins, with the Wolf having the potential to earn extra points by going solo.

Why It’s Exciting: Wolf games add an element of strategy and unpredictability to each hole, as players must decide whether to form alliances or go it alone based on the circumstances. The shifting dynamics keep the competition fresh and engaging from start to finish.


Side games are a fantastic way to inject energy and excitement into your golfing experience while fostering camaraderie and friendly competition among players. Whether you’re vying for skins, chasing greenies, or strategizing your moves as the Wolf, these games offer endless opportunities for fun and skill development on the course. So, gather your friends, tee up, and explore the world of side games for golf—you’ll be amazed at how they transform your round into an unforgettable adventure.

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

What is a Greenie, Wolf, or Banker side game?

Embark on a thrilling journey through side games and global challenges with Combat Golf, catering to golfers of all levels. Dive into a diverse array of formats including Match Play, Twelves, Stableford, and more. Combat Golf’s Game Education Center offers detailed guides on each game, simplifying learning and strategy. Arrange games with friends effortlessly via the mobile app. Elevate the excitement by betting cash or points, adding a competitive edge to your rounds. With Combat Golf, enjoy friendly rivalry while refining your skills on the course.