Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A ‘Nassau’ In Golf?

Golf is a sport of skill and precision and a game that embraces friendly competition and betting among players. One popular betting format that has stood the test of time is the Nassau game. 

Named after the Nassau Country Club on Long Island, this format has been a part of golfing culture since the early 1900s. 

While the origin of the term remains rooted in the club’s history, the Nassau game has evolved to become a widely recognized and enjoyed betting format among golf enthusiasts. 

In this article, I’ll explore the Nassau golf game, including the following;

  • Where Did The Nassau Game in Golf Originate?
  • Nassau Golf Game Betting, Format And Rules
  • Nassau Golf Game: Additional Betting Components
  • Nassau Golf Game: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • 3 Tips To Improve Your Nassau Golf Game Strategy
  • 3 Alternative Golf Betting Games!

Lets get into it!

nassau golf game

Where did Nassau in Golf Originate?

The term Nassau originated from Nassau Country Club on Long Island and has been used in the game of golf since the early 1900s. 

The club’s talented core golf team led to discontent among other clubs in the area when asked to play against them, giving rise to the Nassau bet. 

This betting format is just one of many golf idioms that have developed over the years.

Nassau In Golf: Game Betting

A Nassau is a form of betting in which equal monetary values are placed on the front nine, back nine, and overall round. 

The player who wins each portion of the round is awarded the agreed-upon value of each leg of the wager. 

The Nassau wager can come in different formats tailored to accommodate competitive golf betting across various handicaps.

Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 1

The Nassau Golf Game Format

To determine the winners of the front nine, back nine, and overall round in a Nassau golf game format, certain parameters must be established beforehand. 

Typically, handicap strokes are assigned based on the low handicapper in the group.

For example, if two players have handicaps of 5 and 10, respectively, the second player would receive 5 strokes overall (2.5 on the front nine and 2.5 on the back nine).

The overall scoring format must also be determined. The most common choices are stroke play and match play. Stroke play tallies the number of strokes across the front nine, considering handicaps. 

Match play scores each individual hole as a point and works best when there are significant differences in handicaps between competing teams.

Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 2

Nassau Golf Game: Additional Betting Components

Apart from the basic Nassau wager format, additional components can be added during the round to enhance the excitement. 

One common addition is a “Press”, which represents a subsequent bet to the initially defined terms. A Press is often proposed by a player who is behind in the round, aiming to break even or minimize losses. 

Examples of presses include playing for the same value as the Nassau for a particular range of holes, pushing the wagered amount to the back nine (double down) in the event of a tie on the front, or even betting the agreed-upon amount on the final hole.

Various side bets can also be incorporated into the overall wager format, such as closest to the pin, closest chip, or putting contests.

These additional bets add extra layers of excitement and competitiveness to the game.

Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 3

Nassau Golf Game Rules

There are various versions of the Nassau rules in golf, allowing players to customize them to their liking. Depending on the size of the game and whether it’s played individually or in teams, the rules may vary.

Nevertheless, the following key terms can be understood:

  • In the original bets or side bets, known as presses, the monetary value remains the same for each round.
  • The player with the lower handicap goes first. The number of priority shots they receive is the difference between their handicap and their opponent’s index.
  • The team or individual that is losing has the option to offer the press at any point during the match.
Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 4

What Makes The Nassau Golf Game Stand Out?

Nassau stands out due to its distinctive features. It combines three individual bets into a single game, setting it apart from other golf wager games. 

Notably, Nassau accommodates both match play and stroke play formats. It can be played with a minimum of two players and a maximum of four, catering to various skill levels to ensure fair competition.

Furthermore, participants have the option to make additional side bets on specific holes, as well as a special wager known as the Nassau Press bet. 

The Press bet can be initiated by the losing side at any time during the game, offering an opportunity to start a new match from that point and potentially recover the money they have already lost.

Nassau Golf Game: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

After going through the definitions, formats, and rules of Nassau mentioned above, you may have some questions that need clarification. 

Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 5

Q: What Does a $5 Nassau Mean?

A: $5 Nassau bet refers to wagering 5 dollars for each segment of the round, which includes the front nine, back nine, and the total 18 holes.

If playing in a foursome, the maximum amount you can lose is 15 dollars (5 dollars multiplied by 3). If you win all the segments, the highest prize you can receive is 45 dollars (15 dollars multiplied by 3).

Q: What Does a 5 5 5 Nassau Game Signify?

A: 5 5 5 Nassau has a similar meaning to the 5-dollar Nassau. In this case, whether you are an individual player or part of a team, you need to spend 5 dollars for each segment of the match, namely the front nine, the back nine, and the overall score.

The number in Nassau denotes the amount of money to be spent.

Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 6

Q: How is the Score Calculated in Nassau?

A: In Nassau, there are three possible outcomes: win, loss, and tie. The scores are determined by the number of holes or strokes, depending on the chosen game format.

Once a team or an individual player loses all the remaining holes, the game concludes.

3 Tips To Improve Your Nassau Golf Game Strategy

Boost your Nassau golf game strategy with the following essential tips on goal setting, improving your short game, and mastering course management.

Tip #1: Set Realistic Goals

Understand your skill level and set realistic goals for your round. Don’t expect to play like a pro if you’re just starting out. Set achievable goals that focus on improving your game rather than just winning bets.

Tip #2: Practice Your Short Game

The short game is crucial in Nassau golf as it involves putting and chipping. Spend ample time practicing your putting and chipping skills, as they can save you strokes and help you win holes.

Tip #3: Practice Course Management

Make smart decisions on the course by practicing good course management. This involves selecting the right club, aiming for safe targets, and playing strategically to avoid hazards. 

Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 7

3 Alternative Golf Betting Games

If you’re looking to try different gambling games in conjunction with the Nassau format, here are three options popular among golfers:

Nassau Game Alternative #1: Skins

One interesting aspect of Skins is its compatibility with the Nassau format, which further enhances the competition by introducing an element of individual hole competition. 

In a Nassau golf game, the round is divided into three separate bets: the front nine, the back nine, and the overall 18-hole score. 

With Skins incorporated into the Nassau format, players not only contend for the individual hole skins but also have the chance to win the front, back, or overall 18-hole skins.

Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 8

Nassau Game Alternative #2: Bingo Bango Bongo

Another golf game that injects excitement and strategy into the mix is Bingo Bango Bongo—this game awards points for various accomplishments achieved by players throughout the round. 

These achievements typically include being the first player to reach the green, the player closest to the pin, and the player who successfully holes out first. 

Each of these accomplishments carries a specific point value, which is determined beforehand. 

As the round progresses, players accumulate points based on their achievements, and at the end, the points are tallied to determine the winner.

Nassau Game Alternative #3: Wolf

Wolf is yet another thrilling golf game that adds an element of strategy and unpredictability to the course. In the Wolf game, players take turns acting as the “Wolf” on each hole. 

The Wolf has the opportunity to choose a partner for that particular hole or play solo against the other players. 

The Wolf can make this decision based on their assessment of the other players’ abilities and the potential for synergy with a specific partner. 

Bets can be made on a hole-by-hole basis or for the overall round, allowing players to adjust their strategies accordingly.

Explaining The Nassau Golf Game: What Is A 'Nassau' In Golf? 9

Key Takeaways: What Is A Nassau in Golf?

A Nassau golf game is an excellent way to add some friendly competition and excitement to your golf round. 

By simplifying the betting terms and allowing for resets during the back nine, it keeps things engaging for players. 

A Nassau golf game format, when properly structured, can provide a straightforward and enjoyable wager for all players involved.

So, the next time you tee it up with your buddies, embrace the Nassau golf game format and have fun betting on the front nine, back nine, and overall round. 

Keep the game interesting with additional components like presses and side bets!

Next Up: The 8 Best Golf Betting Games

Photo of author
After graduating from the Professional Golf Management program in Palm Springs, CA, I moved back to Toronto, Canada, turned pro and became a Class 'A' member of the PGA of Canada. I then began working at some of the city's most prominent country clubs. While this was exciting, it wasn't as fulfilling as teaching, and I made the change from a pro shop professional to a teaching professional. Within two years, I was the Lead Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf instruction facilities. Since then, I've stepped back from the stress of running a successful golf academy to focus on helping golfers in a different way. Knowledge is key so improving a players golf IQ is crucial when choosing things like the right equipment or how to cure a slice. As a writer I can help a wide range of people while still having a little time to golf myself!

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