Rules and Decisions
The Complete Animal Golf® Game

RULES and DECISIONS of Animal Golf® ©2006-2018

INTRODUCTION to the World's Most Popular Golf Game

Any golfer, regardless of their skill level makes mistakes, miss hits, bad reads, poor course management decisions, and the like.  The objective of playing Animal Golf® is the same as playing any round of golf:  to HAVE FUN, to play well, avoiding course hazards and pitfalls of the game. This game has Penalties for unlucky play and Rewards for good play.  And, it contains the most comprehensive set of situations conceivable.  Over time playing Animal Golf® should help strengthen one's course management skills, overall knowledge and love of the game.

Playing The Animal Golf® Game

1.  Players select 1 person in their foursome who will manage the unassigned Game Tags.  Players also will agree on the END OF PLAY, typically each 9 holes, or until dark for twilight rounds.  The objective of the Game is to have the fewest Game Tags in your possession at the End Of Play.   

2.  If played as a wagering game, Players will agree on the penalty value of each Animal Golf® Game Tag before beginning play.  Value these tags using money, food, a round of drinks from the Player having the most Game Tags at the End Of Play, anything you decide. Tags can also have varying values - be as creative as you wish.

3.  During play, whenever any Player makes a golf stroke that results in an event described on one or more of the Game Tags, that Player receives the Game Tag(s) that match that hazard or pitfall.  It is possible and common to receive more than one Game Tag resulting from the same stroke.    

Decision 3a:  Ball resting on green, then putted off green:  Once a Player's ball first comes to rest ON THE GREEN, all strokes from that point forward required to hole the ball are counted as putts.

Decision 3b:  Ball comes to rest in a "waste bunker":  A sand trap or "bunker" is defined in The Rules of Golf as a "prepared area".  A waste bunker is unprepared and thus is just another type of in-bounds surface on a golf course.  The Camel game tag only applies to bunkers as defined in The Rules of Golf.

Decision 3c:  Rules Clarification for The Chicken:  In the spirit of the Game of Golf, The Chicken shall be applicable to any putt for single bogey, par, or under par, that appears like it would have been holed if it only would have reached the hole. Such putt must also come to rest within 6 inches of the hole.  If disagreement, majority rules.

4.  A Player receiving any Game Tags keeps them in their possession until another Player incurs the same hazard or pitfall, AT WHICH TIME that Game Tag passes to the latter Player, just like a game of golf hot potato.  Game Tags pass from Player to Player every time their associated hazard or pitfall is incurred, even during play on the same hole.

Decision 4a:  Game Tag passing with The Skunk: Normally the last Player to hole their ball scoring a triple bogey or higher is awarded The Skunk.  However, if two or more Players triple bogey (or higher) the same hole with differing scores for the hole, the Player with the worst score for that hole is awarded The Skunk, even if they were not the last Player to hole their ball.

Decision 4b:  Game Tag passing with The Snake: Normally the last Player making 3 or more putts to hole their ball is awarded The Snake.  However, if one or more Players 4-putt (or higher) the same hole, the Player with the most putts for that hole is awarded The Snake, even if they were not the last Player to hole their ball.

5.  Get REWARDED for your GREAT golf shots and putts resulting in well played holes. If you are holding any Animal Golf® Game Tags at the time, you may return ALL for your following GREAT (or lucky) golf play:

  • a Double Eagle, Eagle, Ace, or Birdie

  • a Sand Save (up & down from a greenside bunker to save PAR)

  • a Chip-In or Hit-In to save PAR from anywhere OFF the green

  • sinking a LONG putt, at least 2 flag sticks in distance, to save PAR

If you are not holding any Game Tags at the time, you still get the satisfaction of a very well played hole.  Congratulations!! That's what Golf is all about.  Now go do it again.

6.  Follow the Rules of Golf, i.e., play in proper sequence, no "mulligans" or "gimmies", etc.  Keep pace while you play.

Decision 6a:  Player Sequence & Concessions: The Rules of Golf indicates that normally after the Players have started play of a hole, the ball farthest from the hole is played first.  On the green and perhaps in the spirit of KEEPING PACE, a Player may be allowed by their group to putt next in an attempt to hole out even if their ball was not the farthest out at the time. If that Player was in fact allowed to "putt out" early by the group, he or she is NOT last in the hole.  But if that Player played out of turn on their own, they take The Snake if they 3-putted or more, and The Skunk if they triple bogied or higher. Decision 6a takes priority over Rule 4, Decisions 4a, and 4b.

7.  Players having the fewest Game Tags at the END OF PLAY WIN the game accordingly.

Rules Variation: PRO RULES

For the ringer(s) in your foursome or group, or for a foursome of all excellent golfers, scratch or the like, tighten up the parameters for the these Animals as follows:

  • Turtle: for a Tee Shot that misses the fairway or first cut on a Par 4 or 5, or that misses a Par 3 green

  • Duck: for any hook or slice that results in having to make a not significantly advancing stroke to get back in play  

  • Gopher: for ANY lost ball including an unrecoverable ball hit into a water hazard

  • Skunk: for a double-bogey or higher

Note:  All Decisions are a result of Players contacting us seeking such rules clarification based on actual situations that have occurred while playing the Animal Golf® Game.  Please let us know should you experience any event that requires a more clear guidance. 

ENJOY THE GAME!  And check back periodically for AnimalGolf® Rule and Decision updates.