There are a lot of ways to play golf with your buddies.
While most of us opt for stroke play with some side bets or other gambling games, there’s a new game taking the golf world by storm.
It’s called Wolf and it might be one of the coolest new games in golf. Keep reading to learn more about this fun golf format to make your weekend rounds 10X more exciting.
How to Play the Wolf Golf Game
So, how do you play the Wolf in golf for money?
The goal with the Wolf golf game is simple – score the most points by the end of the round.
Here’s how the game of Wolf works…
Before teeing off on the first hole (and dealing with those first tee jitters), players flip a tee or draw to determine the tee shot batting order. It’s important to note the order as it will rotate for the rest of the holes (this isn’t a “ready golf” type of day).
For example, the order is 1, 2, 3, 4 on the first hole. The next hole the tee shot order is 2, 3, 4, 1 – the person who tees off last is the Wolf of that hole. Each player will become the new Wolf once every four holes.
The final two holes – #17 & #18 – go to the two players with the most points. Once you get the order of players for the first 16 holes, here’s how scoring works.
Wolf Golf Game Rules (How to Play Wolf)
It can get confusing wondering… How do I score points? Am I on the winning side? What if the Wolf picks me as their team member?
After the first three golfers hit their tee shot, the final player (the Wolf) decides whether to add a player to their team. Or, they can decide to go solo and act as a “Lone Wolf” on the hole.
If a Wolf declares to go solo, they are confident they can beat the other three golfers. This is where things get interesting on the golf course…
The Lone Wolf has one goal for the hole – shoot the lowest score on the hole. While the remaining players use the best ball system.
Here’s how scoring works in Wolf:
- If a solo Wolf wins and beats the other three players they get 4 points.
- If the Wolf adds a player to his group and they are the winning team, each gets 2 points.
- But if the Wolf adds a player and the other team wins, they each get 3 points.
- If a Lone Wolf loses, all three players each get one point.
Once the match is over, the player with the most points wins a set amount of money. Or, golfers can play each hole for a pre-set amount of money.
For example, let’s say you bet $3 per hole. If you decide to become a Lone Wolf and win, you get $3 from everyone in the group ($9 total) aka triple the points. But if you lose, you would also have to pay each person $3 as well.
Playing on a hole-to-hole basis can add up quickly, especially for the Wolf. Ultimately, this should be discussed ahead of time to avoid any potential problems after the round.
What’s fun about this game is that there is a lot of risk-reward. Being the Lone Wolf is a good way to win big but you have to beat the other three players which isn’t easy as they’re playing a best ball format.
The format of Wolf is a little tricky at first but you can get the hang of it pretty quickly. We suggest using a golf app to make scoring easier – a good example is 18Birdies.
If you have more questions about the scoring or rules, check out the FAQs down below.
Variations of Wolf in Golf
Like any type of golf game, there is always a way to make it even more interesting. For example, a shamble is normally played with a four-person team but a Texas shamble is played with two partners. With Wolf, there are several variations as well; here are some of the most common.
The first is known as Blind Wolf. In this version of the game, the Wolf for the hole declares that he or she is going to go Lone Wolf before anyone tees off. This is very different from waiting for all players to hit their tee shots.
A second variation is called Pig (I know, a lot of animal names get thrown around). With this style, a person who gets picked to be a partner (the Pig) can choose to let the Wolf play solo. In this instance, all bets double!
A third variation is when the player in last place gets to become the Wolf on the final two holes. This gives the individual a chance to get some extra points and hopefully move up in rankings.
The final variations can come in the form of scoring. Some apps use different scoring for certain events like
- Wolf wins double
- Rewarding 6 points for a Lone Wolf win vs. 4 points
- Wolf can win triple points if he beats all other players
Strategies for Wolf Golf Game
This awesome game is referenced in the book, Chi Chi’s Games You Gotta Play. Here’s what he and the co-author said about strategy.
“Wolf strategy is as much about self-confidence as it is about faith in a partner. A good player will go it alone as often as possible, especially on par 3s and par 5s. Because this is a game played to full handicaps (3/4s or 2/3s for complete strangers), it helps to check to see who may be getting a stroke on the hole.”
FAQs About Type of Golf Games
Do you have more questions about Wolf and other types of golf games? If so, keep scrolling through the frequently asked questions below.
Who started Wolf in golf?
It’s probably best that no one knows the origins of this great golf game. But it is a newer game that a lot of people really enjoy playing as it is a great mix of team plus solo competition. Not to mention a ton of risk and reward during the round.
But it’s a topic inside Chi Chi’s Games You Gotta Play and has become a staple at courses around the country. Plus, it’s great as you can play with four or give golfers.
Do points carry over in Wolf?
It depends on the rules that the four players in your group decide. Carry overs are common and can be enabled on some apps if you use them for scoring. Or, opt for each hole to have its own score.
What happens with a tie in Wolf?
Typically, no money or points are enhanced and the hole is a wash. However, you can opt for points to carry over after ties which will make the next hole worth a lot more.
Does Wolf tee off first or last in golf?
A Wolf is always the last to tee off in the group. The Wolf rotates each of the first 16 holes based on the order of flipping tees or drawing paper before the round.
Additionally, a player can opt to become a “Blind Wolf” before everyone tees off in the group. This means you’re playing 1 vs. 3 before seeing anyone tee off. The Wolf still goes last but makes the announcement before anyone in the group lets it rip.
How is Lone Wolf golf scored?
Wolf is scored based on how the hole is played. For example, if the Wolf recruits a partner for the hole, the points are as much to either team. But if the Wolf decides to go rogue and play solo, he or she can earn a lot more points.
Scoring in the Wolf game can differ based on apps you use but make sure to clarify everything before teeing off. This will help avoid any mid-round meltdowns from players now understanding the scoring system.
How do you score a wolf in 5 players in golf?
If you have a fifth in your group (and the course actually allows it), you can adapt it for Wolf quite easily. Instead of rotating tee shots on the first 16 holes, you would play 1-15 and rotate every five holes. Going “Lone Wolf” is a big risk with fivesomes as you will have to beat the better ball of four other golfers.
Final Thoughts on Wolf Golf Betting Game
Wolf is another fun way to mix up the round with your golf buddies. It’s great because you can become a hero by going Lone Wolf and beating everyone else. Or, opt to get the help of a partner that changes throughout the round to gain the most points.
Plus, you can mix up the variations of Wolf to make it even more exciting. Make sure to hammer out the details of the round (bet amounts, how to play 17/18, etc.) so the group is on the same page.