Closest to the Hole: Curling Game

Short Game Practice: Curling Game

As you know I’m a big fan of competition to help improve your skills. I especially love competing for a few dollars around the green. This curling game is a long-time favourite of mine and I’ve played it with many students and other professionals. It only takes about 20-40 minutes to play and I think you’ll find that your focus remains high throughout that time. Additionally, I find it helps to see how other players are playing similar shots (maybe you can learn a new technique).

How to Play

  • 2 Players
  • 3 Balls each
  • Every ball is a dropped lie (knee height)
  • Player 1 picks the hole and plays his first shot with Player 2 following with his first shot. Keep alternating until each player has hit his 3 shots


  • The closest ball to the hole gets the point, plus additional points for any ball that is closer to the hole than the competitors BEST (closest) shot.
  • If you hole-out it’s 2 points plus the additional balls you played that are closer than your competitors best shot.
  • The maximum points you can win is 6 if you hole out all three shots.
  • If both players hole out, those shots cancel, and the next closest ball gets the point(s).
  • Typical games go to 20 points

* For the low-handicappers: If you miss the green with a shot you lose a point. This makes things a little trickier when faced with difficult shots. Considering missing the green is a short game error (, I really like this added rule.

One of the reasons I enjoy this game so much is that I’m so focused while playing. I feel like it gets me ready to hit shots on the course when I’m under the gun rather than just going through the motions and hitting 20 shots to the same pin. Mix it up and test yourself with different lies. Part of the skill in golf is learning how to be able to predict how the ball is going to come out of each lie.

With the right partner I could play this game for hours as it’s great competition to help improve your skills.

Give it a try next time you’re out practicing.

Have fun,


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