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Sports Betting News

Nassau Betting in Golf: A Comprehensive Guide
Published Dec 9, 2023
by Gil Larson

Nassau betting, a time-honored tradition in the world of golf, offers a unique and engaging way to add excitement to any round. Originating from the prestigious Nassau Country Club in New York, this betting format has become a favorite among golfers of all skill levels. Largely known for its simplicity yet strategic depth, Nassau betting breaks the game into three distinct segments, allowing players to compete over the front nine, the back nine, and the total 18 holes.

Nassau betting is also commonly known by other names such as “Best Nines,” “2-2-2,” or “3-3-3,” referring to the typical monetary values assigned to each of the three bets (front nine, back nine, and overall 18 holes).

Gol ball sitting near the green on a fairway

The Basics of Nassau Betting

Nassau betting is elegantly straightforward, comprising three separate bets: one for the front nine holes, one for the back nine, and one for the overall 18-hole game. This structure allows players to engage in multiple contests within a single round of golf. The beauty of Nassau betting lies in its flexibility; it can be played with or without handicaps, making it accessible for golfers of varying abilities. The format encourages a dynamic game where each segment of the course offers a fresh start and a new opportunity for victory.

Let’s illustrate with a hypothetical example featuring well-known golfers: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth.

Imagine these players competing in a friendly round with a Nassau bet. The stakes are set at $10 for each of the three bets: the front nine, the back nine, and the total 18 holes. On the front nine, Tiger Woods excels, earning him the first bet. However, Rory McIlroy makes a comeback on the back nine, winning that segment. The overall 18-hole game, with ups and downs from all players, is eventually won by Jordan Spieth, who maintains the most consistent performance throughout the round.

This scenario demonstrates how Nassau betting keeps the game interesting, with each segment of the course offering a new opportunity for victory. It also shows how the format can accommodate fluctuations in players’ performances, making every part of the round significant.

Setting Up a Nassau Bet

Initiating a Nassau bet is part of the game’s social charm. Typically, the stakes for each of the three bets are agreed upon before the round begins. These stakes can vary widely, depending on the players’ preferences and comfort levels. It’s important to establish clear terms and ensure all players understand the rules and stakes involved. Negotiating these terms can be a playful and integral part of the Nassau experience, setting the stage for a friendly yet competitive round of golf.

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Strategies for Winning at Nassau

Success in Nassau betting requires a blend of skill and strategy. For the front nine, it’s often wise to start conservatively, gauging your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. As the game progresses to the back nine, where players might feel more pressure, adaptability becomes key. Understanding the course layout and how it aligns with your strengths can give you an edge. Additionally, maintaining a steady performance throughout the 18 holes is crucial, as the cumulative score can often be the deciding factor in Nassau betting.

Nassau Betting with Handicaps

Incorporating handicaps in Nassau betting can level the playing field, making the game more competitive and enjoyable for golfers of different skill levels. Handicaps adjust the playing field, giving each player a fair chance to compete. This addition can change the strategy significantly, as players must consider not only their own playing ability but also how their handicap adjusts their score in relation to their opponents.

Psychological Aspects of Nassau Betting

Nassau betting isn’t just a physical challenge; it’s a mental one as well. The format can create psychological pressure, especially in close matches. Managing this pressure, maintaining focus, and staying mentally resilient are crucial. The ability to keep a cool head, particularly during the back nine or when a segment is closely contested, can often be the difference between winning and losing.

Variations of Nassau Betting

Nassau betting is known for its variations, the most common being “presses.” A press is a new bet that starts during the round, usually initiated by a player who is losing. It adds an extra layer of excitement and strategy, as it can change the course of the game and provide opportunities for comebacks. Using our previous hypothetical, let’s look at an example of what this might look like.

HoleTiger WoodsRory McIlroyJordan Spieth
Front Nine333636
Back Nine383135

In this scenario:

  • Tiger Woods wins the front nine with a score of 33.
  • Rory McIlroy wins the back nine with a score of 31, including winning the press bet initiated at the 10th hole.
  • Rory McIlroy also wins the overall 18-hole bet with the lowest total score of 67.

Nassau Betting in Tournament Play

While traditionally a casual betting format, Nassau betting has found its way into tournament play, adding an extra layer of excitement for both players and spectators. In tournaments, Nassau betting can intensify the competition, especially when players are closely matched in skill. The format has been used in famous golf tournaments, adding a strategic dimension to the game and showcasing the players’ adaptability and mental toughness.


Nassau betting is more than just a wager; it’s a way to enhance the game of golf, adding strategic depth and psychological intrigue. Whether playing casually with friends or in a more competitive tournament setting, Nassau betting offers a unique and enjoyable experience. It encourages players to focus on each part of the game, adapt their strategies, and manage the psychological pressures of competition. For those looking to add an extra dimension to their golf game, Nassau betting is an excellent choice.