The 'Moles' Golf Side Bet Explained

Moles are burrowing animals and golfers hate burrowing animals (at least those that dig their holes on golf courses). You know what else can dig a hole on a golf course? Taking multiple swings to get out of a sand trap. And that is what the golf side bet known as Moles is all about.

Moles is not a golf bet that you win, it's a bet that you lose. All golfers hit into bunkers, and some of us do it a lot more often than others. How good are you at getting out of bunkers? When the Moles game is being played, any golfer who fails to get out of a sand trap on his or her first swing loses the bet.

If you swing at your ball in a bunker and then it's still in that bunker, you just lost the mole. How much is the mole worth? Let's say you set the value of the bet at $1. If you lose the mole bet by failing to get out of a bunker, you now owe each of your playing companions $1. When you "earn" a mole, you owe the value of the bet to each of the other golfers in your group.

You can compare Moles to that other side game based on bunker play, Sandies. Sandies rewards positive play from a bunker: Get up-and-down from a bunker, you've won a sandy. The Moles game punishes poor play from a bunker: Play from a bunker and leave your ball in the sand, you lose money. For that reason, you can think of Moles as the opposite of Sandies. In fact, some golfers call this side game Anti-Sandies or Reverse Sandies.

What if you've already lost the Moles bet, and then leave your ball in the bunker again on your second attempt? You just lost the value of the bet again. And it keeps going until you get the ball of the sand. You don't have to get your ball onto the green, you just have to get it out of the bunker you are playing from.

More side games:

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