How to Play the 'Beat the Worst' Golf Game

Beat the Worst is the name of a golf betting game for a group of four golfers (it also works for a three-ball). On each hole, one of those golfers is tasked with beating the worst score among the other three. If that golfer does so, he or she wins the bet.

A terminology alert: The golfer who is trying to beat the other three is said to be "on the spot." And because of that, Beat the Worst is sometimes called On the Spot instead.

How 'Beat the Worst' Works

Before teeing off, the members of the group first determine the rotation: Who will be "on the spot" on Hole 1, on Hole 2, on Hole 3 and on Hole 4. If Golfer A is on the spot on the first hole, then the rotation comes back to him on the fifth hole, and so on.

Also, agree on the bet. There are a couple ways to do it. When the golfer on the spot wins the bet, most commonly, either the golfer(s) whose score he beat pays off the bet, or all three of the other golfers in the group owe money to the winner.

Another option: Make winning the hole worth a point to the golfer on the spot. Then tally up the totals at the end and pay off the differentials. Or pay the full pot to the overall winner.

Once those details are out of the way, tee off and play golf.

If Golfer A is on the spot on Hole 1, and Golfers B, C and D score, respectively, 5, 6 and 7, then Golfer A wins the bet by making 6 or better because 7 is the worst score of the other three.

On the second hole, Golfer B is on the spot. If Golfers A, C and D score 6, 4 and 4, then Golfer B has to make a 5 to win the bet.

And so on.

Additional Details

With a group of four, four full rotations can be made. But that leaves two holes left over. What do you do with those holes? The easiest is just to not play Beat the Worst on Holes 17-18. Or skip it on holes 9 and 18, or skip it on holes 1 and 10. We like the third option — it gives golfers the chance to play a hole before the gambling begins.

If your group is just a three-ball rather than a four-ball, then all 18 holes can be used for Beat the Worst. (Each golfer gets six turns being on the spot.)

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