Wolf ~ The Five Person Golf Gambling Game

wolfWolf is one of the most classic and commonly known (but hardly ever played) golf bet or wager.  I personally only play wolf when we have a fivesome and there is really no other way to play a good “team game” otherwise.  You cannot play a scotch game or partner match with five guys, and we do not want to leave one guy out as the third or more appropriately the fifth wheel.

Definition of Wolf the Golf Gambling Game:
Pig / Wolf is one of the classic golf betting games for foursomes. Players rotate as the “Wolf.” On each hole, the player designated as the Wolf tees off last.  After each of the other 3 golfer’s tee shots, the Wolf has the option of choosing to team up with that player (let’s say they bomb one down the middle) or to pass (maybe they shank one into the trees.) Once the next player hits, the Wolf cannot go back to choose a previous drive / playing partner.  So if the Wolf passes on the first two drives, his only options left are to take the 3rd player as his partner or if he’s feeling lucky (and the first 3 drives are all in trouble), go it alone and call ‘Wolf’ (hence the name.)

Whenever ‘Wolf’ is called, all bets are now doubled.  If the wolf manages to beat the best score of the other 3 golfers, then he wins double points.  But if any one of the other 3 golfers (The 3 Little Piggies) manages to beat the ‘Wolf’s’ score, then the Wolf pays double points.

What the heck does that mean?  A simplified definition of wolf…
Wolf can be played with four or five players.  Each person in the group will get to be the wolf in rotation.  The biggest key to wolf is keeping the same order on the tee despite any honor system.  This means that player 1 tees off first on the first hole, player 2 second and so on and so forth.  The last guy is always the wolf, in this example player 5.  On the next hole the person who was the wolf on the previous hole now tees off first followed by player 1 and then 2 and then 3…you get the point.  As long as you keep the same rotation then the game is easy.  Each person accumulates points and for each hole.  If the wolf on hole #1 picked player 3 to be his partner, #3, and #5 (the wolf) would play that hole against players 1, 2 and 4.  Lets say player number 2 makes a par and is the low score for that hole everyone on his team wins a point.  So on the scorecard you would give everyone on player 2’s team a point, and no one else.  If the wolf were to make a par and win the hole, only him and his chosen partner would get points.  Make sense.

How the betting works:
At the start of the round you choose the order of players and the bet itself.  Each point is worth a dime, quarter, dollar, $5 or up if you are playing in a big time money game (be careful of those guys they always seem to have a great round when the bet gets higher!).  At the end of the round you add up all the points and each player has to square up with anyone who has more points than they do.  For easy math lets say the following happens:

  • Player 1 has 18 points
  • Player 2 has 10 points
  • Player 3 has 25 points
  • Player 4 has 12 points
  • Player 5 has 24 points

Player 2 has the least amount of points, therefore he would owe each and every person in his group the difference.  Meaning if you were playing each point was worth a dollar then player 2 would owe player 1 $8, player 3 $15, player 4 $2 and player 5 $14.  The nice thing about wolf is if you finish in the middle of the pack, you are collecting from the non winners (hate to use the word looser, but cannot think of a better term) and you are paying only a few winners.  The key to wolf is to finish no worse than the middle.  Collect from two players and pay out two players, but it is always nice to finish first.

When the points double:
The points in wolf double when two events occur: when someone wins the hole with a birdie and when someone goes wolf.  You would have a double multiplier if a wolf won the hole with a birdie (1 point won x 2 for the birdie and then x 2 again for the wolf… 1 for 2 for 4 points total won).  Players can also play a form of press/repress when playing wolf.  Just like in the nine point game, only the man with the lowest total of points can press the hole (before anyone hits), and only the wolf can decide to repress (before players leave the tee but after everyone has hit).

Wolf is a great gambling game to play with your regular foursome, but probably not a game y0u are going to find when you just pick up a group on the first tee.  The betting is a little tougher, you have to know your opponents pretty well and there is some strategy when playing wolf.  For example we all know Freddie hits a big fade, so on the dog leg left fourth hole with tons of trees right you know Freddie is going to be a risk factor and that might be a good spot to press if your on the bottom.  You will never have that kind of great information when you are playing with strangers.

A little pulp fiction nod to the baddest wolf around…Winston Wolf.

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