golf rules title

OBJECTIVE OF GOLF THE CARD GAME: The objective is to score the lowest number of points.


NUMBER OF CARDS: 1 to 3 decks, depending on variation and number of players.

RANK OF CARDS: Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A, K



Golf the card game is a widespread game but seldom documented in card-playing books. This is a consequence of the many names the game bears, it is also known as Polish Polka or Polish Poker, and the 4-card version is sometimes referred to as Turtle.

The 6-card variation of Golf is also known as Hara Kiri and the 9-card game is often called Crazy Nines. On this page, you will learn how to play and the golf card game rules for all variant card games.


This is the most commonly played form of the card game Golf. The game uses a standard 52 card deck for 2-8 players, if there are more than 8 players who wish to play, two decks may be combined.

four card golf


Both the deal and the play pass clockwise. The dealer will then hand each player 4 cards, one card at a time. These cards are to be placed face-down in the shape of a square.

The cards that were not dealt then form a draw pile. The top card is drawn, and then the player places the drawn card face up to become the discard pile.

golf setup

Before the play begins, players can look, only once, at the two cards nearest to them in their square layout. These cards must be kept secret from other players. Players may not look at the cards in their layout again unless they are discarding them during play or scoring them at the end of the game.

golf peeking cards


The player left of the dealer starts and play passes on clockwise. A turn offers players three options:

Players may draw a card from the draw pile. You may use this card to replace any four cards in your layout, but you cannot look at the face of the card you are replacing. Try and remember which card is the replacement. Move the card you choose to replace in your layout to the discard pile of face up cards. You can draw from this pile and simply discard the card, face-up, without using it.

golf playing cards

Players may draw a card from the discard pile. Since these cards are face-up, you must use one to replace a card in your layout, then discard it. You may not put the drawn card back in the pile without changing your layout.

golf discard cards

Players can also choose to knock. After you knock your turn is over. Play moves on in a normal fashion, other players may draw or discard, but they cannot knock. The play ends afterward.

golf knocking

*Note: If you peep at your cards in your face-down layout, the card you look at must be discarded.


Scoring occurs at the end of each play. All player’s cards are flipped face-up for scoring.

  • number cards equal their face value, Ace = 1, Two = 2, etc.
  • Jack and Queen = 10 points
  • King = 0 points

The player with the lowest total score, summed after nine plays, is the winner.

golf scoring


In 6-card Golf pairs in a column score 0 points. The objective then in 6-card Golf is to make as many pairs as possible while keeping the unpaired cards a low denomination.

six card golf


In a game with 2-4 players, a standard 52-card deck will suffice. Games with 4-8 players use two packs and games with more than 8 use three. Both the deal and the play move clockwise. Dealers deal 6 cards to each player, one at a time, to form a rectangular layout. 

The cards that were not dealt form a draw pile. The top card is moved face-up and placed beside the draw pile, this card forms the discard pile. Before the play begins, players may flip any two cards in their layout face-up. No other cards may be looked at unless they are being discarded or if the situation is called for during game play.


The player left of the deal starts and then play is passed on clockwise. During your turn, you may either draw from the draw or discard pile. Drawn cards may be used to replace any 6 cards in your layout. However, if you choose to replace a face-down card you may not look at it before doing so. Place the new card face-up in your layout and then the old card face-up on the discard pile.

Cards drawn from the face-down pile may be discarded without being used. Cards from the discard pile must be used to replace a card your layout.

Play ends when all player’s cards are face-up and scoring begins.


Scoring occurs at the end of each play. All player’s cards are flipped face-up for scoring.

  • Ace = 1 point
  • Two = -2 points
  • Number cards 3-10 = face value
  • Jack and Queen = 10 points
  • King = 0 points
  • Equal cards in the same column scores = 0 points (including twos)

The player with the lowest total score, summed after nine plays, is the winner.


Eight Card Golf is played almost identically to six card Golf, however, the layout is 2 rows of four cards as opposed to three. One deck is used in games with 2-4 players and more decks may be added as needed. The dealer then deals each player (starting to their left) eight cards, one at a time, in a rectangular layout (4×2). The cards that were not dealt then form a draw pile. The top card is moved face-up and placed beside the draw pile, this card forms the discard pile. The player left of the deal then starts and play passes on clockwise.

eight card golf


Players begin their turn by turning two cards in one column face-up. Players then may draw cards from the draw or discard pile, giving them three options:

  1. Use a drawn card to replace a face-up card. Discard the face-up card, face-up, in the discard pile.
  2. Use a drawn card to replace a face-down card. The card you wish to replace cannot be looked at beforehand. After it is replaced, discard it face-up in the discard pile.
  3. If the drawn card was from the face-down draw pile, discard it face-up on top of the discard pile. Flip one of the face-down cards in one’s personal layout face-up.

After every player has their first turn, each player can turn 2 or 3 cards face-up. Play continues in the same direction.

If a layout has one face-down card remaining one may still draw a card from the draw pile and discard it without looking at the last card. When one player’s layout is face-up one turn each remains. Other players’ remaining face-down cards are flipped after the last turns and scoring beings.


  • Jokers = -5 points
  • Kings = 0 points
  • Jacks and Queens = 10 points
  • Aces = 1 point
  • Number cards 2-10 = face value
  • Pair in a column = 0 points
  • 2 pairs in 2 columns = -10 points

Having a negative score is possible. The player with the lowest total score, summed after nine plays, is the winner.


Nine Card Golf is better known as Crazy Nines or Nines. This variant is played with 2 standard decks. The layout is nine cards in a 3×3 square. Three cards are turned face-up to begin play. The same rules as 6-card Golf apply, except pairs do not score zero points, three matching cards in a column score zero points. In the event you have two intersecting rows of equal cards, players must before the game consider how to score this. Many players will remove the block or line of equal cards.

nine card golf


This game must be played with at least two standard card decks. Players are dealt 5 cards in the same fashion as other versions of Golf, in a 5×2 rectangular layout. Any two cards may be flipped face-up. From then on, 6-card Golf card game rules apply.

ten card golf

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How many decks of cards are used for Golf?

One to three decks are used depending on which version of the game and how many players will be participating.

How are jokers used in Golf?

Jokers are only used in certain variations. They tend to be worth negative points and in some cases have special abilities to shuffle other players layouts.

Is it possible to play golf with 2 players?

yes, all the included golf variations above allow for 2-player games.

How do win a game of Golf the card game?

The goal of Golf is to have the lwoest score at the end of a predetermined number of deals.

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11 thoughts on “GOLF CARD GAME RULES”

    • Hi Warren, The game is played slightly differently depending on the version you are playing. For Four card Golf, players continue playing until they knock, once both players knock scoring can begin. For all other versions, scoring starts once all players’ cards are all face up.

    • Hi, knocking allows a player to basically pass their turn without having to draw and affect their layout. This will also end the round after once each other player has had one last turn. Knocking can only be done by one person per round.

  1. For 8 card golf, if you have to Kings in one column is that 0 points or is that considered a pair and would be -10 points if there’s an additional pair in another column

    • Hello Carol, if you have a pair of kings in one column and another pair in a separate column then it is worth negative 10 points. I hope this helps.

  2. Is there such a thing as getting 4 corners or postage stamp with same #. I was taught that is worth minus 25. I see no mention of that

    • Hi Deb, the only mentions of a “4-corner” rule was as a variation of the game that added 20 points to all players. It very well may be a local or regional variation. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I just learned 9-card Golf and if you were the first player to go out and one of the other players had a lower score, you get an extra 10 points – not a good thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

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