The strikingly simple core concept of golf -- low score wins -- has made the game an easy platform for adaptation. Whether Skins or Stableford out on the course or button bashing as a simulated Tiger on a video game console, golf has proved itself endlessly accessible, even for competitors unable to discern between an iron and a wood.
It's no wonder, then, that game designers continue to return to golf for inspiration. Here are a few innovative and interesting games, some played on the course, some off, that capitalize on the game of golf.
This game, played with nine dice, has already become a popular bar game. The idea is simple: Roll nine dice, pull the lowest "golf" score and roll the remainders until no dice remain. Add them up, and that's the score for nine holes. It's harder than it sounds and involves serious strategy and, as in golf, a little luck.
Each of these eight poker-style chips is marked with either a negative (sand, water, score 8, 3-putt, trees) or positive (1-putt, birdie) golf event. Before the round begins, each chip is assigned a value. As the round proceeds, the chips change hands according to which player has done what most recently. For instance, a birdie chip might move from one player to another several times. At the end of the round, players holding negative chips must pay the predetermined value to everyone else in the party. Holders of the positive are paid by everyone else. There is a single Wild Card chip that can be assigned according to the group's whims.
This cunning game, which employs golf scoring and card logic, involves building 18 low-scoring hands while your opponent struggles in the figurative rough. Fairly simple and straightforward, it's also an excellent way to introduce young golfers to some of the concepts of the sport.
PGA TOUR FINGER GOLF
Inspired by the study hall paper football games of yore, this 18-hole golf game involves finger-flicking a small puck around a deceptively challenging tabletop course. More than merely a question of sending the "ball" spinning from point A to B, it's a game that requires dexterous digits, an ability to scramble out of tough situations and the understanding that, as in real life, the game is won and lost on the green.
Part scratch card, part score card and part Vegas slot, Golf Hold'em employs golf and poker skills. Each player receives a "card," revealed in a scratch-off, when a predetermined score for each hole is reached. Those cards are then put together to make two hands of five. Best hand wins. The beauty is in the simplicity. No adaptation of the basic rules of golf are involved and the card portion doesn't really need to come into play until after the round is done.
COST: $20 for 20 cards
These laminated bingo cards clip easily to a golf bag and are marked using tees. When something good happens (par holes, long drives, great putts), a square is marked. When something unfortunate befalls an opponent (water, bunkers, missed greens) a square is marked. The first to the traditional bingo five-in-a-row wins.
COST: $12.99 for four cards
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.