Hacker’s Golf Bylaws

this post isn’t about running…but i guess the last one wasn’t either. this one is about golf, or a version of golf. anyway this is a fun way to play. here are the rules:


First of all before you call our rules arbitrary, please consider that in a sense all games’ rules are. I mean it’s not a game if it doesn’t have rules right? These rules were all constructed by a committee of serious minded founders who have a great fondness for the game and a great appreciation for the USGA and their rules of golf and golf etiquette. They are based on the particular experiences of the founding fathers in the year 2009 but cover many possibilities. This handbook is by no means a replacement for serious golf or USGA rules except where appropriate and great care has been made to maintain the integrity of the game and to sustain its basic form. But let’s face it, I’ve been out there enough to know that you are probably not counting your mulligans, and you are giving yourself “close” shots or tap ins. Well…you are cheating! Golf is discipline, and Hacker golf is a beginner’s way to count mulligans AND maintain discipline! What’s more: these rules have helped me rise above being frustrated and irritable while golfing and to be able to relax and enjoy just being outside.

This handbook is mainly based on play at the Jackson Park short 9, a legitimate, challenging, nicely cared for par 3 course with lots of hills and narrow fairways (I have always insisted that I would play better on the long course since the fairways are much wider).

Right now it’s 2009 and a lot of people are out of work. The inevitable slowing of the world economy has sent many people out of work (including some of these founding fathers) and after decades of gluttony & greed many people are now considering the environmental consequences of their actions. My solution? Do less! If we all try too hard to do more and better things we will inevitably just end up chewing off more and more of our beloved planet. So why not golf? It seems a perfect solution to me: you are exercising, hopefully calm and happy and not driving around, selling insurance or otherwise earning bad karma.

While golf has been a great solution to my unemployedness, now the problem is golf itself. I mean it’s great exercise and also great to have an excuse to be outside, but now the problem is the game! It’s the hardest game ever! It seems almost as if designed to be discouraging. A centimeter’s difference in your swing can make the difference between a birdie and hacking out of the woods! In the past I have quit playing golf for years just because the game is so freaking hard and no longer any fun. Here’s what I mean: They call something “par” if the best golfers in the world average that score…so if it’s par for one out of 1000 golfers it is not encouraging for average folk. It’s like walking into a Zendo and trying for 5 hours meditation cold – just can’t be done! But for average folk they have a complicated handicap system. It’s so complicated you can take a handicap seminar just to learn how to get one:


But basically it means you have to play at least ten rounds on a certified course. In my case this would cost about $500. Oh and aren’t we unemployed? ‘Nuff said. Another thing about handicaps is that they equalize play between golfers of different abilities. How does this reward those who are better golfers?

So…all that said, here we have devised a way to play and score golf that equalizes a little to make it more competitive, but not unfairly as everyone has the same opportunities.

Rules & bylaws:

Where anything questioned is not mentioned in this handbook refer to USGA rules. http://www.usga.org/Rules.aspx?id=7788#show=7868

No gimmes – you must get the ball in the hole, I mean it. Let me repeat myself: NO GIMMIES! WAIT FOR THE BALL TO STOP, THINK FOR A MINUTE AND THEN HIT IT AGAIN UNTIL IT FALLS IN THE CUP! NO FOOT WEDGES AND NO THROWING THE BALL. This is all undisciplined behavior and has no place on the golf course! For infraction penalty see fuck-all rule.

Now, you get 9 extra strokes per 9 holes to use as you wish

If you do not use them they are worth .5 strokes each off your score

If you finish 9 with all 9 strokes saved you can round-down the score

If you finish 9 with any strokes used and it’s a fraction you must round-up the score

If you lose your ball and want a drop it does not cost a stroke but you must ask another player of your choice to give the drop (see Drop rules below). Also if you lose your ball and you have used up all 9 strokes a drop also costs one beer.

Strokes are recorded on the card with a superscript above the score for that hole.

Chip-in (c ): if you chip in a ball that is more than one club length from the green you get a –1 bonus. There’s a good possibility this will be best ball too so it’s often a –2!

Hole-in-one (H): if you hit a hole-in-one it’s a –1, this could be included as a chip in but it’s off the tee so it’ll be an H and very probably best shot also!

Best Ball (B): a –1 bonus is awarded to the best shot for each nine hole determined by committee. If a better ball is hit by someone else after a possible best ball is determined, the previous B will be crossed out.

Options (O): options are when you hit a second shot, but would like to play the first shot (because your second shot was worse) instead without taking a stroke. You can also play a first or second shot if a third shot is taken (but you must take strokes for more than one ie if it’s your third shot and you want to take the first the second shot counts as one. Also if it’s your third shot and you want to play the second you must also take one stroke for the first). Once on an option the rest of the hole must be played straight* or it will cost one beer penalty per extra stroke. Another way to use an option is when no one’s around and you go back and play a hole over. Given the opportunity each player can take one option per 9 holes. the play-over option can also be multiple holes but all must be played straight.  The play over option is charged to the player who wants the option, but everyone can play the play-over option. The play-over option must be counted towards the option taker’s score, but any other players may choose between their original score or the playover. Everyone must play the play-over options straight (no extra strokes). if you take an extra shot during an option it costs one beer per extra, or, if you are broke and cannot afford any more beer you can have a fellow player drop, but watch out, option infractions are serious and the recommendation of this author is to mete out strict punishments for those drops in particular. Also: no complaining about drops is allowed. If you bitch and whine about a drop you may be punished for a beer by a jury of peers (those present, see bad behaviour).

Drops: The chosen player may drop the ball anywhere in play at that hole (including the teebox or behind a tree). If a player loses a ball but does not want to take a stroke or has used up all 9 strokes and loses their ball they must have another player drop.

Beers ($): if you owe a beer you must buy a beer for a fellow hacker. The beer recipient must be one who has played by these hacker rules (thereby encouraging more into the fold) but not necessarily those playing at the time. Owing beer can also be exchanged for any beverage like soda for recovering alcoholics or mixed drinks for the ladies or absinthe for hipsters but traditionally it’s beer.

Fuck-all rule: if a player abandons the game and it’s not mutually agreeable with other players present then that player owes beer to all other players present. (This only applies to a hacker game already started. If the player didn’t want to play hacker to begin with then the fuck-all penalty is waived). This does not apply to emergency game abandonment.

Playing extra balls: when no one’s around or you are waiting for the sixsome ahead and you want to play extra balls, you must declare that it is an extra ball and does not count towards your score. If you hit a super-good shot on your extra ball you can use an option to play it if one is available.

Bad Behavior ($): and behaviour like throwing a club, punching or insulting another golfer, hitting someone else with an errant ball or otherwise violating acceptable course conduct may be punished by a vote of peers. If only one other golfer is present then they are the sole decider. Punishments are measured in beers ie: if you go off and hit someone it might be a 12-pack, if you throw you club in disgust it’s one beer. The maximum penalty is the beer eqivalnent of $20. That’s a 12 of the best stuff or about 18 PBR’s. IOW keep it cool. If you can play golf without getting all pissy you have won!

*straight = no extra strokes (no mulligans)


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