How to Play Ladder Golf
When I was a kid, we spent our summers on the beach boogey boarding, building sand castles, making sand angels, and playing frisbee and smash ball.
As an adult, I still love to spend summers by the sea, but the list of potential activities has grown exponentially. Today, beach goers still build castles (albeit with intricate buckets and gardener worthy shovels), play frisbee and smash ball, and spend time in the ocean, but they also play games like spike ball, beach bocce ball, tidal ball, beach corn hole, and, my favorite, ladder golf.
If you have never heard of ladder golf, or ladderball as it’s often called, you are definitely missing out. This game, which can be played not only at the beach but in any backyard or outdoor party, can be played by kids and adults alike and is super fun and easy.
What is Ladder Golf?
To play ladder golf, you need 2 or more players or teams. The object is to wrap one of your 3 bolas (2 golf balls attached by a nylon rope) around one of the 3 steps of the ladder.
In this game, the ladders are placed about 15 feet apart. Each player takes turns tossing bolas (two rubber balls connected by a string). Landing the bola on the top rung scores 3 points, middle rung scores 2, and bottom rung scores 1. The first player to reach exactly 21 points wins. If a player goes over 21, their points from that round don’t count and another round is played.
To play ladder golf (or ladder ball), you need a ladder ball set which consists of:
- 2 ladder golf ladders – each ladder has 3 steps 13″ apart
- 6 bolas (3 in each of 2 colors) NOTE: Additional bolas can be purchased so that multiple players on a team can play at one time.
Setting Up the Game:
Ladders are set up approximately 15 feet apart and a toss line is determined – typically this is 15 feet from the ladder but toss lines may be set up closer for children’s games. Each team gets 3 bolas (usually all one color).
Playing the Game:
Ladder golf is played in rounds, each round consisting of all players tossing 3 bolas. The players can toss a coin to determine which person/team goes first.
The players take turns tossing their bolas at the ladder. Each player tosses all 3 of his/her bolas before it is the next player’s turn. If players are playing as a team, the individual players on the team alternate rounds. Players can toss bolas any way they choose as long as they don’t cross the toss line and as the bolas don’t bounce off the ground.
The winner of each round earns the first toss in the next round.
Games are played up to an exact point total of 21. If a player scores over the exact point total, the points from that round do not count. For example, a player with 19 points needs 2 points to win. If he scores 3 points in the following round, he does not earn any of the points from that round and starts the next round with 19 points. In the case of a tie (two players with exactly 21 points at the end of a round), the players that tie will play as many overtime rounds as needed until one player ends a complete round 2 points ahead of the other player.
After all the teams have tossed all of their bolas, the score is recorded for that round. Any bolas still hanging from the steps earn points for the team. Any bolas which have been knocked off during play do not earn points for that round. A great playing strategy is to knock another player’s bolas off thus reducing his or her score for that round.
Points are determined by which step your bola is wrapped around as follows:
- Top Step = 3 points
- Middle Step = 2 points
- Bottom Step = 1 point
Bonus points can be scored when:
- All 3 bolas are hung from the same step (+1 bonus point)
- One bola is on each step (Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3) all in one round (+1 bonus point)
The highest number of points a player can score in one round is 10 (all 3 bolas on the top step).
This game is very addictive and a ton of fun. It can be played almost anywhere (outside) and with people of all ages which makes it a good game option for a wide range of events. Whether you are looking for an option for your next outdoor event or just a way to spend a day at the beach, I definitely recommend this one!