How to Play Golf With Cards

By Filonia LeChat
a round, golf, a deck, playing cards
playing cards image by Warren Millar from

The card version of golf is similar to the sport of the same name--the players' objective is to get as low a score as possible. Played with a traditional single deck of cards, the game works best with between three to six players. Each card from 2 to 10 is face value; jacks are worth 15 points; and queens are worth 25. A joker is worth -3 points and an ace is worth -1 point. Kings are worth zero points. Each player attempts to substitute the cards in front of him with the lowest point totals possible.

Set a time limit, such as one hour, or for true golf style, determine whether players will "golf" nine or 18 holes, or rounds of dealing. Whoever has the lowest score at the end of the last round is declared the winner.

Deal six cards to each player, face down in two rows of three. Players do not look at cards. Designate one player as scorekeeper, who should make a chart with each player's name. Place the remaining pile of cards face down in the middle of the table. The table will hold two piles; one of turned-down, unplayed cards and another of players' discarded cards after each turn of the game.

Begin play with the person to the left of the dealer. As the first player, he has only two choices: Flip up one of his six turned-down cards or choose a card from the turned-down pile to replace one of his cards. He then discards a card to start a new face-up pile next to the deck. All ensuing players have three choices: Flip up one face-down card, take the top card from the turned-down (unplayed) pile or the top face-up card from the discard pile.

Continue play around the circle, with each player either flipping up a card or choosing one from the piles.

Replace cards in your pile to get a lower point total. If you have a queen showing face up, which is worth 25 points, substitute the card out for a lower point card such as a 2 or 3, if one is showing in the discard pile.

Play around the circle until cards become locked, which is when both cards in the two rows of three are face up. For example, if a player has two rows of three cards, and the two cards in the middle are face up, they become locked. The same goes for the two cards on either end (the one on the top row and the one in the row directly below it.) Because these cards may not be substituted, players cannot do anything with them. Once one player has all six cards face up, the game goes into its final round.

Choose a last card from the deck to substitute for something in your pile, or flip over a card. Each player gets one last round after the first person's cards are showing. This is the final opportunity to dump as many points as possible.

Add up each player's point total and mark it on the scorecard. The person sitting to the left of the previous dealer begins dealing the next round.


About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.