Are you looking for some inspiration for a fun night out? Then consider a round of pub golf… the drinking game that has stood the test of time with university students, stag dos, celebrations, and more. Don’t worry, no golf clubs are needed, and no golfing ability is required at all in fact.
In this quick pub golf guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need about pub golf. So grab your friends, put on your best golf attire (the quirkier the better, I’m thinking a late 1890’s vibe), and get ready to tee off on a wild night out.
What Is Pub Golf?
Pub golf is a drinking game that combines the game of golf with a pub crawl. Instead of playing on a course, players visit nine pubs or bars, with each location acting as a hole. The goal is to complete each hole in as few “strokes” as possible. Each swig of your drink counts as a stroke, and each type of drink has a different par.
Pub Golf Origins
So where did this unique and entertaining game come from? While the origins of pub golf are a bit murky (much like your memory of the night might be the following day), it’s believed to have started in the UK in the 1990s (which seems likely due to our binge drinking culture). Since then, it’s spread worldwide, with variations and adaptations popping up in different countries and regions.
Now, it’s a popular way to spend a night with friends, combining friendly competition with socializing and drinking.
How to Play Pub Golf
Now that you know what pub golf is, it’s time to talk rules. Here is everything you need to know about playing a round of pub golf:
Setting Up the Scorecard
You can download a pub golf scorecard online, purchase custom scorecards, or make your own that you could print or have on your phone.
Your scorecard should include a row for each hole/pub you visit. The columns I recommend are:
- Pub name
- Players Score (blank for the players to fill in)
Now, chances are that your players will get pretty tipsy throughout the game. Adding pub golf rules to the back of your scorecard will help your more forgetful friends as the night wears on.
Choosing Your Par
You’ll need to order one drink at each pub corresponding to the “hole” you’re playing. Lower-par drinks are easier to gulp down. So, your single shot is par 1, while a pint of beer might be a par 5.
How you plan your holes is up to you and your group. Do you think it’s best to start with the low par (shots), or the higher par but less alcoholic drinks (beer)? I’ll leave that up to you to decide the order of drinks.
Please always remember to drink responsibly and know your limits. If you’re not comfortable drinking a particular type or quantity of alcohol, you can always choose to skip a hole or take a penalty. I’ll be honest, I think I would be in all types of trouble playing this now, would be penalties galore for me.
Playing the Game
Once you have your drink, it’s time to tee off! Turn that drink bottoms up in as few swigs as possible, and record your score. Want to make sure no one is cheating? Then assign each player a partner, that must witness their drink in each location and record their score for them on their scorecard.
Seasoned players know to pace themselves while staying within par. Those who start the course chugging end up paying for it down the road.
Who wins? Like traditional golf rules, the person with the fewest total strokes at the end of the game wins.
Pub Golf Tips
To make the most of your pub golf experience, here are a few tips and tricks:
- Pick a group that isn’t too serious – it’s pub golf, not the Olympics
- Dress up in golf attire to get into the game’s spirit, the quirkier the better in my opinion.
- Take breaks between pubs to eat and hydrate
- Assign a partner to each player who records their scores.
- Choose a “caddy” who doesn’t drink and can solve disputes (although I’m not sure who would willingly not drink on a pub crawl)
- Choose pubs that are close together (although some people might need the long walk to recover, the group getting lost in between pubs isn’t ideal, although with Google Maps I feel like this shouldn’t happen that often)
There you have it—the basic rules of pub golf. But there are ways you can make your game more interesting.
Pub Golf House Rules
The basic rules of pub golf are simple, but house rules spice the game up a bit. Here are the most popular pub golf house rules and how to use them.
Like most drinking games, pub golf has penalties to make the game more challenging. For example, players who spill their drink may have to take a shot or add two strokes to their scorecard.
If you add a time limit for each hole, you can also penalize players for taking too long to finish their drinks. Going over their time could cost players two strokes, while failure to complete the hole costs three.
Get creative with your penalties. Pub golf is about having a drink and a laugh—choose rules that will entertain your friends.
To add an element of surprise and strategy, you can create hazards at certain pubs. For example, you could deem one pub a water hazard. That means players cannot go to the bathroom at that pub without facing a penalty.
Bunker hazards are also a fun choice. And by fun, I mean like on the real course they can be a nightmare and lead to extra shots… Bunker hazard pubs, therefore, have an extra shot that must be drunk. I have also seen them as a buy-in and buy-out drink. So, you must take a shot to enter and take a shot to leave.
Establishing a Forfeit Rule
To add a fun and lighthearted element of humiliation, you can establish a forfeit rule for the player with the highest score at the end of the game. This could be anything from wearing a silly hat to singing a karaoke song in front of the group or being awarded the wooden spoon.
Pub Golf Outfit Ideas
One of the essentials for pub golf is that everyone dresses up in golf clothing. You can actually buy fancy dress outfits for pub golf. There are blow up clubs, hats, wigs, and clothing from various eras. Ultimately, encourage everyone to get into the spirit, perhaps even having a reward for being the “best dressed”.
So there you have it, your guide to pub golf. As always, please drink responsibly.
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