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Leaderboard Golf Games: How to play Nines

How to play Nines game

How to play Nines game

By Liam Driscoll. Follow Liam on Twitter.

Is golf a sport or a game? Lucky for you, that age-old question is inconsequential to your enjoying a day on the course. That, much like life, is often determined by who you surround yourself with, your outlook, and what you do to keep it interesting. 

Golf, like many other recreational activities, provides the opportunity to engage in some friendly competition outside of the standard, by-the-book format. While basketball’s HORSE or dart’s 501 might be difficult to replicate on the links, there are a variety of games people set up to keep it interesting and break away from the norm. 

One of the games you’ll find on the Leaderboard Golf App, and one of my personal favorites, is Nines. I’m lucky enough to play with my brother and my dad somewhat regularly. My brother has two kids under three, so the stipulation is we're often playing as the first group of the day, and doing so without a fourth. Enter Nines. 

I play a lot more than my brother and dad, and have been playing for longer (thanks Mom!). In other words, I’m much better than they are. Nines is one of the best games for three players. It does a great job of involving all players throughout the duration of play while balancing skill levels given the scoring methodology. 

The game works as follows:

Every hole, 9 points are up for grabs. Additionally, for each hole, there are four possible outcomes. The outcomes are listed below, along with their associated point distribution.

Outcome 1: All players tie on the hole. 3-3-3.

Outcome 2: One player wins the hole, the others tie. 5-2-2.

Outcome 3: Two players tie for the best score on the hole, the third player comes in third. 4-4-1.

Outcome 4: Players finish first, second, and third. 5-3-1.

Outcome 5 (fun variant): One player beats the others by at least two net strokes and earns all 9 points.

At the end of the round, the player with the most points wins. The outcomes on the hole can be straight up (gross scoring) or handicaps can be applied for net scoring. I prefer the latter as it allows my brother, dad, and I to keep a competitive game since our handicaps are 20, 25, and 5, respectively. 

If you’re like some golfers that enjoy a bit of action on your games, Nines works for that, too. Prior to teeing off, players agree to a set monetary value per point. At the end of the round, the losers pay that amount per point difference to the winner. 

Nines on Leaderboard: Now if you’ve played games out on the golf course before, you know that there is always someone destined to do the heavy lifting in maintaining scores, handicaps, and payouts. In truth, it is a herculean task. Between losing scorecards, a few beers in the sun, and the simple (read: painfully arduous) addition required, it’s an annoying and thankless job.

Leaderboard automates the menial tasks associated with this maintenance of the game. The app distributes points for the game, factors in handicaps and strokes given per hole, and lets you know how to settle up in the fewest number of transactions.

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