How to Play the Golf Game Named 'Hard Work'

"Hard Work" is the name of a golf game that is a variation on the standard skins game format. That variation? In Hard Work, the easier holes on the golf course are worth less, and the more difficult holes are worth more.

You know the standard skins game format, right? Each hole on the golf course is worth the agreed-upon bet amount, and on each hole, the low scorer of your group wins that amount. If there are tie scores, you can carry the value of the tied hole over to the next (or just not award any money for that hole).

Hard Work goes the same way, except the value of a hole varies depending on its degree of difficulty. So the first thing a group of golfers (Hard Work can be played by two, three or four golfers) has to do is agree on a ranking of the golf holes, from 1 (hardest) to 18 (easiest).

Luckily, most golf courses have already done that for you: Check the "handicap" or "hcp" line on the scorecard. That line has the holes already ranked from 1 (hardest) through 18 (easiest). If you wish, you can just use that handicap ranking of the holes. Or, if you know the golf course well and if you really enjoy haggling and arguing with your buddies, your group come up with its own ranking of the holes.

Next, you need to agree on the value of each hole. Start by setting the value of the easiest hole. Once you have that value, the rest of the holes follow this formula: the hardest hole is worth 18 times as much as the easiest hole; the second-hardest hole is worth 17 times the easiest hole; the third-hardest hole is worth 16 times as much, and so on.

Obviously, you need to be careful with the betting amounts in Hard Work. If the easiest hole is worth $1, then the hardest hole is worth $18. Are you comfortable with those betting amounts? Most recreational golfers aren't. If the easiest hole is worth 25 cents, then the hardest hole is worth $4.50; if the easiest hole is worth 10 cents, the hardest hole is worth $1.80.

As for tie scores on a hole, you have the same option in Hard Work that you do in a regular skins game: don't award the bet on that hole, or carry over the value of that hole and add it to the next.

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