How to play Golf: the card game

Yesterday, I promised that I would tell you how to play a card game called Golf. Some friends from church taught us, and it’s a lot of fun.

In Golf, as in regular golf, the object is to be the player with the lowest score. We play nine hands, like you could play nine holes of golf, but you could choose any number of hands to play. The point value of the cards are as follows: Queens and Jacks are ten points each, number cards are the number on the card, Aces are one point, Kings are zero points, and Jokers are negative two points.

Deal each player (up to 6) nine cards, face-down. Remaining cards form the draw pile. Players arrange their cards, without looking at them, in a three-by-three grid. Each person flips any two cards face-up, keeping them in the same position.

On the first person’s turn, draw a card. If you would like to keep that card (if it has a low value), you can either trade one of the cards that’s face-up and put that card into the discard pile OR you can trade it for a card that’s face-down. In that case, flip the face-down card, replace it with the card you’ve drawn, and put the card you just flipped into the discard pile. There is some risk involved here, because you might get rid of a great card. But sometimes you just have to do it.

Play continues to the left. The next player can either draw from the draw pile, or take the top card from the discard pile.

As the game goes on, if a player has an entire row of the same card (for example, three fives in a row), that entire row is removed from the grid. This is key to having a low score. Once there are only two rows of three left in your array, then you only need two of the same value of card in order to eliminate another row.

It’s possible to end the game with no cards left in your array!

When one player’s cards are all turned face-up, that signals the last round for everyone else. Each player (except the one with all cards showing) will get one more turn. When all players have completed their final turn, any cards that are still face-down are flipped up. Calculate your score and record it.

The player with the lowest score after the designated number of rounds wins the game.

This is a great game for kids to develop a concrete understanding of negative numbers, as well as practicing simple addition facts. We have been amazed at, after numerous rounds of Golf, Sydney’s ability to calculate her score. She has learned to add 10 to any single-digit number, subtract 2 easily, and has mastered counting on as an addition strategy. The symbols on the number cards really help with her addition understanding.

Does your family like to play cards? What games are your favorites? We are always up to learn new games!

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photo by: Asim Bijarani

40 comments to How to play Golf: the card game

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