Ladder golf, which also goes by the names monkey ball and hillbilly golf, is a pretty entertaining backyard sport, sort of like Whiffle Ball. You will need to invest in some specialized equipment before playing the game.
The game is played as either a 1 vs. 1 game or in team matches, consisting of up to 3 members per team. The goal of the game is to score exactly 21 points when a round comes to an end.
To get started, you will have to have a set of bolas, as well as the ladders. If you want to build the ladders on your own, you will have to pay close attention to the rulebook’s specifications regarding the ladder’s dimensions.
Typically, a ladder in ladder golf stands 39 inches tall, 24 inches wide, and has feet that measure 37 inches in length with 13″ between the ladder rungs.
Check out the drawing with detailed sizes below.
Constructing a Ladder for Ladder Golf
You can either purchase a ladder from an online retailer or build your own. In fact, building your own ladder for ladder golf is pretty straightforward, as long as you have the following materials and supplies (enough for 2 ladders):
- 38 feet of ¾-inch PVC Straight Pipes
- 4 ¾-inch PVC Elbow Fittings (90°)
- 12 ¾-inch PVC Tee Fittings
- PVC Cement
There are 3 main parts of the ladder to consider: the Upright Beams, the Rungs (crossbeams), and the Feet. If you have the materials on hand, we can start constructing the ladder golf per the official size requirements.
- Prepare the Upright Beams by cutting 12 13-inch sections from the ¾-inch PVC Straight Pipes.
- Connect 3 13-inch sections using 2 Tee Fittings. At the very top, connect 1 Elbow Fitting. Repeat this step 3 more times to create 4 Upright Beams for the 2 Ladders.
- Prepare the Rungs by cutting 6 24-inch sections from the ¾-inch PVC Straight Pipes.
- Connect 3 24-inch sections to the 2 Elbow and 4 Tee Fittings from 2 Upright Beams. Repeat this step 1 more time to create 6 Rungs for the 2 Ladders.
- Connect 1 Tee Fitting onto the bottom of each Upright Beam.
- Prepare both sections of the Feet by cutting 4 24-inch sections and 4 13-inch sections from the ¾-inch PVC Straight Pipes.
- Connect 1 24-inch section and 1 13-inch section to the Tee Fitting on the bottom of each Upright Beam.
- After determining all of the PVC and fittings fit snugly together, dismantle the Ladder and reassemble the Ladder with PVC cement.
Creating the Bolas
The second piece of equipment used to play ladder golf is the bolas, also known as the bollards. The bola consists of 2 balls of equal size and weight connected nylon rope. The balls of equal size and weight can be golf balls, but traditionally, ladder golf uses rubber balls that bounce when they hit the ground. The bola should measure 20 inches from end to end.
For simplicity’s sake, we are going to use golf balls to construct the bolas. You will need:
- 11 feet of ¼-inch Nylon Rope
- 12 Golf Balls
- Drill Press or Power Drill with ¼-inch Drill Bit
- Lighter (optional)
And here’s how you make the bolas:
- Divide the 11 feet of ¼-inch Nylon Rope into 20 equal sections measuring 22 inches long.
- Using a Drill Press or Power Drill fitted with a ¼-inch Drill Bit, drill one hole into each ball directly through the center.
- Slip each end of 1 22-inch section of ¼-inch Nylon Rope into 2 Golf Balls before tying the ends.
- Using a lighter, slowly melt the ends of the Nylon Rope, so they don’t become undone during gameplay (optional).
FAQ About Ladder Golf
1. How do you play ladder golf?
The official rules of ladder golf can be found here. However, as a backyard sport, the rules can be tweaked as needed, as long as all players can agree to the pointing system. The official rules state that the team to score a total of 21 points exactly after the end of a round wins.
2. How far should you place the ladders from each other?
The official rules state that the toss lines for each team should be 15 feet away. The toss line is determined by the position of the upright beams. So, the distance between the upright beams of opposing ladders must be 15 feet. Again, you can tweak the rules as you see fit—i.e., the ladders can be closer or farther, depending on how much free space you have in your backyard.
3. Can you disturb other players while they toss the bolas?
Yes, you can. However, there are limits to this rule. For instance, other players cannot touch the bola thrower, jump in front of them before they toss the bola, or walk to the other ladder until the round ends. Jumping, shouting, and yelling obscenities at the opposing team’s thrower are all acceptable, as long as all players have agreed.
4. How many people can play ladder golf at a time?
Traditionally, ladder golf is played by 2 (1 vs. 1) or 4 (2 vs. 2) people. However, there are some versions of ladder ball where there are 3 members of each team. The points system must be adjusted to accommodate all players and make reaching an exact score possible.
5. How do you score a game of ladder golf?
In an official game of ladder ball, the scoring system is as follows:
Top Rung = 3 points
Middle Rung = 2 points
Bottom Rung = 1 point
If you manage to wrap the rope of a bola around any of the rungs, you score as many points as that rung is worth. However, if you knock off a bola while tossing another bola, you do not earn points from the dislodged bola. In addition, you can bounce bolas off the ground before they wrap around a rung and still earn points.
Ladder golf is a fun backyard sport to play during barbecues or when you and your family have time off. In this guide, I explained how to construct your own ladder golf ladder, and bolas. Even though the standard dimensions of a ladder golf ladder are 39 inches tall, 24 inches wide, and the feet measure 37 inches in length, you can adjust the dimensions as you see fit.
Please let your friends know they can construct their own ladder golf ladders by sharing this guide with them. Also, if you’ve ever played ladder golf before, please share some pointers on how you play the game in the comments section.