How to Play the 3-2 Golf Putting Bet

The golf game known as 3-2 or 32 (pronounced three-two) is a wagering game for the putting greens. It's essentially a challenge from one golfer to another that the challenged golfer won't be able to avoid a three-putt.

Imagine you and your golf buddy are both on the green and looking over your first putts. You notice your buddy's putt is quite long, and with some nasty break. Or maybe it's a medium-difficulty putt, but your buddy is a terrible putter.

You look at the putt he's facing and think, "I bet he 3-putts this." So you issue the 3-2 challenge.

When the 3-2 side bet is invoked, it means that the golfer who issued it is betting that the golfer who is challenge cannot get down in two — that the challenged golfer will 3-putt or worse.

If the challenged golfer does get down in two, he wins three units of the bet. If, instead, he does 3-putt, the golfer who invoked the bet wins two units. So the golfer issuing the challenge is laying three-to-two odds, in other words. If the agreed upon bet amount is $1, the challenging golfer will either win $2 or lose $3; the challenged golfer will either win $3 or lose $2.

Does the challenged golfer have to accept the bet? That's up to you and the golfers you play with. Just make sure everyone is in agreement before the round starts. In our experience, it's slightly more common for the bet to be automatic (meaning if the 3-2 bet is invoked, the challenged golfer must accept) than not. But that's for your group to decide.

The 32 wager is included in Chi Chi Rodriguez's book Chi Chi's Golf Games You Gotta Play, and playing this game can help golfers overcome their fear of 3-putt. Or cost them some dough if they don't!

Rodriguez shares this story in the book:

"I was playing a tournament one time and a woman asked me why I didn't do the dance on a hole after a pretty long putt. Well, I had just made a double-bogey six, and I said to her, 'Lady, you can't make a monkey dance without giving him a banana.' Three putts and big numbers, they make even the bravest man in the world cry."

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