Pub Golf – The Definitive Guide to Running Your Own Event

October 21st, 2018 8:01 am |  by David  |  Posted in Uncategorised

This definitive guide to pub golf covers everything you need to know to organise and enjoy your own pub golf outing. The article covers the basic rules, the dress code, scoring, scorecards, Caddies, Par Five Holes, Water Hazards, Bunker Hazards, Out of Bounds, Your Drink List, Forfeits, Penalties and Venue considerations.

By the time you’ve read this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about pub golf, you’ll know how to create a course, a scorecard and run a fun night out on the town for you and your mates.

And, most importantly, we’ll discuss what to wear so that you and your friends look like professional pub golfers on the big night.

Grab a coffee and lets get started.

What is this Crazy Game Called Pub Golf

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.

Check Prices

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.

Check Prices

Before we begin, 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 and following a “course” of either nine or eighteen pubs also known as holes. Each pub/hole on the course has a designated drink and par. The par for each pub/hole is the number of sips/gulps needed to finish the designated drink.

The aim of the event is to finish the course under par. The participant with the lowest score wins the event. The person with the highest score is rewarded with a humiliating forfeit.

And that is basically the game in a nutshell.

However, like all good drinking games there are rules that will help you and your colleagues get the most out of your evening.

The Basic Rules of Pub Golf

Pub golf rulesWe have a more in depth article about the rules which you can read here.

The game consists of many rules and those rules can vary from event to event. But, there are some rules that ensure the event remains cohesive. And the latter is important because cohesion is a challenge as the night proceeds. Lets look at the basics.

As mentioned earlier, the game consists of nine or eighteen pubs also known as holes. To complete the event, the players must traverse the course in a predetermined order. In short, each hole is given a number from one through to nine/eighteen. To complete the course successfully, a player must visit the holes in numerical order. Failure to do so is met with a penalty, forfeit or disqualification.

Each pub/hole has a designated drink and par. In order to complete the hole on par, the player must finish the drink in a number of sips/gulps equal to the designated par. As an example, on a par three hole, a player must finish the drink in three sips/gulps. If the player requires more sips/gulps to finish the drink than the designated par then they finish above par. If they complete the drink in less sips/gulps than the designated par then they finish below par.

To reiterate this point, lets look at the scoring mechanism in more detail.

The  Pub Golf Scoring Mechanism

Lets suppose that John Doe is playing pub golf. His next pub is the Red Lion which the game organiser has designated a par three hole. And, the player must drink a pint of beer with an ABV range of 4 – 6%.

Lets look at three different outcomes.

  1. John is a beer monster and finishes the drink in 2 sips/gulps. In this scenario, John scores two points which is 1 point under par.
  2. John is pacing himself and completes the drink in 3 sips/gulps. In this scenario, John scores 3 points which is par.
  3. John is lightweight and completes the drink in 4 sips/gulps In this final scenario, John scores 4 points which is one over par.

And that is basically how scoring works for each round. The total of number of sips/gulps is the players score for that round. And, at the end of the course, the players final score is the sum of his scores for each round.

The player with the lowest score at the end of the course wins the game. And, the player with the highest score at the end of the course is the loser and must carry out a humiliating forfeit.

And that is pretty much it. Lets quickly summarise what we’ve covered.

Summary of the Basic Rules for Pub Golf

To summarise, the basic rules that are required to run a pub golf event are as follows.

  1. The course consists of nine or eighteen holes
  2. Each hole must be visited in the designated order
  3. Each player must consume the holes designated drink
  4. The players score for a hole is based on the number of sip/gulps taken to complete the drink.
  5. The players score for the course is the sum of their scores for each hole
  6. The player with the lowest score at the end of the course is the winner
  7. The player with the highest score at the end of the course is the loser.
  8. The loser must carry out a humiliating forfeit

Of course, the real fun in pub golf is adding your own rules.

Creating Additional Rules for your Pub Golf Event

In order to make the game more interesting, you can and should add some additional rules. Some additional rules should be added to keep your players on track. For instance,

  • 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.

Pairing up keeps players honest. Players are less likely to cheat if they have another player keeping score. And, the time limit ensures that non of your players get distracted and start discussing the footy or how to right the wrongs in the world.

It’s also useful to add rules that help your players deal with inevitable accidents. For example,

  • 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

There will be accidental spillages, and the clearly defined rules will help your players deal with these inevitable issues.

To help you, we have an article dedicated to the rules of the game. You can use that article to help you compile a list of rules for your event. But for clarity, here is a list of common rules that can be used for your event.

Some common rules for your pub golf event

  • 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.

Again, the above is a common list of rules that you can use for your pub golf event. However, one of joys of running your own event, is creating your own rules.

Be creative and add your own specific rules

We have suggested a list of common rules for your event but we recommend that you get creative and add your own rules that are specific too or complement the course you have laid our for your pub golf event. But, a word of advice, if you do choose to make your own rules, make sure those rules are challenging, but equally make sure they are achievable.

The last thing you want is players bailing because of difficult challenges added to the early part of the course.

Now that we have discussed rules, lets discuss the common hazards you should use in your event.

Adding Hazards to your Pub Golf Event

You can add hazards to your event to make it more interesting. The general rule is to designated several holes in your course a hazard. When players visit that a hole designated a hazard, they have to follow rules associated with that hazard.

The common hazards are Water Hazard and Bunker Hazard. Here are the rules  generally associated with both hazards.

  • 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.

You are of course free to add your own custom hazards to the game. But before we move on, don’t overdo the hazards. For instance, nobody is going to thank you if you make every hole a water hazard. Give your players a fighting chance and many toilet breaks.

Setting Course Boundaries for your Pub Golf Event

Pub golf is a challenge. It requires endurance and a decent amount of alcohol tolerance. It is very likely that some of your players will fall victim of their intoxicated state. And, as the event organiser you most definitely want to take advantage of that situation.

With that in mind, you probably want to set some course boundaries. For example if a player blows chunks or falls over due to alcohol consumption then this type of behaviour is considered out of bounds. A player that is guilty of some out of bounds behaviour will of course be penalised.

Here is an example of an out of bounds penalty.

  • Going out of bounds costs a player 3 strokes.

In this case, a player who goes out of bounds has to add an additional three points to their score in the hole where the out of bounds incident occurred.

Again, you can create your own penalty but its worth pointing out that players who go out of bounds are intoxicated. Its generally a good idea not to penalise them with more alcohol. Remember, its a game. You want every one to go home safely.

Adding Penalties to Keep Your Players in Line

Pub golf, like any other game has rules. And, like any other game those rules must be followed. To ensure that players follow the rules you can add penalties that will cost the player one or more extra strokes.

Penalties are predetermined and usually listed on the event scorecard. Here are some examples of penalties and their resulting score.

  • 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

You can see our full list of penalties here.

As is always the case, you can create your own penalties to keep your 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.

Adding Forfeits to Humiliate Your Players

In pub golf, it is customary for the player who comes last to do a forfeit. This generally involves the loser wearing their pub golf outfit to work/university. Of course, you can choose any forfeit for the loser. The key point is to ensure that a) the forfeit is humiliating and b) all players are aware of the forfeit before the game begins. That way, you increase the competition because absolutely no one wants to be humiliated.

Of course, forfeits can also be added throughout the event. For instance, you could make the last player to complete a round do a forfeit at the next hole. This will entertain the players as they progress through the course. The choice is yours.

One final note. Make sure your forfeits are well documented before the game begins. Doing so ensures that all players are informed of the forfeits and therefore can’t play ignorant during or after the event.

Some Extra Considerations for Par Five Holes

As mentioned before, each hole has a designated drink and par. For par ones through to par fours this is pretty straight forward. Complete your drink in the designated number of sips/gulps to achieve par. And, to be fair, you can do exactly the same with a par five. For example, you can choose a pint of beer with a high ABV% and drink it in five sip/gulps to achieve par.

However, par fives are often treated slightly different because a) they require more alcohol and b) are therefore more difficult to achieve. With that in mind, par fives usually require two drinks to complete. One drink to get on the green, and another to complete the putt.

For example, you could do the following.

  • Get on the green: A pint of beer with an ABV range of 4% – 6% (usually a par 3 drink).
  • Complete the putt: A double shot with an ABV range of 35% and above (usually a par 2 drink).

You can mix and match any selection of drinks to complete your par five hole. The choice is yours.

Making par fives a two drink challenge will spice up the round. You can see some of our par five suggestions here.

The Pub Golf Caddie

In case you didn’t realise, when you are on your pub golf outing, all the players including you are going to be drunk. Really drunk. Intoxicated players are not the best candidates for keeping every one in check. A they lose track of time, forget to move to the next pub and their arithmetic is somewhat sceptical. In short, your intoxicated flock will require a sober Shepard. In pub golf, the Shepard is a Caddie.

To keep your event on track, you’ll need a caddie to manage the game. The caddie doesn’t drink or participate in the event. His/her job is to manage the group, resolve any disputes and hand out penalties and forfeits. They also avoid a killer hang over the next day.

A caddies word is final. Arguing with the caddie will result in a penalty.

Finally, keeping everyone in check is a pretty difficult job. Its customary for the players to show their gratitude to the caddie by putting together a small collection in appreciation of his/her efforts.

Choosing Drinks for you Pub Golf Event

Pub golf drinksThe drinks you choose for your event is entirely up to you. A common practice is to use shots for par one and par two holes. Shots are also used for exiting bunkers or putting on a par five. Pints or bottles of beer are commonly used for higher pars and are measured by the ABV%.

For example, a pint of beer with an ABV range of 4% – 6% will be used as a par 3 drink. Whereas a pint of beer with an ABV range of 6% – 8% will be a par 4 drink.

Generally, the best practice is to add a list of drinks and their par value on the scorecard. That way, when your pub golfers are out on the course, they can refer to the scorecard rather than constantly asking the caddie. Also, having a list of drinks on the scorecard is more flexible than specify what drink should be consumed on a hole.

When listing the drinks on your scorecard, you can list them by par or better still, you can categorise them be type, and then within those categories list them be name, volume and the corresponding par value.

For example, here is an example of lagers, beers, ales and ciders.

Lagers, Beers, Ales and Ciders

The Beverage Alcohol by Volume (ABV) The Par
Pint of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 2% – 4% 2
Pint of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 4% – 6% 3
Pint of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 6% – 8% 4
Pint of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 8% and above 5
Half Pint of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 2% – 4% 1
Half Pint of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 4% – 6% 2
Half pint of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 6% and above 3
Bottle of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 2% – 4% 1
Bottle of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 4% – 6% 2
Bottle of Lager/Beer/Ale/Cider 6% and above 3

And here is an example of shots and mizers

Shots and mixers

The Beverage Alcohol by Volume (ABV) The Par
Single Shot 35% and above 1
Double Shot 35% and above 2
Triple Shot 35% and above 3
Single Shot & Mixer 35% and above 1
Double Shot & Mixer 35% and above 2
Triple Shot & Mixer 35% and above 3

You can also do something similar for wines and spritzers and of course five par combinations. For more on pub golf drinks check out our article where we’ve compiled a list of drinks and their par value.

Creating Scorecards for your Pub Golf Event

Creating your own pub golf scorecardPlaying pub golf with out a scorecard would be confusing to say the least. Therefore, its in your best interest to sort out the scorecard well before your planned outing.

You can download ready made scorecards or you can make them yourself. It’s fairly easy to create a scorecard that you can then print and distribute amongst the participants.

We have ready made templates that you can choose from. Our scorecards come with a set of rules and a list of drinks for your event. All that is left to do is to add the pubs to your nine or eighteen hole course.

You can check out our pub golf scorecards here.

What you’ll need in your custom made pub golf scorecard

If you choose to make your own scorecards, then your scorecard will need a table that contains header columns for the hole number, the par, the pub name, the drink(s) to consume, a water hazard column, a bunker hazard column and finally two extra columns for your score and your partners score. The table will look a little like the following.

Hole Par Pub Drink Water Hazard Bunker Hazard Players Score Partners Score
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Total:

On the reverse side of the sheet, or on a second sheet, there should be a list of rules that your players can refer to during the event. Adding the rules to your scorecard makes them clear from the tee off and helps the caddie run a disciplined and fair outing.

Adding drinks to your pub golf scorecard

There are two ways you can deal with the drinks on your scorecard. You can list on the scorecard which drink is to be consumed for each hole. Or, on the reverse side of the scorecard you can have a list of drinks that can be consumed for any given par.

The first approach is the simplest and most common approach. However, if you are too specific about which drink to consume, you could run into the issue where the pub doesn’t have the drink specified for that round. The second approach solves this issue and gives the players some flexibility when visiting each pub.

As mentioned earlier, listing drinks by type and then listing those drinks by name, %ABV and par value makes it easier for players to choose the appropriate drink at each hole. Again, the choice is yours.

Player and partner scores

Finally, as demonstrated in the example above. A scorecard should contain a column for the players score and their partners score. Pairing players and getting them to keep their partners score means that all players have their rounds scored twice which is beneficial. Secondly, it keeps the players honest.

Dressing for the Occasion

Of course, in order for the event to look official, it is essential that your player dress for the event. Both men and women are expected to wear the appropriate pub golfing attire. And it is customary for the players to carry the appropriate pub golfing accessories.

You can see a list of ladies outfits here. And a list of gents outfits here.

To encourage players to dress for the occasion you could offer a prize for the best dressed golfer.

Choosing your Pubs

As we have already discussed, a pub golf outing consists of nine or eighteen holes. Each hole is of course a pub. When you are planning your course, a major considerations is choosing the pubs that will make up your course.

There are two things to keep in mind when choosing your pubs.

  1. Make sure your venues are within walking distance of each other. A pub golf outing is going to get old quick, if players have to walk miles between pubs. Also, as the night progresses, no taxi is going to stop for a mob of wrecked golfers in fancy dress. With this in mind, make sure your pubs are close together. If you cant do that, then an alternative would be to hire a bus and get the Caddie to transport your players between pubs.
  2. Make sure you put pubs with lenient door policies at the end of the course. As the night progresses, your players will be drunk. And, despite their best efforts, their intoxicated state will be blatantly obvious. So, if you want your players to complete the course then make sure your final few holes are bouncer free.

If you don’t know the venues well, you can contact them and ask what their policies are with regards to groups of men/women visiting their establishment. Some pubs have a strict policy of no entry when it comes to large groups on a crawl. Its obviously better if you find that out before you reach their door.

Have Fun and Stay Safe

And that is pretty much it. Have fun, stay safe and be respectful to others. Pub golf is a drinking game but you can still be responsible. You can learn more about drinking responsibly here.

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

And make sure you beat the competition by wearing the most ludicrous outfit.

Happy pug 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