This clever money game lets you take strokes where you most need them

January 24, 2020


Not all money games demand that you play great golf for 18 holes, some just require that you play smart golf. Such is the case with this week’s featured game, Bisque, which rewards a well-conceived strategy above all else. Bisque allows you to get creative with when and how you use your allotted strokes: frontload them with the hopes of opening up a commanding lead, backload them to help you mount a late charge or employ them on the holes that you think will give you the most trouble.

Options abound! Here’s how the game works:

The Rules

1) Announce Your Handicaps

Everyone should have a USGA certified GHIN handicap. An accurate handicap is crucial to the game’s scoring (we’re looking at you, sandbaggers).

2) Pick Your Teams

Foursomes should be divided into two teams of two. It’s not required, but if the gap between the low- and high-handicappers in the foursome is significant, it’s recommended to structure teams so each side has one low- and one high-handicapper.

3) Determine strokes

By now, you should be ready to tee off. All that’s left to do is communicate with the remaining members of your foursome how many strokes your handicap dictates you receive. This is an important number to keep in mind because your strokes determine the outcome of your game even more so than in traditional match play.

4) Start Playing

Here’s what makes Bisque different from other golf games: Players can pick on which holes to use their handicap strokes. Instead of being required to use their strokes on the hardest holes on the course (i.e., a 5 handicap getting a stroke on each of the five hardest holes), they can choose to use all of their strokes as they see fit.

For example, perhaps you, a 10-handicap, feel extremely confident on the easiest hole on the course. Under normal handicap rules, you’d have to hope your confidence would translate into a birdie or par, beating out your other competitors with a lower natural score. Under Bisque rules, you can choose to use one of your strokes and would then be given a shot on the hole, regardless of its handicap rating.

5) The Catches

You can only use one stroke per hole (no half-strokes, either), and you must announce you’re using a stroke BEFORE you tee off on a particular hole. Also, you can’t use any more than the number of strokes you’re allotted. That means if you’re a 7-handicap, once you’ve used your seven strokes, you’re done taking strokes and have to play the remainder of the round posting your natural score on every hole.


Bisque is one of the great equalizers, as far as golf games are concerned. It’s a game you can play with any number of people, of any skill level, at any time on a golf course. The only common thread everyone must have is a handicap (and even then, if your playing partners are lenient enough, you might be able to get away with estimating your handicap).

If you’re out on the course with your buddies and you’re looking for a way to add some competitive fire to the fray, you can’t do much better than Bisque.

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