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Each month we will try to bring to you straightforward examples of popular - and not so popular - games on the course; games that will make your rounds more challenging and fun to play. In this next installment of Game of the Month, we'll tackle one of the most popular games to play: 'Nassau.'

Ever been asked to play '2-2-2'? You've been invited to play a game of Nassau. Nassau is actually three games in one - a game on the front nine, a game on the back nine, and a game on the 'aggie' (the entire eighteen holes). The 2's refer to 2 balls, or 2 dollars, 2 meals, or 2 of something else. As a result, the total wager is six of whatever you are betting.

Each Nassau game can be match play, medal play, or both (e.g. '3-3-3 match & medal'). In match play, players keep track of who wins each hole on the front nine, restart the match on the back nine, and then sum up the two to find out who wins the total. Play can be between individuals or teams (a great game for a foursome). In team play, everyone uses their net score and plays off of the lowest player's handicap.
The most interesting part of Nassau is the ability for a losing team to Press. Pressing is when a team that is down begins a new wager from that hole to the end of the orignal bet. This new wager is worth the same amount as the original wager.

For example, a team that is down 2 on the 7th hole may choose to press their front nine bet. This means that a second bet will begin on the 7th tee and continue for three holes (ending on the ninth green). If the team wins the 7th, 8th, and 9th holes than they will not only end up +1 on their original front nine bet, but also +3 on their press bet. If the front nine bet was for two balls, then after the ninth hole they will be up four balls (two for the original bet, and two for the press bet).

Of course, there is no obligation for the competitors to accept a press bet (though sometimes it is agreed that all presses must be accepted), but it is generally considered bad form for them to turn it down. In fact, if team A pressed and team B then found themselves down a hole, they could start a second press bet to recover their bet (and in the process raising the stakes even further).
Because of the inherent danger in escalating press bets, most groups like to outline a few guidelines on presses. We've listed a few examples below. Feel free to employ any that you feel will be useful:
  • Presses are only allowed when a team has won the original wager (e.g. up three holes with two to go).
  • Presses are only allowed on the last three holes of each nine.
  • Presses are only allowed when a team is down by at least two holes.
  • A maximum of two presses per eighteen holes are allowed. Both presses can be on the same nine.

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