How to Play the Fairways to Heaven Golf Game

Have you ever heard of a golf game named "Fairways to Heaven"? It's a game that requires a golfer to hit the fairway with his or her drive, and to do so under pressure because there is money at stake.

The Basics of Fairway to Heaven

Fairways to Heaven can be played by a group of two golfers, three golfers or four golfers. This is how the game works:
  • On each driving hole (the par-4 and par-5 holes), each member of the group antes up the agreed-upon amount. If you agreed before the round that the ante was worth one dollar, then on each driving hole each golfer puts a dollar in the pot for that hole.
  • The golfers rotate being the "money player," meaning the golfer who is on the spot for that hole. The money player is the one who is trying to hit the fairway on a given hole in order to win that hole's pot. So golfers in the group set the rotation before the round works (draw numbers out of a hat, flip tees, whatever).
  • If the money player hits the fairway on his hole, then he wins the pot. If the money player misses the fairway, then the pot carries over to the next hole — and is added to by the next hole's ante.
Let's do an example using money and a couple holes. On Hole 1, after drawing numbers, Player A is the money player. The agreed upon bet amount is, let's say, a quarter (low-rollers in this group). So each player antes 25 cents, making the pot $1.

If Player A hits the fairway, he wins that dollar. On the next hole, all players ante up a quarter, and another dollar is at stake. Let's say Player C is the money player on this hole, but Player C misses the fairway. That dollar carries over to the next hole. And on Hole 3, all players ante up their quarter. With the carryover, that makes Hole 3 now worth $2.

And so on.

(Fairways to Heaven is recommended in Chi Chi Rodriguez's book Golf Games You Gotta Play as a game that is useful for learning how to hit drives under pressure.)

Considerations for Playing Fairways to Heaven

Can the money player on a hole pull out a wedge, hit a 75-yard-drive, and claim the pot? No! At least, not if the golfers in the group have eliminated that loophole.

Group members should agree before the round starts what limitations to put on club selection for the money player. Is the money player required to use a driver? Many groups stipulate that the money player must at least use a 3-wood, if not a driver.

But not every par-4 or par-5 hole sets up for a driver or even a fairway wood. A par-4 with a severe dogleg, for example, might lead most golfers playing the course to hit iron off that tee. What do you do with a hole like that in Fairways to Heaven?

Remember that with three or four golfers in a group, there will be 12 holes in play in Fairways to Heaven. Most golf courses, however, have 14 "driving holes" (par-4s and par-5s). That leaves two leftover holes. So if your home course has a hole that forces golfers into using an iron rather than a wood, you can simply skip that hole in Fairways to Heaven.

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