Ladder Golf


Step-by-step instructions on how to make your own ladder golf set!

How to play Ladder golf

Ladder golf how to play

Kids these days are spending each second of their free time playing computer games or surfing the internet. The times when they were spending the whole day outside playing are behind us, and it’s not a lot different when it comes to adults either. They would rather spend their time lying on the couch, watching that important game on TV, then come out and enjoy fresh air, while spending quality time with their family and friends.

The key might be in the fact that no activity is engaging enough to entice them to come out of their houses. Today, when you can choose from numerous stuff to do on the internet, you need to think of creative ways to force people to spend time outdoors. The good news is there are people who work on new ideas and interesting games that will not only take you out on fresh air but reconnect you with your family and friends. One of such activities, guaranteed to give you lots of laughs and loads of fun, is ladder golf.


Although ladder golf is accepted as somewhat of an official name for the game, there are many ways people call this game. One of them is redneck golf game, and there is also hillbilly golf, both of which due to the fact that the game is intended to play in the yards and is not near as expensive to play as the real golf is. It doesn’t need a big pitch, your backyard is more than enough for setting up this game, and you don’t even have to buy an official set, you can make a hillbilly golf set yourself, something you can learn out of the manuals you can easily find browsing the web.

Ladder golf has the golf word in its name, but it doesn’t have much in common with the real golf. Apart from being a lot cheaper than the ‘real’ thing, you are not using golf clubs, but you play with bolas instead, and your goal is not to get a bola into the hole but to toss it on one of the ladder steps. This is why this game is also called ladder toss game, but the funniest of all the synonyms for ladder golf is – testicle toss. Once you see a picture of a bola that you throw on the ladder in this game, it will be perfectly clear to you where this name came from. Whatever you call ladder golf, one thing is for sure – it is amazing family fun. If we got you interested, let’s see how to setup ladder golf.


Ladder golf setup

Firstly, you will need a ladder with three steps, which will practically be something of a goal-line when you start playing.  You will play with bolas, which is a name for two small balls (golf balls or similar to golf balls) attached by a string. The goal of the game is to throw bolas and hang them on one of the steps of the ladder, for which you get some points, depending on the step which you managed to hang the bola on. We strongly suggest that you don’t choose lighter materials if you go with making the ladder yourself because the bolas have a certain weight and can knock off your ladder, which would stop you from enjoying the game properly. Also, you don’t want to risk the wind knocking off your ladder, so it is best to go with PVC pipe material or some kind of wood. As for bolas, you will need two golf balls and some rope or a string for some bola. You can use nylon rope, for example, as it will do the job expected from it. First drill a hole in the center of each golf ball and put the rope through both balls. You need to make sure there is a certain distance between balls before tying both rope ends. This is how you make one bola, but keep in mind you will need three bolas for each player in every round, so you will have to make at least six bolas.

Once you have the ladder set up, and the bolas prepared, you should move away 15 feet from the ladder. Actually, this is the official ladder ball distance from the toss line, but feel free to decide on your own. Players usually agree on moving 5 paces away from the ladder and throw bolas from there. Either way, just make sure you don’t cheat, because we are trying to nurture fair-play and no hard feelings in this game. OK, it seems that we have everything ready before we begin playing, let’s look at the rules.

Ladder Ball Rules

Ladder Ball Rules

Although you can play yourself for practicing, keep in mind that Ladder golf is a multiplayer game, therefore, you will need at least two players. If there are more players, and up to six is the recommended number of people to play this game at once, you can split into teams, which is a certain way to make this game even more interesting. The first thing you need to decide is who will get to play first. In the nature of fair-play, the ideal way is to let a coin toss decide this, just like they do it in soccer, tennis, and some other sports.

Ladder golf is played in rounds. For each round, a player gets 3 bolas to throw onto the goal-line ladder, with the goal of hitting any of the ladder steps and hanging his bolas on them. You win points depending on the ladder step you managed to hang your bolas on, and the first player or the first team to scrape 21 points secure the win. Here lies another catch. Similar to blackjack, you need to have exactly 21 points, not a lower and not a higher number. If you go over that number you are returned to the number of points you won until that round. You’re not a safe winner even if you get to 21 points, not unless you are the last player to play in that round. The players that play after the guy who reaches 21 points have the possibility of taking the game into the overtime. All they have to do is to tie the score of 21 in that round, otherwise, it’s all over.

In the case of overtime, the game is continued for as many rounds as it is needed for one of the players to acquire at least two points of advantage. One point is not enough, and this rule only applies in the overtime, not during the regular rounds. Now, let’s move on to see how you win points.


So, we already determined that the goal of the game is to throw your bolas on one of three ladder steps.  When it comes to scoring, a number of points each player has won in a particular round is calculated only when all participating teams have finished tossing their bolas on the steps of the ladder. There’s a reason for this, too. A player that plays first might not be in the advantage here since there is a possibility for players who play after him to knock his bolas of the ladder steps. For example, if a first player hangs his bola on one of the steps and the following player knocks it off during the same round, the first player doesn’t get any points, even though he has successfully hung his bolas on the steps during his move.

As for the number of points you get once your bolas survive and still hang on the ladder steps when the round is done, it is calculated as following:

  • The highest of the three ladder steps is worth 3 points, which is the best result you can achieve when throwing a single bola;
  • The middle ladder step is worth 2 points;
  • The lowest of three ladder steps is worth 1 point;

You can see from this that the best thing is to aim for the highest step. However, there are bonuses you can strive for and throw in order to get them. Three different bonuses can be achieved in a single round of playing ladder golf:

  • If you manage to hang all three bolas on one of the bottom two steps, you get 3 points. So, in order to achieve this bonus, you will need to throw all three bolas onto the middle step, or all three bolas onto the lowest step, you can’t mix them up;
  • If you manage to hang one bola on each of the three steps, you also get three points;
  • If you manage to hang all three bolas on the highest step, you will get a bonus of 10 points;

As you can see, when you include the bonuses, this game gets very exciting and the result can easily change, so there is practically no advantage a player or a team can have that make them a certain winner. With a couple of good moves, everything can change and you can come in front of your opponent.

This uncertainty is what makes ladder golf game extremely enticing and, once you try it, you will develop a competitive spirit and a friendly rivalry with your families or neighbors. Not long will go by, and you will realize that you’ve been spending afternoons playing ladder golf, laughing together and connecting, and that’s the kind of social life and fun you have been missing while spending all that time by your computer. So, go out, get yourself a hillbilly golf set, and start enjoying this redneck golf game with your friends! Oh, but first, look at this couple of tips, it might help you win.


  • Make sounds to distract your rivals. One of the things that might spice up your game of testicle toss (apart from calling the game like this) is the possibility of talking and moving in order to ruin the focus other players will want to have when they are playing. It’s your choice how far you’re going to go, you can simply make some sounds or move near your opponent, fake farting sounds for instance, or even trash-talking him (but don’t go too far, please, we want to keep it fair-play). Oh, and the important thing is that you absolutely cannot touch him or walk up to the ladder before the round is ended.
  • Try to knock off your opponent’s bolas when it’s your turn to play. There are various tactics for playing ladder golf, and one of them is the defensive one. In it, you are primarily focused on knocking off other players’ bolas, and only then on getting points for yourself. You can use the possibility of hitting other bolas and taking away the points your rivals should have won. This might be a good tactic to use when you are trailing, and you want to make sure your opponent will not make any points. Of course, this is an extremely important and a suggested move to play when the opponent who played before you managed to achieve some kind of a bonus, especially the biggest one, as it can lead to a big advantage for him. Don’t hesitate, just knock his balls of the ladder, it might not be all that fair, but hey, it’s still a legal move.