Putting Games – SNAKES and RATS

July 22, 2016

Golf can be a very relaxing game, but there are times when a little extra competition turns the round from mediocre to memorable.  There are many games out there to play, and most of them involve 2-on-2 team play.  If you find your group getting bored with that format or struggling to figure out the best teams to make, putting games can help level the playing field.  The real beauty of these mini games is twofold – your opponent can constantly change which keeps it fresh, and you don’t need to be posting great scores to win.  It doesn’t matter how many shots it takes you to get there, the games start once you are on the dance floor.

Here is our take on Snakes, a popular putting game.  Essentially, the bet here is that a player with a particularly long or winding look at the cup will three putt.  Typically, in order to challenge your opponent, their ball should actually be on the putting surface, but you can open it up to fringes if everyone agrees.  While you are still far enough away, and cannot tell how difficult or easy one’s putt may be, the first player in the group to yell “SNAKE” gets the bet.  Once the challenged player approaches their putt and sizes up the difficulty, they can take further action.  If they feel like it is an easy putt to get home in two, they can double down on the bet by stating “DOUBLE”.  In this scenario, the player who initially called “Snake” has no say in this matter.  Alternatively, if the challenged putter is feeling especially cocky, they can open the bet to the other 2 players who didn’t call “Snake”.  The other players then have the option to take the bet, as the only obligated participants are the initial caller and putter.

One thing to note – you do not need to call the Snake from 150 yards away (or wherever the shot came from).  If no one calls a Snake from the fairway, you are able to make the bet on someone else’s putt until their actual putt is hit.  There is a certain sportsmanship aspect of this, but we usually agree that you can’t call “Snake” during the backswing of the putt.  However calling a “Snake” right before a player sizes it up and addresses the ball can make for some added pressure or entertainment, like calling a time-out right before a crucial field goal.  It is all mind games.

Before the round you determine what each “Snake” is worth.  Say it is $1.  If one can successfully 2-putt, they win $1.  If it takes me 3+ putts, the person who called “Snake” wins $1.  If the putter can somehow 1-putt, they win double the initial bet($2).  If the putter who was “Snaked” had called to “Double” the challenge, the stakes mentioned above all double.  Keep track of Snakes throughout the round on the scorecard, and if it seems like totals are evening out, you can always increase the size of the bet to make things more interesting down the stretch.

Ratsis a similar concept that we created to keep the mind games going. Opposite of Snakes, this is a bet that any individual can offer up to the group, calling out “RAT” after seeing what you have left to the hole.  Say you have a 8-10 foot putt with a little break in it.  This is certainly not a gimme, but it isn’t especially daunting either.  If you are feeling particularly confident, by calling out “Rat” you are offering a bet to others that you are going to 1-putt.  The first person to accept the bet gets it.  If you make it you win, and if you miss you lose.  It’s that simple.  Sometimes Snakes don’t occur all that often during the round because players are hitting shots too close to the hole, so Rats can keep the action flowing.

The bottom line is that for both of these bets it’s every man for himself, and they are some of the funniest trash talking games we have come across.  Give them a try and let us know what you think!



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