Pub Golf Rules – Everything You Need to Consider for Your Event

October 11th, 2018 8:21 pm |  by David  |  Posted in Uncategorised

Over the course of this article we will introduce you to the basic pub golf rules required to run your own pub golf event.  We will also discuss scorecards, additional rules, penalties and forfeits that will make your event more interesting.

And finally, we will briefly discuss some things that you might want to consider when choosing venues for your pub golf event.

If you are new to pub golf and want to find more then read our definitive guide to the game. You can also check out our article about scorecards and pub golf costumes.

Right, before we discuss the pub golf rules, let us give you a quick overview of the recreational drinking game we call pub golf.

What is this Recreational Drinking Game Called Pub Golf?

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Fancy Dress Costume for Men: Pub golf isn’t just some drinking game. Its ‘thee’ drinking game. And, the participants are expected to attend the event in the appropriate attire. Out dress and out drink your opponents. Men’s Gear
Fancy Dress Costume for Women: The pub golfing lady prefers to wear a costume specific to her needs. There are many pre-existing costumes to choose from so make sure you out dress your opponents. Women’s Gear

First off, pub golf has absolutely nothing to do with golf. You are not required to improve your swing or break eighty to impress your friends.

Pub golf is essentially a pub crawl. However, unlike a traditional pub crawl, pub golf involves dressing up like a golfer and following a “course” of either nine or eighteen pubs. Each pub on the course has a designated drink and par. The par for each pub is the number of sips, swigs or gulps needed to finish the drink.

The aim of the event is to finish the course under par. The participant with the lowest par wins the event.

Like all good games, pub golf has a set of rules which will help you and your friends get the most out of your evening, help you identify a winner and more importantly help you identify a loser who can and should be humiliated through forfeits.

And that’s basically it. If you want to find out more you can read our definitive guide to pub golf.

Now that you know what pub golf is, or more importantly what it isn’t, lets move on to the basic pub golf rules.

The Basic Pub Golf Rules

A pub golf event consists of nine or eighteen holes. Each pub is considered a hole. Each pub has a predetermined number which represents the order they are to be visited. And, each pub must be visited in order to successfully complete the course.

A predetermined drink and par number is also designated to each pub. The par number represents how many sips/gulps it should take to complete the drink.

For example…

  • If you finish a par five drink in 5 sips/gulps you will earn a score of five which is zero or par.
  • If you finish a par five drink in 4 sips/gulps you will earn a score of 4 which is 1 under par.
  • And, if you finish a par five drink in 6 sips/gulps you will earn a score of 6 which is 1 over par.

At the end of each round (pub), you add your pub score to your total score. The goal is to end the event with a low score. The person with the lowest score wins.

A Pub Golf Scorecard Example

To reiterate this point. Lets look at an example scorecard which covers a fictitious event consisting of nine rounds.  In our fictitious event, our anonymous participant has achieved a score of 57 which is 16 over par.

Hole Pub Drink Par Score
1 The Queens Head Pint of Beer 5 3
2 The Three Bells Pint of Beer 5 4
3 The Red Lion Pint of Beer 5 4
4 The Tilted Wig Pint of Beer 5 5
5 The Mucky Duck Pint of Beer 5 5
6 The White Swan Bottled Beer 4 6
7 O’Neills Bottled Beer 4 8
8 O’Donnels Bottled Beer 4 10
9 The World’s End Pint of Beer 4 12


41 57

To recap, we covered that a course consists of nine or eighteen pubs. Each pub has a predetermined drink and par. The par represents the number of sips/gulps required to finish the drink. And, we’ve also covered the parring  mechanism that determines our participants score.

However, in order to make the course more interesting, the organiser can and should add additional pub golf rules.

What follows next, is an overview of some additional rules that can spice up the event.

Adding Additional Pub Golf Rules

As mentioned above, we have already discussed the basic rules that will get you and your friends through the course. However, nine holes is a long night out so you want to add some additional rules that will keep the game interesting and your participants on track.

Additional Rules

  • A caddy will be assigned to oversee the round. The caddy is an independent referee and does not participate in the event.
  • The caddies decision is final.
  • All players will pair up, keep each other’s scores and drink within sight of their playing partner.
  • Each round will be completed within 30 minutes.
  • The player with the lowest score at the end of a round is the winner for that round.
  • The player with the lowest score after all the rounds are complete is the event winner.
  • Water hazards: Players are not allowed to go to the toilet at any hole deemed a ‘water hazard’ Doing so will result in a penalty.
  • Bunker Hazards: If a hole is designated a bunker hazard, then an alcoholic shot is required to be taken to get out of the bunker. The shot must be downed in one.
  • Rewards & penalties are added to the score for the completed hole.
  • Any drink spilled by a person will result in a penalty to the person causing a spillage.
  • A person causing the spillage will pay for the top up or the replacement of the spilled drink.
  • A person drinking a topped up or replaced beverage due to spillage will be given extra time to complete the drink. The duration allowed will be decided by the caddy.
  • Blowing chunks, falling, or falling off one’s seat during a round is considered to be out of bounds and will result in a penalty.

Be Creative and add your own Pub Golf Rules

We’ve suggested rules for your event but part of the fun is making up your own rules. Be creative and add additional pub golf rules that are specific to your event. A word of advice, if you do add your own rules, make sure they are challenging but fun.

Now that we have discussed rules, lets move on to what happens if your participants dont follow those rules.

Adding Penalties to Your Event

As we have already discussed, pub golf has rules, and like any other game, those rules must be followed. To enforce the rules you can add penalties that will cost a participant one or more extra strokes. The penalties and their resulting strokes are predetermined, and generally consist of the following.

  • Spilling your own or another players drink costs 3 strokes.
  • Going to the bathroom on a hole designated a water hazard costs 2 strokes.
  • Failure to negotiate a bunker costs 2 strokes
  • Going out of bounds (see out of bound rules) costs 3 strokes.
  • Failing to complete a hole in the designated time costs 2 strokes.
  • Failing to complete a hole costs 3 strokes
  • Not drinking in a hole costs 4 strokes
  • Being refused a drink or being kicked of a bar costs 5 strokes
  • Not drinking with your pub golf partner costs 3 strokes
  • Arguing with the caddy costs 5 strokes
  • Cheating costs 10 strokes
  • Fighting with another player costs 20 strokes

Be Creative and Add Your Own Penalties

As with the rules, our suggestions are here to help you manage your event but part of the fun is creating penalties that are specific to your event. Penalties are also a good way to keep all the players in check.

For instance you could penalise players that are rude to bartenders, bar customers or people they past between pubs. In short, penalising bad behaviour keeps the event fun and respectful.

And that’s pretty much it for penalties. Lets move on to the fun part. Humiliating your fellow pub golf participants.

Adding Forfeits to Your Event

It’s customary for the player who comes last in the event to do a forfeit. This creates more tension and drama because no one wants to do what will most definitely be an embarrassing forfeit.

A common forfeit is for the loser to go to work/university in their pub golf outfit. No one wants to turn up to work dressed as a clown which is why this is a great forfeit and motivator for your event.

Of course, forfeits aren’t exclusively for the event loser. You can add forfeits per round. For example, the last player to finish their drink in a round could be forced to do a forfeit. Or you could add forfeits for players that skip a round, take a toilet break in a water hazard or simply for blowing chunks. The choice is yours.

One final note. It is essential that the forfeits are well documented before you begin the event. This ensures that all players are informed of the forfeits and can’t play ignorant during or after the event.

Venue Considerations

The last topic we want to cover is venues. As we have already discussed, a pub golf outing consists of nine or eighteen rounds. Each round is of course a pub. And, you may choose to make one or more of those pubs a water or bunker hazard. The latter makes the event more interesting and challenging especially for participants with weak bladders.

What we haven’t mentioned is that venues should be with in walking distance of  each other. It is essential that participants can crawl between pubs because participants will be crawling between pubs as the night unfolds.

Also, as the night progresses, no taxi is going to stop for a mob of wrecked golfers in fancy dress. Walking miles between pubs is going to kill the event and wreck your golf shoes.

Finally, its wise to map out the pubs in such a way that you visit the pubs with the most lenient door policies later in the evening. Players will be drunk and despite their best efforts, their intoxicated state will be blatantly obvious.

Have Fun, Play Hard and Stay Safe

That’s pretty much it. Have fun, play hard, be respectful of others, stay safe and make sure you don’t come last.

Don’t forget to create your scorecard and share it with your participants.

Also, make sure you beat the competition by buying the most ludicrous pub golf outfit. And finally, head over to our definitive guide which covers everything you need to know about pub golf.

Happy pub golfing.


Get the Gear and Look the Part

Nothing says professional more than a tweeded pub golfer skipping over an intoxicated opponent. If you want to look the part, you have to have the right gear. Our a handy article outlines the the best gear.

Check out the gear