Golf School

Golf games, drills, terms, rules, bets, jokes and other useful information to increase your enjoyment of golf.

Game of Dots

Dots: How to Play It and Betting Tips to Win Big

Ever wish your birdies could be rewarded? Or perhaps you think that impossible up-and-down from a short-sided bunker you just made deserves a little monetary compensation? Well, you’re in luck, because the golf betting game Dots does just that. Dots is a great game to play with golfers of all skill levels because it “rewards” all types of shots and scores, from the good (birdie), to the bad (three-putts), to the downright ugly (shanks). OK, here’s how to play.

How to Play Dots

Dots, sometimes known as “garbage” or “junk,” is a collection of small bets in one giant golf betting game. The first order of business in playing Dots is to determine, and agree upon, all the side bets that your group will be tracking. To make sure the game rewards good shots and penalizes mistakes, we suggest having a collection of “positive” achievements and “negative” failures.

Here are some classic examples for positive points:

  • hole-in-one
  • eagle
  • birdie
  • longest drive (can be on every hole or a designated hole)
  • longest one-putt
  • closest to the pin (on every hole or just the par-3s)
  • hitting the fairway
  • green in regulation (“greenies”)
  • chipping in (“chippies”)
  • up-and-down from the bunker (“sandies”)
  • hit a tree and still make par (“barkies”)
  • hit a shot in the water and still make par (“sharkies”)
  • make par after a horrendous tee shot (“scruffies”)

Here are some common examples for negative points:

  • three-putt
  • four-putt
  • bogey
  • double-bogey (or worse)
  • hit a ball into the bunker
  • hit a ball into the water
  • hit a ball out of bounds
  • top a tee shot (“toppies”)
  • duff a shot (“duffies”)
  • shank a shot (“shankies”)

And then there are some more colorful bets that you can include:

  • making a par from a fairway bunker is called a “super sandie” (worth double points)
  • calling an up-and-down from off the green is called a “Murphy” and is worth two points; a failed Murphy deducts two points.
  • sinking a putt longer than the flagstick is called a “flaggie,” and rolling in a putt longer than 50 feet is called a “super flaggie” (worth three points)
  • mishitting a ball in the bunker so it ends up back in the bunker is called a “mole” (costs a points)
  • Hitting a ball out of bounds and still making par is called a “Platypus”, because platypuses aren’t normal and neither is making par after hitting one O.B.
  • making a par on a par-4 or par-5 without hitting the fairway or the green in regulation is called an “Arnie.”
  • making par on a par-4 or par-5 while hitting the fairway and the green in regulation is called a “Hogan.”
  • making birdie on a par-4 or par-5 while hitting the fairway and the green in regulation is called a “Jones.”

Golfers can decide on the first tee to play “Legends,” which is a Dots match comprising of Arnie, Hogan and Jones.

How to Score Dots

Once players agree upon which bets will be in play, the round commences. Just about any scoring format works in Dots, so long as each golfer plays his or her own ball. You can even play Dots in a 2-vs-2 team game. Each player is responsible for keeping track of his or her points throughout the round. Here’s a quick tip, count the positive and negative points after each hole to make sure you don’t miss any. At the end of the round, each golfer tallies up his or her point totals and the differences are paid out.

Cash Bet

Golf Betting Tips for Dots

The first golf betting tip for Dots is to remember that the more side bets that are in play, the more your group has to keep track of. If your group is trustworthy enough to track dozens of bets, then put as many of them in play as you can. Better yet, use the 18Birdies App to do all the hard work for you!

The second betting tip is to include additional side bets to up the ante. For example, on a par-3, whoever gets closest to the pin can double their points if they sink the birdie putt. Or if a player hits their golf ball into the woods, award them triple the points if they call their recovery shot and actually pull it off. The betting possibilities are endless, so have fun with it!

One final golf betting tip for Dots is to know your limitations. Don’t go after positive points that you know you can’t achieve. For example, if you’re not the longest hitter in the group, don’t swing out of your shoes just to try and win that point. You might end up opening a whole new can of worms.