Ladder Golf Scoring and Rules

If you look on the internet, you'll find many different rules for the game.  So it was determined by many people I know who have the game that the rules are determined by the owner of the game. There are "official" rules on some sites, but since I own my game, these rules are my official rules and are what we go by. So if something comes up not covered in the rules, ask the owner to resolve the issue.  Their word is final.

We have played with up to 4 teams. The scoring gets a little confusing, but it's fun.
A team consists of 1 or 2 people.  If there is only 1 person per team, then the teams have to move from ladder to ladder after each round - assuming that there are 2 ladders. If there are 2 people on each team, then 1 of each team will be at one ladder and the other team member will be at the other ladder.

When the bolas are thrown, the teams will alternate. That is, one team will throw a bola, then the next team throws theirs, etc until all the teams have thrown 1 bola and then they do it again until all the bolas are thrown.

The idea of the game is for one team to reach the score of exactly 21 before the other team(s) does. 

  • The ladders are placed 25 feet apart . To make the distance consistent each time, I made a rope with a loop in each end that goes over one of the legs on each ladder. 
  • Each team will have 5 bolas of the same color.
  • To begin the game, determine the initial order to toss the bolas (this is only for the first round). .
    Thereafter, the order is determined by the team that made the most points (positive or negative). They will go first, the team with the next most points goes next etc. 
  • The score for each round is not counted until the round is over.
  • In order for a bola to be counted, a ball must be on each side of the ladder rung and the rope must be over the rung.  (if it's hung on a score  tee, the tee can be removed to see if it will hang over the rung)
  • You can have as many teams as desired. We've played with up to 4 teams with no problems. 
  • The top rung is worth 3 points, the middle rung is 2 points, and the bottom rung is worth 1 point.
  • If all teams have a bola on the same rung, they cancel each other out. Example: if the game is with 2 teams and they both get a bola on the top rung, then only those 2 bolas score nothing.  If there are 3 or 4 teams, then in order to be canceled out there has to be a bola from each team on the same rung.  Then only those bolas score nothing for that round.
  • The game is to 21 points and it must be won exactly.  If a team gets more than 21 points, then all of that teams points for that round are subtracted from the current score of that team. 
  • In order to win, a team must be the only team to score exactly 21 points at the end of a round.
    • If 2 (or more) teams get 21 at the end of the same round then they will have a play-off between them.  The other teams that did not have 21 points are dropped out.  The winner of the play-off is the one that is at least 3 points ahead of the other team(s) at the end of a round.
  • If you throw a bola and it bounces back more than half way (between the ladders) then you are allowed to throw it again - but you don't have to.
  • Each team must throw all of their bolas. You don't have to try to make it on the ladder,  however, they have to be thrown (tossed) toward the ladder.

Rule Variations

These are variations to the above rules that are from friends that have played the game or from other on-line users.

Scoring Variations:

  • Make the top rung 1 point, the middle rung 2 points and the bottom rung 3 points.
  • If all of the bolas from one team land on the same rung during one round, they get an extra point.
  • If a player gets a bola on each rung in the same round, they get an extra point.
  • If the score of a team would be more that 21 points at the end of a round, just don't count the points made in that round (instead of counting the points negative).
  • In case of a tie where 2 or more teams get 21 points during the same round, during the play-off, a team only needs to be 2 points ahead of the other team(s) to win (instead of 3 points).

Other Rule Variations

  • Use only 3 bola's per team.
  • Measure out the distance between ladders as 5 paces instead of 25 feet.
  • When throwing the bolas, each member throws all of their bolas before the next person throws theirs – instead of taking turns throwing one at a time.
  • Try ladder golf at night.  This adds a new challenge to the game as you may not be able to see all the ladder rungs all the time.  If you only have one bright color rung (like white) you may have "guess" in throwing the bola at the other rungs.
  • To make the game go faster, throw 2 or 3 bolas at the same time – in any order you wish.  This takes a little practice, but it is a different challenge.  Scoring would be the same as normal.
  • As stated on the website, make the bolas using tennis balls instead of golf balls.  With tennis balls, young children can play the game without hurting themselves.