Wolf Golf Betting Game: How to Play and Win

by Andrew Pritchard

The Origins of the Golf Game Wolf

The origins of the golf betting game Wolf are as mysterious as the woodland creature itself … no one really knows. A society of die-hard Wolf fanatics – dubbed the Weekday Wolves Golf Club – formed in 2003, but they aren’t credited with creating the betting game. Regardless of who was responsible for forming the rules of Wolf, this fun betting game is definitely one you and your golf buddies need to try.

How to Play Wolf

A classic betting game played in a foursome, Wolf is all about strategy. Before play starts, players must determine a permanent driving order. No honors here. If Player A tees off on hole 1, they will tee off on holes 5, 9, and 13. Likewise, if Player B tees off on hole 2, they will tee off on holes 6, 10, 14. See the pattern here?

The Wolf always plays first then watches the other shots. After each drive, the Wolf must decide immediately if he or she wants to partner with that golfer to create a 2-vs-2 game or if the Wolf doesn’t like any of the drives, they can choose to play their own shot and compete against the other three, creating a 1-vs-3 game.

Feeling lucky? In this fun betting game, declaring yourself a Lone Wolf before anyone tees off gives you the chance to win triple creating a 1-vs-3 match from the start. Just make sure you don’t shank one into the trees because it can also cost you triple.

In all scenarios, each hole is either contested in a 2-vs-2 or 1-vs-3 match.

How to Score Wolf

Download the 18Birdies App and we’ll score the match without working a single brain cell! Tech-phobic golfers, please give the most responsible person in your foursome the good old-fashioned paper scorecard to track the bets.

In Wolf, players set a price value for each point, typically $1 per point, but feel free to raise the stakes. The winner of each hole is determined via better ball. For example, if Player A and B are partners in a 2-vs-2 match and Player A makes a 5 and Player B makes a 4, their team score for the hole is a 4.

The point break down is:

  • In a 2-vs-2 match, the winning side gets 1 point per player
  • In a 1-vs-3 match, the winning side gets 2 points per player (the Wolf wins double)
  • In a Lone Wolf 1-vs-3 match, the winning side gets 3 points (the Lone Wolf wins triple)

If the hole is tied it’s considered a wash and no points carry over. So, no lay ups in Wolf, go for broke, ahem, well you know what we mean.

At the end of the round, the points are totaled and the differences are paid out. If Player A ends up with 40 points and Player B has 30 points, Player A gets $10.

Leftovers in Wolf

Four players teeing off on set holes means two holes (Nos. 17 and 18) are leftover without a designated driver. So who should tee off first? Well, the answer is really up to you, but typically the final two holes are reserved for the golfer in last place to be the Wolf. It’s a generous way of giving them a chance to get some last-minute, much-needed points.

Divorcing the Wolf

This isn’t a set rule in Wolf, but it’s a fun one to add. The divorce rule gives the player selected by the Wolf the option to divorce the team; meaning they would rather go it alone than partner with the Wolf. When a divorce is called, the hole is set as a 1-vs-3 match and double points are on the line.

Betting Tips to Win Big in Wolf

Wolf is a game of self-confidence as much as it is a game of strategy. The biggest winners in Wolf are usually the ones who take the most risk and go it alone as often as possible. A good betting tip: if you’re the first to tee off on a par 3, go all Big Bad Wolf on your partners and declare yourself the Lone Wolf before teeing off. You’ve got just as good a chance to hit it close and make a birdie as your opponents because you’re all teeing off from the same spot. So why not go big?

Another golf betting tip for Wolf is to be aware of which player “strokes” on the hole when you are the Wolf. Because Wolf is played using full handicaps, partnering with a player who gets a stroke on a hole is an easy way to earn points. On the flip side, if you’re the Wolf and you hit a crappy tee shot (and the divorce rule isn’t in play), you can pick a player who has a lot of points to sabotage their chances of winning the hole and growing their lead.

Whichever strategies you choose to employ, just let loose and have some fun.

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