Ladder Golf: Don’t you just love it when you get a “tight dangle bonus”?

Ladder Golf is a backyard game played with 2 – 4 players or 2 teams. Each player or team will get three bolas and they throw at the steps/rungs of the ladder with the object to get the bola to stay on a rung of the ladder. The bolas are typically thrown underhand and will score 3 points if the bola hangs on the top rung, 2 points if it hangs on the middle rung and 1 point if it hangs on the bottom rung. It is legal for the bolas to bounce off of the ground before hanging from a rung.

Ladder golf players tossing bolas
Ladder golf players tossing bolas



Assemble the ladder golf game and set the two ladders up 15 feet or five strides apart. When throwing the bolas, one player or team will throw all three of their bolas and then the other player or team will throw. A player may step up even with the front of the ladder they are standing next to when throwing.

If playing singles, both opponents’ stand at the same ladder and throw to the other one. If playing teams, one team member is at each ladder. When a round is completed and the score is tallied, the two playing singles throw from the other side, or if playing teams, the other two members throw from the other ladder.

To decide who throws first, you could flip a coin or play rock-paper-scissors. The winner would have the choice to throw first or second



How would you score this
How would you score this?

When scoring the points as mentioned at the top of this post, (3 points top rung, 2 points middle rung, 1 point bottom rung) opponents’ points cancel each other out if on the same rung. For example, if team A had a bola on the lowest rung and so did team B, neither would get points. However, if team A also had a bola on the top rung (3 pts) and Team B also had a bola on the middle rung(2 pts), the score would be 3-2. The person or team with the highest score for that round would get to throw first in the next round.

There is not a set number of rounds, instead the game is played in rounds until one team or player gets 21 points, without going over. If a player would go over 21, any points that they score during that round will not count.

Some ladder golf games that you buy will come with a sliding score system on the side pole of the game. It may be a rubber band that moves along the numbers or a magnet system that you move for points earned.



  • Ladder: a structure made of wood, steel or PVC piping, with 3 rungs, to throw the bolas at
  • Bola: balls, either golf balls or something of similar weight, tied on a nylon rope
  • Tight dangle bonus: when the bola is wrapped tight around the rung, resulting in an extra point being awarded.
  • Springboard bonus: this is when the bola comes off the rung and launches back in the direction of the person who threw it. This results in an extra point being awarded.


VARIATIONS to the Game:

  • Score the rungs with the top being 1 point, the middle 2 points, and the bottom rung 3 points
  • Place ladders closer together for children
  • Award extra points for getting all three bolas on the same rung (10 points) or for a team who gets one bola on each of the three rungs.
  • Could have players alternate throwing their bolas in a round or have a team throw all three of theirs before the opponent throws.
  • Can play with or without the springboard bonus and the tight dangle bonus.



If you choose to throw your bolas second instead of first, you have the advantage of knowing what points you need to cancel theirs out or to gain points. A player may also legally knock an opponents’ bola off a rung and if that happens the opponent would not get those points.

When throwing the bola a player should use a straight pendulum swing and pay attention to the point of release as they throw towards the ladder.


This is one of those backyard lawn games that a person can make if they want to build one instead of purchasing one. However, if you were going to purchase a ladder golf game, pick one that has a good solid base which keeps it from falling over when the bolas hit it. Check the PVC pipes to be sure that they are thick enough and sturdy or they will not last long and will break after limited use. I have had sets with PVC rungs that break with occasional use. They do make steel or wood ladder golf sets as well.

Bolas can be cheap as well, so see how well they are made or you will end up replacing them once they break off of the rope. You can purchase replacement bolas but they will cost around $20. Take into consideration the process of assembly. If you will be breaking the ladder golf set down each time you use it, so you can store it easier consider a set that does not have to be bolted together each time you use it.

Some people do choose to build their own ladder golf/toss game: see this video to build your own. If building your own, be sure to buy the PVC that is thicker to keep it from breaking. Hope you are handy.  If you want to purchase a set of Ladder Golf, click here.

Get outside and have some fun playing Ladder Golf!





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