Golf Card Game Rules

Golf Card Game Rules​

Introduction to Golf Card Game

Golf the card game simply requires standard playing cards and can be played with just two people, or with a large group of people, which makes it a great game for any occasion – family night, date night or with a group of friends.

Just like in golf, the goal of golf the card game is to score the lowest number of points as possible. Also like the game of golf, you typically play 9 or 18 rounds and then calculate the total amount of points. Each player has a grid of cards that are face down, and can be replaced throughout the hand. The player with the lowest number of points at the end of all the rounds is the winner.

The card game has also been called Polish Polka, Polish Poker, Turtle, Hara Kiri or Crazy Nines. Below we will describe more about the different variations and layouts you can play with in Golf the card game.

Four-Card Golf Game

Players, Cards, and Dealing in Four-Card Golf

Players: As long as there are at least two players, there is no maximum number of players that can play the four-card version of golf.

Cards: You only need one standard deck of cards, but if you are playing with a larger group of people, then it is recommended to use two decks of cards.

Dealing: To begin each round, the dealer deals each player four cards, which are arranged face down in a square. The leftover cards are placed face-down in the middle of the table, and the top card is placed face up to begin the discard pile.

The Play in Four-Card Golf

After the four cards are dealt to each player and before the round beings, players can look at the two cards in their grid that are closest to them. Players should not show these cards to anyone else. These cards cannot be looked at again throughout the round, so it is important to remember them. The players must not look at the top two cards of the grid. Then, the playing begins! The player to the dealer’s left goes first and then the sequence of play continues clockwise.

When it’s your turn, there are three possible actions to take. They are as follows:

  1. Draw the top card of the face-down card deck in the centre.

After you draw a card, you can replace one of your four cards within your layout with that card. However, you can not look at any of the cards within your grid before deciding to switch any of them out with the card that you just drew from the deck.

When you are replacing a card in your grid, you place the card you just picked up face-down and place the replaced card face-up in the centre discard pile.

If you draw a card from the pile and decide that you do not want to use it to replace any of the cards in your grid, you simply place it in the discard pile, and the next player begins their turn.

  1. Take the card on the top of the discard pile.

You have the option to use the top card of the discard pile to replace any of the cards in your four-card grid. However, unlike when you draw from the deck, you must replace one of your cards when you take a card from the top of the discard pile. You cannot put the card back on the top of the discard pile and leave the play as it was.

  1. ‘Knock’ to notify the other players that you are ending the round.

Before going through the entire deck in the middle, a player can choose to ‘knock’ to end the round early. This is a great strategy if you feel you have a low enough score, and there is a higher chance that the other players have high points in their grid, since they have had less chances to replace their cards.

If you knock, that is the end of your turn, but each of the other players get one more turn. Then the round ends and scoring begins.

Remember that you cannot look at any of the cards in your grid during the round. If you do, that card must be replaced with the card you drew from the stock pile or the discard pile.

Scoring in Four-Card Golf

After a player knocks, or after you have gone through the entire stock pile in the centre, the round ends.

To score, each player flips the four cards in the grid over. The values of each card are:

  • Ace = 1 point
  • Each number card is worth its face value (Two = 2 points, Three = 3 points, etc.)
  • Jack and Queen = 10 points
  • King = 0 points

Four Kings is the best possible grid, as it is a total of zero points. The player with the lowest score at the end of all the 9 or 18 rounds is declared the winner.

Golf with Power Cards

When playing golf with four cards, some cards can be designated as ‘power cards’. Play unfolds as normal according to the standard rules of four-card golf, but if one of the designated power cards is drawn from the middle stock pile, it can be played as a normal card or with its special power. Once a power card has been placed in the discard pile, it loses its power.

There are many different variations of four card golf with power cards. These games have been called Cabo, Cumbia, Pablo, Dacz and Cactus.

Some examples of power card variations of four-card golf are:

  • Jack = allows you to look at one of your own cards.
  • Queen = look at one card of another player’s grid.
  • King = swap one of your cards with one of an opponent’s card without looking at either one.
  • Joker = requires one opponent to shuffle their four cards and rearrange them so they do not know which card is which anymore.
Golf with Power Cards​

Six-Card Golf Game

Players, Cards, and Dealing in Six-Card Golf

Players: A minimum of 2 players are required, and there is no maximum number of players.

Cards: If 2-4 people are playing, a standard 52-card deck should be used. With 4-8 players, two standard decks should be used. With more than 8 players, three standard 52-card decks are needed.

Dealing: Six cards are dealt to each player, one at a time. The cards are arranged in a rectangle face down. The remaining cards are placed face-down in the centre as a stock pile, and the top card is turned face up to begin the discard pile.

The Play in Six-Card Golf

The aim of six-card golf is different than four-card golf. In the six card version, a pair of equal cards in one column scores that player zero points. So, you try to make pairs, while keeping unpaired cards as low as possible.

Before the round starts, players can look at any two cards in their own layout. The other four cards cannot be looked at.

The play then continues with the same options and rules as four-card golf.

Scoring in Six-Card Golf

In six-card golf, the scoring is:

  • Ace = 1 point
  • Two = -2 points
  • Cards between 3 and 10 are worth their face value
  • Jack and Queen = 10 points
  • King = 0 points
  • A pair of the same cards in the same column scores 0 points for that column (even if the equal cards are twos!)

Eight-Card Golf Game

With eight cards, players’ grids are arranged in four columns with two cards in each column. Then, every player begins their first turn by turning one of their columns face up.

Unlike the other versions of golf, players have the option to replace the cards that are face-up.

When it’s your turn, each player can:

  1. Draw a card from the deck and replace one of the face up cards in their layout, and put the replaced card in the discard pile.
  2. OR use the drawn card to replace on of the face down cards in your grid. The replaced card cannot be looked at before replacing it. That card is then placed in the discard pile.
  3. OR if you draw a card and do not want to use it to replace any of the cards in your grid, you can simply discard it, and then you can turn one of your own cards in your grid face up.

A round ends by ‘knocking’ or when one of the players turns the last card of their grid face up. Once this happens, the other players each have one more turn. Then, all points are scored.

Examples of Scoring in Eight-Card Golf

Like six-card golf, a negative score is possible in eight-card golf.

  • Jokers = -5 points each
  • Kings = 0 points
  • Queens and Jacks = 10 points
  • Aces = 1 point
  • Number cards between 2 and 10 are worth their face value
  • Pair in a column = 0 points
  • Two equal pairs in any two columns = -10 points

Nine-Card Golf Game

Nine-card golf is also referred to as Crazy Nines or Nine. Two or more decks of cards are required to play this version.

Each player is dealt nine cards which are then placed in a 3×3 square. Three cards are turned face up to begin the play.

Just like six-card golf, a column of equal cards is worth zero points. But, instead of having two equal cards in a column, nine-card golf requires three equal cards in each column.

There are a few different variations of playing and scoring for nine-card golf, such as:

  • Players only turn two cards face up at the start of the round.
  • Twos are worth two points rather than negative two points. Instead of the two, jokers are worth -2.
  • Queens are worth 12 points.
  • Vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines with three equal cards scores zero points.
  • Four equal cards together in a square gives a high negative score, like -25.

Ten-Card Golf Game

Two or more standard card decks are needed to play ten-card golf. Each player is dealt ten cards which are then placed face down into five columns of two cards. Before the round begins, each player can turn any of their two card columns face up. Then, play continues with the same rules and scoring as six-card golf.


How many decks of cards are used for Golf?

Golf requires anywhere between one and three decks of standard 52-card decks.

Golf requires anywhere between one and three decks of standard 52-card decks. The number of decks needed to play the card game golf depends on which variation you are playing and how many players are involved. As mentioned above, when it is only two players, one deck is usually enough. However, with more players, adding more decks is necessary. Also, when each player is starting with more cards in their grid, more than one deck is needed.

How are jokers used in Golf?

Jokers are used in a variety of ways depending on the version of golf you are playing. A joker can be a designated power card, and depending on the variation you are playing, a joker is worth a variety of values such as 10 points, or -5 points, or -2 points. Some may also choose to not include jokers at all.

Is it possible to play golf with 2 players?

Yes. A minimum of 2 players are required to play golf.