Banker Golf Game

How to Play Banker in Golf: The Banker Golf Betting Game 101

Are you looking for a fun new way to gamble on the course and introduce a new game to your playing partners? If so, you’ll love the banker golf betting game. 

As you know, there are no shortage of ways to make a round of golf interesting. You can choose match play vs. stroke play, skins, Nassau, and tons of other games to spice up a normal round of golf.

One of my favorite games I’ve been playing recently is banker as it’s fun, easy to play, and works with all types of golfers. Keep reading for the details and how you can incorporate this format into your weekly games. 

Banker Golf Betting Game 

Key Takeaways

  • Banker is a golf betting game that can be played with at least three players. There is a minimum bet on each hole and the banker on each hole determines the maximum amount. 
  • Each player competes against the banker (which changes on each hole) in a 1 vs. 1 format. 
  • This game can be played with gross or net scoring and works with golfers of all skill levels. 
  • Every hole is a new game, so you can play this even if you’re only getting in nine holes or can’t complete 18 due to darkness. 
  • Presses are allowed, which makes things very interesting (and sometimes expensive). 

Let’s get into the basics of this format to determine if it will work for your regular group of playing partners. 

How Banker Works in Golf 

The first thing to note is that every hole is a new game in itself. Unlike the Nassau golf game which is front, back, and total score, this game is more hole dependent. 

First, a minimum bet is established before teeing off on the first hole. While the maximum bet amount for each hole is determined by the person that is considered the banker – which changes every hole. Also, if you struggle with first tee jitters, make sure to check out our guide here to overcome nerves quickly.

So, who is the banker on the hole?

The banker is the golfer who holed out first on the previous hole with the lowest score. For example, if player A and player C both make par on the previous hole but player A makes the par putt first, they’re the banker on the next hole. 

How to Play Banker in Golf

Each player in the group competes against the banker in a 1 vs. 1 format on the hole. This is not a team game like Wolf and other common gambling games

The banker is the last person to tee off on the hole which has its pros and cons. Teeing off last means you can learn a lot about the shot, especially when teeing off on par 3s. 

But it can also put on some extra pressure for the banker to hit a good shot if everyone else hits solid drives or approaches. 

Minimum and Maximum Bet in Banker (aka, “The Bank”) 

Let’s assume the minimum bet per hole is $5, which is established before teeing off. Then, the banker on the hole sets a maximum bet per hole. In this example, let’s assume the banker set a $20 maximum bet. 

This means that each player can compete against the banker for $5 to $20 on the hole. This is known as the bank for each hole. 

Each player in the group determines the amount of the bet before teeing off. Here’s how this might look with a foursome.

  • Minimum bet $5, maximum bet $20 
  • Player A vs. Player B = $10
  • Player A vs. Player C = $15
  • Player A vs. Player D = $5 

In this example, maybe player D is having a tough round so far or doesn’t like the specific hole they’re playing. While player C might love the hole or is playing well and feeling confident about beating player A. 

Presses 

Presses are another key part to a lot of golf gambling games and they’re also allowed in banker. What’s interesting about this format is that players can press before the banker has even hit the tee shot. 

For example, if player C drives the green on a short par, he can press the banker (player A) before he’s even teed off. Now, the $15 bet from above is now a $30 bet. Presses in banker doubles the bet. 

But then the banker has the option to press again after they hit the tee shot. However, this is where things change – if the banker wants to press back, they must press all bets. In this example that would mean doubling three bets ($5 → $10, $10→ $20, $15→$30). 

Golf Press

Additionally, par 3s have their own unique challenge. To press on a par 3, the ball must be in the air and the press isn’t doubled… it’s tripled! 

Just like a par 4 or par 5, the banker must press everyone else in the group… not just one other player. As you can imagine, par 3’s get pretty fun/entertaining/nerve wracking depending on the hole and wager amounts. 

This might feel like a lot of money compared to a $5 Nassau, but I wanted to make it simple math more than anything else. You can have minimums of .50 cents or a $1 and establish a maximum before the round as well. 

Scoring 

As mentioned above, each hole is its own competition. However, you can also allow carryovers or not, which rolls the amounts over from the previous hole if there are ties. 

Remember, The banker for the hole doesn’t rotate in a systematic order like Wolf, either. The banker may or may not change based on the lowest score of the previous hole and who made the putt first. 

So, what’s the best way to keep score? 

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen an app that’s great with this gambling game like other formats. Which means someone in the group will need to track bets during the round and tally up once the round is complete. 

FAQs

Do you have more questions about gambling and betting on the golf course? If so, keep reading through the most frequently asked questions and answers now. 

How do you play the banker game in golf?

Banker is a fun game that gets everyone in the group involved. 

Start by establishing a minimum bet for each hole (before teeing off on the first box) – this is known as the bank. Players rotate being “Banker” based on lowest score and first to hole out on the previous hole. 

The banker will determine the maximum bet amount on the hole. Each player then competes against the banker for the hole and lowest score wins. The banker is last to tee off on the hole and presses are allowed (see above for full rules on pressing). 

How do you play money per hole in golf?

This is one of the easiest ways to gamble in golf. Before teeing off, determine how much each hole is worth vs. another person or another team. Common amounts include $1, $5, $10, or even $20 per hole.

Handicaps may or may not be involved for net scoring and presses are typically allowed. This is easy to score, allows each golfer to play their own ball, and can be used with teams as well. Not to mention, you can play this game alongside other games like Skins. 

How do you play Wolf as a betting game?

Wolf is one of the most fun and popular gambling games in recent years. It is a fun way to mix up a round of stroke play and allows everyone in the group to be involved. It’s also a good mix of solo competition and potential team competition within the game as well.

Like Banker, there are some details to note and we covered all of them in a separate article. Click here to learn more about playing Wolf. 

Wolf Golf Game

What is Bingo, Bango, Bongo in golf?

This is another golf betting game and each term is awarded its own point on all 18 holes. 

The bingo point is rewarded for the person to reach the green. The bango points are awarded to the layer that is closest to the hole. While the bongo point is awarded to the first golfer to hole the shot on the hole. 

Learn more about Bingo, Bango, Bongo here. 

My Experience

Banker is a fun format but can get expensive quickly. 

I’d suggest a lower minimum bet and possibly even a maximum bet depending on your group. Otherwise, the dollar amounts might turn off some golfers who aren’t trying to lose a ton of money.

Presses are when things get very interesting, especially on par 3s. Since wagers are tripled on par 3s, it places a big priority on the shorter holes. 

Final Thoughts 

Banker allows you to mix it up and each hole has a ton of excitement. You can play it as a gross or net format and works with all types of golfers. 

Have you played Banker before?

Let us know in the comments below. 

Also, make sure to check out these related articles to learn more about betting and playing well under pressure. 

Picture of Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard

Michael is an avid golfer of 25 years who played in high school, college, and now competes in Arizona amateur events. He is a full-time writer, podcast host of Wicked Smart Golf, and mental golf coach.