|Setup time||15-30 min. (course planning)|
|Playing time||2+ hours (depending on group size and focus)|
Pub Golf or Bar Golf is a recreational drinking game involving a selection of either nine or eighteen pubs (Public House/Bar), creating a "course" to be played by two or more people. It is essentially a pub crawl made into a game. Unlike the actual game of Golf, Pub Golf involves no ball or fairway.
Like the game of Golf, however, Pub Golf does have the standard 9 or 18 different "holes"; that is, each bar is considered a "hole". The bars to be visited during the game are predetermined and numbered; these numbers determine the order in which each bar will be visited. Prior to playing the game, a par number (ranging from 1 to 5) also needs to be determined for each bar. E.g. Hole "5" (at Pub #5)- Par 4= One pint of beer.
The par number represents how many drinks/sips/gulps it should take to complete the drink assigned. Therefore, in the example given, at hole 5, if the pint of beer is completed in 4 drinks, the person drinking that pint is awarded a par. However many drinks it takes to complete the assigned drink should be recorded on a scorecard. (Thus, 5 drinks @ Hole 5= +1 to your score).
The drinks assigned to the different "holes" (pubs) should vary, and should be reasonable when taking into account the par number (number of gulps it takes to finish). A simple shot, for example, should suffice for a par one.
For Birthday Pub Golf, "all penalty infractions incurred, in the lead up to and during the course of the event, by a playing member are hereby wholly transferable to the birthday member."
A time limit for each hole must also be determined before the game is played. Thirty minutes is generally sufficient, but it can vary depending on your party size and focus.
There are many different variations of pub golf played, and some games add hazards to the course. E.g. Certain holes can be assigned as having a water hazard. This means that the restroom cannot be used while playing that hole, or else a penalty stroke is given.
Scores are kept on individual score cards, and each person keeps track of how many drinks/sips/gulps taken to finish the assigned drink for that hole. If the number of drinks/sips/gulps is the same as the par number, then that participant receives a par for that hole. Assigned drinks can be finished with fewer or more drinks/sips/gulps than the par number assigned, and so a contestant will receive their hole score as such. The goal is similar to golf in that it is to end the game with the lowest score. Prizes are often awarded in the end as an incentive to strive for a lower score.
As with any game, there are rules and order that must be followed. There are some actions that will cost a participant one or more extra strokes. The penalties and their resulting strokes should be predetermined, and generally consist of the following.
- +1 stroke = Going to the bathroom in a water hazard
- +2 strokes = Falling down
- +2 strokes = For every hole missed.
- +2 strokes = Being refused a drink or kicked out of a bar
Often the individual who comes last in pub golf is expected to do a forfeit. This makes the game more intense as it creates drama. Participants obviously don't want to forfeit as it is often embarrassing.
One of the most popular forfeits is the person that finishes in last place has to go in their pub golf costume to a public place, such as universities or a place of work. It is important that everyone agrees the forfeit before the event takes place as often the loser will try to talk themselves out of the forfeit saying that they either didn't know the rules or the rules were changed halfway through the event. Forfeits are an important part of pub golf and the person who doesn't do it after they've lost shows bad sportsmanship and is banned in upcoming events due to the pub golf code of conduct.
Though it is not necessary to playing pub golf, it is highly recommended, and often required, that all participants wear full golfing attire. Wearing argyle sweaters over bright colored polo shirts and tucked into plaid patterned pants is certainly acceptable attire for an outing of pub golf. Wearing of such attire makes it easier to keep track of those in the party, while adding to the fun, and all the while helping promote the game of Pub Golf.
To play Pub Golf, you need to be in an area that consists of more than 9 or 18 pubs/bars, all within walking distance of one another. Generally it is preferable to map out a route that is to save the pubs with the more lenient door policies for the end. If your route involves traveling by car, designate a sober driver (to serve as the "caddie") or take a cab.
Leagues, tournaments, and associations
Both Facebook and Myspace have a Pub Golf Appreciation Society, which have been made for the purpose of promoting and getting more individuals involved with Pub Golf. Members can post pictures and hold discussions about Pub Golf outings and tournaments.
Facebook has an interest group for Jen Nestel's Annual Bar Golf for Charity, with a goal of raising $5, 000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This event is held in Arlington, Texas.
Atlanta, Georgia, is home to the Atlanta Bar Golf Classic. Touted as America's longest running charity bar golf, the event enters its seventh year in April, 2013. All proceeds raised support the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and the Linus Foundation of Atlanta.
As of April 16, 2011, a group that is in every way affiliated with 1560 The Game held their third annual tournament in the Rice Village of Houston, Texas.
Pub golf is also moving with current technology trends. There is even an app for the iPhone called Pub Golf Caddy produced by Bright Barnacle.