The Origins of Nassau
The most popular of all golf betting games, Nassau, can trace its origins all the way back to 1896 when a prominent member of Nassau Country Club developed a more “gentlemanly way of playing.” Club member J. B. Coles Tappan devised a three-part scoring system allowing golfers who play poorly on the outgoing nine holes to regain their form, win the back-nine and halve the match (also known as a tie.) And with that, the ever-popular Nassau betting game was born.
How to Play Nassau
As mentioned, Nassau consists of three betting games in one. The first bet is for the front nine. The second bet is for the back-nine. The third bet is for the overall 18-hole match. Before teeing off, golfers establish a dollar amount for each bet. Nassau is sometimes referred to as “2-2-2,” “5-5-5,” or “5’s,” because common bets are $2 or $5 a match, respectively.
Here are some common examples of negative points:
Typically, Nassau is scored using match play. The player who wins the most holes on the front-nine wins the first bet and the player who wins the most holes on the back-nine wins the second bet. What makes Nassau so much fun, is that the winner of the third bet is determined by who wins the overall match. So, even if you lose 2-and-1 on the front-nine, you can come back and win 3-and-2 on the back-nine, therefore earning a 1-up overall victory and some cold-hard cash from your golf buddy.