This golf gambling game is for three players (and risk-takers) only

three golfers walking

Split Sixes is a three-player game perfect for those willing to take a chance on winning big.

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Three-player golf games are an uncommon breed, largely because three-player rounds are so uncommon. Far more frequently, golfers play alone or congregate in twos and fours, and gambling games are typically reserved for those even-numbered groups.

But if you happen to find yourself with two of your buddies on the course and a hankering for a golf gambling game, you’re in luck with this week’s selection, “Split Sixes.”

The Big Picture

Split Sixes is a golf game for three players only and is a variation of best ball. In this game, all three golfers face each other one vs. one vs. one, with the goal being to earn the most “points” on every hole. In order to earn points, golfers must score better than their opponents. At the end of the round, the point total is calculated and the winner is determined. Split Sixes is a risky game because only one golfer is guaranteed to finish the round net-positive on cash, ratcheting the pressure to perform.

The Rules

  1. Strokes: Before your round begins, figure out each player’s true handicap. Strokes are even more key in Split Sixes than in a traditional round because they directly impact point totals.
  2. Tee off: It’s time to begin your round. Play your first hole as you would normally in a best ball match. At the end of the hole, tally your scores.
  3. Scoring: Now that you’ve completed the hole, Split Sixes begins. All three players calculate their score with strokes. Using that information, each player’s point value is determined, with each hole being worth 6 points. The low scorer earns 4 points, the middle scorer earns 2, and the high scorer earns none. For example, if golfer A makes birdie, golfer B makes par and golfer C makes bogey, golfer A would earn 4 points, golfer B would earn 2 points and golfer C would 0 points.
  4. Alternatives: If two golfers tie for the low score on a hole, they split all 6 points, while the high scorer receives none. If two golfers tie for the high score on a hole, they split a point each, while the low scorer earns 4 points. If all three golfers tie, they each receive two points.
  5. Determining a Winner: At the end of the round, all four golfers tally up their points. The winner receives the sum of the point-value difference between both second and third place. The second-place finisher receives the sum of the point-value difference from third place, while the third-place finisher is forced to pay out to both the second and first place finishers.
  6. Money: $1 or more, per point. As you can imagine, a dominant performance in Split Sixes by one golfer usually puts the remaining players in a steep financial hole. At the end of your round, the gap between all three players determines whether two golfers make money or two golfers lose money.
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Why You Should Try It

Split Sixes is the perfect game for your next three-player round, so long as all three players are willing to bet big on cashing out. Even more importantly, it’s easy to keep track of your score and of your game’s standing. If you’re out with three, Split Sixes is well worth a shot.

Got an awesome golf game you want to see highlighted by us? Send your suggestions to james_colgan@golf.com.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, in addition to using his broadcast experience on various social media and video projects. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — are still defrosting from four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.