GOLF GAME / How do you play the golf game “Hammer”?

Hammer is a variation on Skins golf where the bet per hole can escalate very quickly.

Jason Day is back in Australia to play the Emirates Australian Open and he told the media he has been playing some “Hammer” golf with a few of his old mates.

So what is the Hammer golf game? Well, it’s a golf game you should play with caution. It’s a variation of Skins, in that you play against your playing partners for money per hole. But instead of playing for a set amount each hole, the purse per hole doubles each time someone says “hammer”.

Here is how it works.

The game is usually played between two players (or two teams) and before the round a bet per hole is agreed upon. Let’s say for example, it’s $1.

At any point after the beginning of the round, one player can “hammer” the other, which doubles the bet for the hole. If Golfer A says “hammer” the bet is now doubled and the right to call the next “hammer” goes to Golfer B. It rotates between the two players (or teams).

The player with the fewest number of shots wins whatever the bet stands at. If there have been no ‘hammers’ then in our example the winning golfer would win $1. But in some cases the final bet can be quite high depending on how many times it was hammered.

A word of caution. Things can get out of hand quite quickly with Hammer so don’t think wisely before deciding on that initial bet per hole. It can be just as much fun playing for points and an agreed upon winning (or losing bet) is paid out at the end of the round.

There are a few variations on Hammer. Some golfers play the “air-hammer” option where you can only call “hammer” if the golf ball is in the air, and before it has hit the ground.

Also, some golfers chose to carry over the bet if the hole is halved, while others have been known limit the number of times one can hammer each hole which limits the total bet.

Playing for money is not as prevalent on Australian golf courses as it is in the USA and it can be useful to see how your golf game performs under pressure. But please don’t bet beyond your means.

If need be, just play for a beer or two – enough to get the knees knocking a little.

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