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Best Ball

9-Point Game

The 9-Point Game is a hole-by-hole betting technique for a threesome. There are nine points to be apportioned at each hole to the players as shown:

9-Point Game Scoring
vs. opponents points earned
2 wins 5
1 win, 1 tie 4
1 win, 1 loss 3
2 ties 3
1 tie, 1 loss 2
2 losses 1

Or, illustrated another way, at each hole:

First place is worth 5 points, second place is worth 3 points, last place is worth 1 point.

If two players tie for first, they split (4 points each) the first and second place points.

If two player tie for last, they split (2 points each) the second and last place points.

If all the players tie, they split (3 points each) all the available points.

9-Point Game Scoring
place (untied) points earned
1st 5
2nd 3
3rd 1

Shown here is a scorecard for a threesome playing the 9-Point Game. Although the player's regular handicaps are shown, the game is typically handicapped off the "A" player, who plays at scratch (in this example, Dr. Beeper). The other players receive their handicap difference in strokes - the judge will receive 2 strokes, and Al will receive 7:

9-Point Game Scorecard

Scorecard for The 9-Point Game

The net competition results shows the hole-by-hole and total points earned by each player, based on their net scores. Note that there are exactly 9 points available at each hole, for a grand total of 162 points over 18 holes.

Competition Scores

9-Point Game Competition Scores

In this illustration, because Al got a stroke at the first, his net 5 and the judge's net 5 tied each other and beat Dr. Beeper's 6. The good doctor gets 1 point, Al and the judge each get 4 points.

Since the 9-Point Game is essentially a betting technique, the players decide before play what each "point" is worth, then pay (or collect from) their opponents the value of the difference in their points. In the example, if each point is worth $1, Dr. Beeper collects $1 (56 vs. 55 points) from Judge Smails and $5 (56 vs. 51 points) from Al. The judge pays Dr. Beeper $1, but collects $4 from Al. Al, the big loser, pays Doctor Beeper $5 and Judge Smails $4. We call this "Al throwing a party."

The game can be extended to groups of players beyond 3, and points increase:

16-Point Game Scoring
place (untied) points earned
1st 7
2nd 5
3rd 3
4th 1


25-Point Game Scoring
place (untied) points earned
1st 9
2nd 7
3rd 5
4th 3
5th 1


36-Point Game Scoring
place (untied) points earned
1st 11
2nd 9
3rd 7
4th 5
5th 3
6th 1