How to Play the Cut Throat Golf Game

Cut Throat is the name of a golf game that takes place entirely on the tee box, and should be reserved for rounds played on a mostly empty golf course; or rounds played on a packed golf course where play is very slow and your group is waiting on every tee.

Before we get into the details, note that Cut Throat is often spelled "Cutthroat," and we've also seem this fun, silly game go by the name of Poison.

Play Cut Throat on the Tee Box

Here's how Cut Throat works. Each member of your group places a golf ball on the ground near the tee marker on one side of the tee box. Using driver*, the goal is to knock your ball across the tee box, hitting the far tee marker; and then to knock it back to the side you started on, hitting that tee marker.

(*Note that some groups stipulate the club used in Cut Throat is the one you'll be using for your tee shot on that hole.)

The first player to hit both tee markers wins.

Sounds pretty easy, and sometimes it is — if the first player to go is a deadly tee-marker marksman. But when that first player misses, the next player is up; and when that player misses, the next; and so on. A golfer who hits the tee marker on her first try immediately goes again. Any time a golfer misses the tee marker, it's the next golfer's turn.

One key to Cut Throat is to miss in the right spot. When the order comes back to you, you want your ball positioned for an easy shot. You, and your buddies, are all trying to hit the tee marker, but you're also trying to miss in ways that leave your ball in the way of the other players' shots. You want to lay stymies when you miss, in other words.

The first time during a round that Cut Throat is played, flip a tee to determine playing order. After that, the first person eliminated on the previous tee box goes first; the previous winner goes last.

Variations and Cautions for Cut Throat

Some variations that groups will sometimes play (keeping it simple, however, will save time and depending on the flow of the golf course that day, perhaps give you more holes to day):
  • If a golf ball goes off the tee box, that player has one turn to get back onto the tee box or he is eliminated.
  • Some groups love taking aim at the other golf balls, and knocking an opponent's ball out of the way becomes its own reward within the group. If your group takes glee in doing that, just remember the stipulation above about balls knocked off the tee box.
The biggest constraint to playing Cut Throat is time, combined with good golf etiquette. Never hold up a group behind because your group is goofing around on your tee box! That's basic golf sense.

If you start playing Cut Throat, don't get so wrapped up in it that you lose your sense of time and, inadvertently, wind up holding up play. Be ready to play away when space in front opens, or when a group appears close behind.

And that's why we stated at the top that Cut Throat is a game best played on an empty golf course, where you can spend as much time on Cut Throat as you want; or on one so busy that you have a long wait on every tee box.

More golf games to play:

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