How to Play the 'Flaps' Golf Game

"Flaps" is the name of a golf game in which a golfer who is playing from off the green — a chip shot, lob shot or short pitch shot — can wager that she will hole out her next stroke. But that wager has to be made while the ball is still in the air. And her playing partners can double the bet if they think she can't do it.

Here's the scenario: Golfer A's ball is off the green and she is going to try to chip the ball close. She clips the ball and it feels great. So great that she feels certain her ball is going to wind up close enough to the hole that she can sink the remaining putt for an up-and-down. So she shouts out "flap," which initiates the flap wager. Key point: The shouting of "flap" must happen while the ball is in the air. Obviously, on chip shots from just off the green you have very little time to make that shout. You have to think and shout fast. If you are a little farther off the green, playing a shot with a little more hang time, you have a little more time to consider whether to initiate the Flaps bet.

So, in our example, Golfer A initiates the Flaps wager by shouting "flap" before her chip shot's first bounce. What Golfer A is wagering is that she will get her next stroke in the hole — that she will complete the up-and-down. If she does so — if she gets her ball in the hole on her next stroke after shouting "flap" — she wins one unit of the bet from each of the other golfers participating. If she fails to complete the up-and-down, she loses one unit of the bet to each of the other golfers.

But the other golfers have the opportunity to wager back. Let's say Golfers B, C and D don't think Golfer A can complete that up-and-down. They hear her shout "flap" and think: Nope, not gonna happen. They can respond by shouting "double" before Golfer A's ball completes its first bounce, thus doubling the wager.

So the golfer initiating the wager has to do so before her chip, lob or short pitch hits the ground, while her ball is still in the air. Any golfer who wants to double the bet can do so before the golf ball completes its first bounce (it hits the ground, bounces up — "double" must be shouted at any time before that first bounce comes back down again).

So what do golfers need to agree on to play Flaps? The value of the wager, of course. Also: From how far back off the green do you want to make shots eligible? In theory, you can make any approach shot eligible for Flaps, but most golfers limit the game to shots from around 50 yards and in. Some limit it only to chip shots from within about 10 yards of the green.

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