Are you tired of playing the same old golf betting games between your buddies? Or maybe you just want to add some competitive nature to your next golf outing. Whatever your reason for injecting a bit of good old-fashioned competition onto the course, learning how to play Wolf in golf can add another dimension to your next foursome. Learn what the rules are, how to play, and open up another world of fun with this simple game.
Before you begin, it’s important to decide if it’s the right game for your party. First off, it’s a betting game, so you may want to warn the cheapskate, err, the “thrifty” player(s) beforehand. If you’re playing in a charity tournament or with people from your church congregation, it may not be the best fit.
Next, the best way to play the game is with four players. While you can play with three players, having four is definitely preferable for the flow and sake of ease of the game.
Finally, you need to bring your own competitive spirit to the game. Gambling a bit may inspire some to perform at their best, but with an injection of excitement — and possibly — some beers, you should find that a game of Wolf really brings out another dimension of fun on the golf course. Just make sure to practice your putt or hit the driving range to give yourself the upper hand.
If you have a willing foursome, it’s time to learn how to play the best game you never knew you loved. Again, you can play this game with three golfers, but because four is easier, that’s the style that’s going to be described here.
Before you begin, you need to make a few agreements with the other players so that no gray area exists. Among these considerations are:
The first step is to establish a tee shot order. Each player is assigned a number — 1 through 4 or A through D. How you choose this is entirely up to you. Flip a tee, draw golf balls, or do whatever you prefer. Once everyone has their number, tee off at each hole in order.
For example, Player 1 or Player A will tee off first on the first hole. Then, Player 2 or Player B tees off on the next hole, and so on. This rotation continues throughout the entirety of the game. The last person to tee off on each hole is the 'Wolf'.
This assures that each player has at least four opportunities to be the Wolf, but we’ll get to what the Wolf is in a moment.
Note that you have the option to choose the Wolf on holes 17 and 18. Some people maintain the same order while others give the two players with the lowest scores the opportunity to be the Wolf on each of the last two holes.
When you learn how to play Wolf in golf, you may also come across two different playing styles. Some players say that the Wolf tees off first while others say that the Wolf tees off last. It’s all a matter of preference.
In the vast majority of cases — and the one we’re illustrating here — the Wolf is the last to tee off on each hole. It’s just important to note that some people may play differently, and you may need to adapt to their rules.
As each person tees off, the Wolf has a decision to make. He or she can choose a teammate based on what the other golfers do. For example, if the first person hits a poor tee shot, the Wolf may pass. But if the second player nails one right in the middle of the fairway, the Wolf may choose that person as a teammate increasing their chances of winning. However, this isn’t mandated; it’s just a smart choice to get the best score possible.
One key rule is that the Wolf can only choose a teammate immediately after a tee shot, they can't go back on their decision. Let's say Player 1 hits a bad shot, and the Wolf decides to pass. But then Player 2 hits an ok shot and the Wolf takes them as a partner. If Player 3 hits a bomb. The Wolf can’t change the decision because the last player — Player 3 — hits a screamer.
The Wolf also can decide whether they want to be the Lone Wolf. A Lone Wolf is a golfer who chooses to play on their own, passing on all 3 tee shots, taking on the three other golfers in the process. The major advantage here is that the Lone Wolf can get 2 points if they defeat the other players by getting the lowest score on the hole instead of 1 by teaming up.
Regardless of what happens, the competition will either be a 1 vs. 3 (Lone Wolf vs. everyone) or a 2 vs. 2 (fourball) scenario. Keep in mind that no matter what scenario happens, everyone continues to hit their own ball. This isn’t a golf scramble; best ball is how Wolf is played, or that is to say, everyone is still trying to get the best score possible.
The lowest individual score on the hole wins— not the combined scores. In both 1 vs. 3 and 2 vs. 2 games that end in a tie, the hole is a wash. There are no carryovers in Wolf, so channel your clutch game if things are getting tight.
Scoring is where things get tricky in Wolf. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find three different ways to score a game on three different websites. So to make things easier, you can just go with the most common scoring, which is as follows:
At the end of the round, you add up your points to get a net score. Then, you can pay out of a pot or have the last-place player pay everyone else. In a pot, you would just assign a certain amount of money to each point and pay each player accordingly.
If you choose the last-place player method, they’re on the hook for the payout. For example, let’s say that Player 1 gets 14 points, Player 2 gets 15 points, Player 3 gets 11 points, and Player 4 gets 8 points and you’re playing $1 per point. In this case, Player 4 finished last, so they owe $6 to Player 1, $7 to Player 2, and $3 to Player 3.
It can’t be stressed enough that different areas of the country or world may have different ideas on how to score a Wolf golf game, so roll with the punches. As long as you have the highest point total, it shouldn’t make any difference.
One of the more popular variations on Wolf, however, is the Blind Wolf. The Blind Wolf is when the Wolf decides to be the Lone Wolf before anyone tees off. In this case, the awarded points are tripled, regardless of who wins the hole. The Blind Wolf is either used throughout the entirety of the game or at the end of the round — on the 17th and 18th holes.
Without technology we recommend circling each persons score on the score card on each hole to mark who gets a point (one circle for each point - two circles around their score if they went alone and got two points).
Not every golfer uses technology out on the course, but it can certainly make things easier when you’re keeping score. So if you’re familiar with scorecard apps or even shot tracing apps, you should find a few scoring apps easy and helpful. These apps even do the scoring for you, making an extra beer on the back 9 a no-brainer. Some of the top apps to keep score include:
Due to differences in scoring, make sure that you choose the right app that uses your scoring methods, or otherwise, just know how the score is kept within your respective app.
By learning how to play Wolf in golf, you can make your next foursome just a tad more interesting. But then again, that’s only if you win, right? Winning at Wolf is a bit about strategy, a lot about choosing the best teammate or going it alone, and most importantly, being the best golfer you can be.
So before you decide to take on your friends, make sure to hone your game. Whether you’re taking a few swings at the driving range, working on your chipping game, or playing on an office putting set, the more effort you put in, the better your chance of putting a wad of cash in your pocket. And perhaps the most significant aspect: bragging rights until your next game.