The Greenies Side Game in Golf

You join up with a group of golfers on the first tee, and they tell you they are playing Greenies today. Do you want to join the game? Well, you better know what the Greenies side game or betting game is, then.

The short version: "Greenies" is a slang term for a green in regulation (GIR). The greenies side game is a bet that pays off (either in points or cash) to a golfer each time he hits a green in regulation.

Greenies are commonly included in the all-inclusive games variously known as Garbage, Dots, Trash or Junk. Just agree before the round how much each greenie is worth — one point each? A quarter each? Up to you.

Those are the basics — just mark it down on the scorecard each time you record a greenie, then tally up your greenie points or winnings at the end of the round and compare to the others in your group.

There are a couple variations you can add into the Greenies game, however. Before we mention those, let's just make sure everyone knows what a green in regulation (GIR) is.

  • On a par-3 hole, you earn a greenie by hitting the green in one stroke.
  • On a par-4 hole, by hitting the green in two or fewer strokes.
  • On a par-5 hole, by hitting the green in three or fewer strokes.

Variations In the Greenies Bet

These variations to the Greenies bet are particularly useful if you want to play Greenies as a standalone game (rather than as part of the Garbage/Dots-type points extravaganza).

  • If two or more golfers in your group record a GIR on the same hole, award a greenie only to the golfer who is closest to the pin.
  • If a golfer has a GIR, she only earns a greenie if she then holes out in two or fewer putts. A three-putt (or worse) means no greenie.
  • You can also jack up the dollar value of the greenie and play the game only on par-3 holes, which increases the pressure on everyone on those holes.
Want to stick with the basics of Greenies (in which every golfer earns a greenie for every GIR they record), or include one (or more) of the variations? Just make sure everyone in your group agrees before teeing off the round.

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