How to Play 'Supplemental Bets' on the Golf Course

What are supplemental bets in golf? "Supplemental Bets" is actually an umbrella term for a whole group of side wagers that golfers can engage in during a round of golf. You can also think of "Supplemental Bets" as a synonym for more-commonly used terms such as Junk, Trash, Garbage, Dots — all names used by golfers for a collection of small side bets that are running concurrently during a golf game.

When a group agrees to play Supplemental Bets, it is agreeing that in addition to whatever the chosen scoring method is for the round (standard stroke play, fourball, whatever), the group will also have a lot of side bets going at the same time. So the group might agree that sandies, Arnies, barkies, chippies, greenies and other, similar, side bets are all in play during the round.

The scuffies side bet, for example, pays off for any golfer who hits the cart part with one of her shots, and then pars that same hole. The splashies side game pays off for any golfer who hits a ball into the water and then still makes par.

There are many such side games, in addition to the ones already mentioned. Groups that play together regularly have their favorite ones, so when they agree that "Supplemental Bets" are in effect, the members probably all know which side games are being played. If you are new to a group, you'll need to clarify exactly which bets are in play.

Such a group tees off and plays its round, and perhaps has a larger bet riding on the overall outcome of the round. But in addition, it also has these side games going concurrently — these supplemental bets.

If a group has a lot of supplemental bets going at once, it can become an accounting effort just to keep track of who has won which bets and how many, and who owes what to whom at the end of the round. To make it easier, make each bet worth a point to anyone who wins it, then tally up points at the end to determine payouts. Some groups have the habit of drawing a small dot on the scorecard each time a given golfer wins a bet, which is the reason one of the alternate names for Supplemental Bets is "Dots."

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