How to Play the Nassau Golf Game: Betting Rules & Tips

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The Nassau golf game is a unique betting format that is played by many golfers around the world. The game is designed to make a golf round more competitive by assigning side bets to a regular stroke or match game. This lets you play golf like normal, but with extra money on the line.

In this article, we will go over the following:

  • How to play the Nassau golf betting game.
  • The Rules of Nassau
  • Tips and strategies for winning money playing Nassau

If you have played the Nassau golf game before, let us know below!

Realted: Check out how to play the Wolf golf game!

What is the Nassau Golf Game?

The Nassau golf game is a popular type of wager in golf, consisting of three separate bets. One bet is placed for the front nine holes, one for the back nine holes, and the last for the full 18 holes.

The Origins the Game at the Nassau Country Club

The Nassau golf game originated from the Nassau Country Club in Long Island in the early 1900s. The game is named after the country club and is one of the most popular golf betting games ever.

The story is that the Nassau Country Club had the best golf team at the time, and many of the country clubs in the area did not like playing against them.

The Nassau bet was then created to alleviate this.

nassau golf course

What Makes Nassau Different

Nassau is unique because three separate bets are included in one game. Unlike other golf wager games, Nassau can be played in match play and stroke play. You can play with as few as two players and as many as four, with all types of handicaps to ensure fair competition.

Side bets can also be made on holes and a Nassau press bet. Press bets are offered at any time by the losing side for a chance to start a new match from that point and try to even up the money they already lost.

How is the Nassau Golf Game Played?

The Rules of Nassau

Nassau is one of the best golf games because there are few rules. You can play it solo or in teams. It can be played as either stroke or match play or if you want to make things interesting, you can play a scramble or alternate shot.

Once the match starts, you are playing for an original wager set before the match. A unique thing about Nassau is the side bet aspect. You can make any side bet you want as long as your playing partners agree to it.

This can include the closest to the pin or the longest drive on a hole. Whoever wins this side bet adds the agreed-upon amount to their end total.

There is also the Nassau press bet available. The losing party uses this and opens up a new bet that runs concurrently with the original bet.

This allows the losing party to minimize the lost amount over the remaining holes. The press bet counts for only the remaining holes after the hole it is placed.

Understanding the Front Nine, Back Nine, and Overall Match

The Nassau golf game consists of three tournaments: the front nine, the back nine, and the full 18 holes.

The wager must be agreed upon before the game starts.

A bet is made for the first nine holes, and whoever wins the front nine will win that wager.

A second bet is made for the last nine holes, and whoever wins the back nine wins that wager.

The third bet goes to whoever wins the entire match.

There are three games all in one to win the Nassau match. This format means that all golfers stay competitive until the final hole.

Nassau is one of the most popular games amongst golfers to enjoy.

golf course sand trip

Scoring Format in Nassau

One of the most unique aspects of the Nassau format is that it is very open to the types of scoring and players that can play. You can play stroke play or match play. You can also play a scramble, best ball, or alternate shot.

You only need to remember three bets for the match off the start. The only goal of Nassau is to try and shoot the best golf possible, as the lowest score will be the winner in most cases.

Tips and Strategies

Knowing When to Play It Safe

One of the best tips and strategies for a game of Nassau is knowing when to take risks and when to play it safe. Although a regular game of 18 holes, there are technically three rounds in one game of Nassau. You are trying to win the front and back nine and the entire round.

Planning your shots for each hole is great, especially if you have played the course before. You know the best club to use for each hole as well as other clubs to use.

If you have a playing partner and they hit a good shot, you can take a little more risk for your team to try and benefit your score.

If your partner doesn’t hit a great shot, your team should play it safe to keep your score low.

Importance of Consistency

Golf is all about consistency. This is why the best players in the world practice for many hours a day. Once you have a consistent golf game, you can score better and have a better time overall.

Being consistent in a game of Nassau is very important as you have an end goal to win the pot of money.

Adapting to Pressure Situations

An added element of pressure with money involved is huge in the game of Nassau. Adapting to these pressure situations is what will help you be successful.

This could be by draining a huge putt to win the hole in two-person teams.

Or to tie the hole.

There are so many scenarios that can happen during this game. If you learn to embrace this, you will become a better golfer.

Making Intelligent Bets

Unless you are a big gambler or have big pockets, keeping your bets small will ensure you still have fun on the golf course even if you lose the game. This also applies to pressing the bet if you are losing.

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be worried or mad about the money you are losing on the course.

golf ball on green

Why You Should Try the Nassau Golf Game

The Competitive Element of Nassau

Nassau is a nice change from regular stroke play because it does provide a competitive element. You are trying to golf to beat your opponent for money as best as possible.

This is a fun way for friends to golf against each other and will provide a great game. A vast majority of golfers will like to play Nassau every once in a while.

How Nassau Enhances Your Golf Skills

Nassau can enhance your golf skills because it shows your ability to play under pressure. This can significantly help in future competitions, increasing your ability to play against other players and perform.

Nassau is also a great way to get out onto the golf course and have a good time. Golfing more will help you with your consistency.

Commons Mistakes in Playing Nassau

Overly Aggressive Play

One of the most common mistakes while playing Nassau is being too aggressive on the golf course. Depending on your playing format, you must decide when to take risks on a hole and when to play it safe.

Being too aggressive can lead to trouble and leave you with big numbers on your scorecard, which will only help your opponent.

Poor Bet Management

You should establish the bet amounts for each tournament before starting your game. Also, if you are the losing party at any point, you want to ensure you are being smart with your bet management.

Much like gambling, you may think if you keep betting, you will eventually win. You may think you will win if you lose and keep pressing the bet in Nassau.

This can end up losing you a lot of money, and it is best to cut your losses before trying to do this.

Not Establishing Handicaps

As golfers have a wide range of skills, it is essential to establish your handicaps before playing a game of Nassau. If two players play a stroke or match against one another, you must establish the handicaps to even up the competition.

For example, if one golfer has a five handicap and one has a 14, it is safe to say the five-handicap golfer will win almost every hole and the total match.

You can even up the scoring by allowing a higher handicap to remove a stroke on the course’s hardest holes. Just make sure to agree on these extra rules before you start your round.

golf ball on iron club

Making the Most of Your Nassau Game

Essential Skills for Nassau

There aren’t any essential skills you need to know besides your golf skill for Nassau. Outside of wagering for a bit of money, Nassau is hitting the course for a regular stroke-play game. You try and score your best and hope you do better than your playing partners.

If playing a format other than stroke play, you need your golf skill to try and win the hole.

How to Practice for Nassau

A great way to practice for a game of Nassau is to know the golf course you are playing. Knowing where hazards are and where the best spots on the course are to hit the ball are very important as they will give you a leg up on your competition.

This will help encourage future competitions also.

Nassau Etiquette

Being a Good Sport in Nassau

Playing a game of Nassau is still just a regular golf game. As long as you have the rules and prize money determined before the round, there should be no hatred during and after the game.

Getting out for a round of golf is always a great way to enjoy the weather, exercise, and have a great time with friends.

Offering to play Nassau with strangers is also an excellent way to break the ice and have some extra fun while out on the course. If playing with strangers, you are better off having small bet amounts, but it’s up to you.

Managing Pace of Play in Nassau

Golf courses are still very strict with their pace of play. It is important to remember this before you plan your Nassau game. You can play a four-person scramble or best ball, but you want to ensure you are using your time effectively hitting shots.

It is also essential to have your bet amount pre-determined. If you press the bet, let your playing partner know quickly to ensure the game runs smoothly.

Nassau Golf Game Video

Want to see Nassau in more detail? Check out this video!

Golf Betting Game - How to play Nassau - Country Club Games presented by Turtle Golf

Why I Love the Game of Nassau

I love the game of Nassau because it adds a fun element to the game of golf. It provides excellent competition, and the rules for it are very open. You can play many different formats with as few as two players and as many as four.

Golf on its own is great, but when small wagers are involved, especially with a group of friends, that can make the game even more fun. This is the case with Nassau, and we highly recommend trying it out next time you’re on the golf course!

Frequently Asked Questions about Nassau (FAQs)

How are bets determined in Nassau?

Bets are agreed upon by the playing parties before the round starts. The most common Nassau bet is the $2-$2-$2.

What is a “Press Bet” in Nassau?

The losing party makes a press bet at any time. A press bet runs along with the original bet, allowing the losing party to try and minimize their loss.

How do you handle ties in Nassau?

If you are playing match play and a hole is tied, it is a push and move to the next hole. If you are playing stroke play and tie, you must decide how to handle it. This includes whoever wins more greens in regulation or has more birdies during the round, but it can be many other things.

Can Nassau be played with more than two players?

Yes, Nassau can be played with as little as two players and up to four players.

What happens if a player withdraws during a match?

If a player withdraws, you will end the game without exchanging money.

How do handicaps work in Nassau?

Take the difference between the two players’ handicaps and subtract them. Whatever the number is, the higher handicap player gets a stroke on that numbered handicap hole, according to the course rankings. This ensures an equal playing field.

Ryan William
Ryan William

With over 25 years hands-on experience in the golfing world, Ryan is not just an avid golfer but a topical authority. His journey has had him delve deep into the nuances of the sport, from mastering the swing to understanding new golf technology. As an entrepreneur, Ryan is at the forefront of the latest golf trends, reviewing all new clubs, accessories, and training aids. His insights and expertise are backed by a prolific writing career, with over 1000 articles published across various platforms. Ryan's commitment is clear: to guide and inform the golf community with unparalleled knowledge and passion.

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