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How to Play

What is a Nassau game in golf?

Rules and how to play the golf game Nassau.





2 or 4


Individual or Team

Nassau is a variation of Match Play where two sides compete in two 9-hole and one 18-hole match simultaneously, typically for money. The appeal of Nassau is that there is always something to play for on the back nine, even if one team accumulated a large lead on the front nine.

How do you play nassau?

  1. Familiarize yourself with match play: Nassau consists of multiple matches. Go here to learn about basic match play.

  2. Establish the participants: Nassau is typically played one-on-one or in two teams of two.

  3. Set the stakes: A game of nassau consists of a front nine match, back nine match, and overall match. Each match will typically have a wager value, for instance $10 for the front and back, and $25 for the overall match.

  4. Calculate playing handicaps: In the most common nassau formats, playing handicaps are calculated for each individual. To calculate an individual playing handicap, subtract the low course handicap of the group from each other player. The result is the player's playing handicap, used to determine on which holes the player receives a stroke. 

  5. Win the hole: To win a hole in nassau, a golfer or team must have the lowest score among all players on that particular hole. If there is a tie, each player or team is awarded a half point for the hole. 

  6. Keeping score: The score of each match within a nassau should be kept by both sides, and is stated as the number of points the side is "up" or "down" by at any point in the match. For instance, if Side A wins the first hole of a match versus Side B, the score of the match for Side A would be "Up 1" and "Down 1" for Side B.

  7. Winning a match: Once a player or team has gained a lead that exceeds the number of remaining holes, that match is over. The final "score" of the match is determined by how many points the winning side has, and the point at which the match ended. For a match where Side A is leading by 3 with only 2 holes remaining, the final score would be "3&2". When the match ends after the 18th hole and there are no holes remaining, the final score is simply the size of the lead. For instance, if Side A has a 1 hole lead after 18 holes, the final score would be "1 Up".

  8. Settle up: The overall winner of nassau is typically determine by which side won the most money. Depending on the wagers set for the front, back, and overall matches, this can differ. 

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