The 1st Nassau match was played in 1900 at the Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, New York

How to score a 5 dollar Nassau 
with automatic 2 down presses


A Nassau bet, or match, is a match play wager that is actually three wagers in one. It is a match play wager on the entire eighteen holes, it is a match play wager on the first nine, and it is a match play wager on the second nine. The amount of money bet usually ranges from $2.00 on up. The normal bet or game, is a $2.00 Nassau. That means that you have a $2.00 bet for the first nine holes, a $2.00 bet for the second nine holes, and a $2.00 bet for the entire eighteen holes. 

So, it is possible to win or lose up to $6.00. If you are playing a $20.00 Nassau, your potential win or lose would be $60.00.

The vast majority of golfers who do this type of wagering, fall into the $2.00 to $5.00 category.

A common variation of the Nassau is to add a bet called "a press". A press is an additional bet that takes place when one team is down by two holes or more. For example, after completion of the seventh hole, team A may be down two holes to team B and they may press that team an additional bet $2.00 bet for the remainder of the nine holes in play at the time of the press. If for example team A is 2 holes down to team B after 7 holes, this means that the" press" is actually a bet for the 8th and 9th holes only. Presses as you can imagine can become quite confusing and their outcome quite stunning.


Keep in mind also there are two different types of presses. There are optional presses, and there are automatic presses. Automatic presses automatically become effective when one team is two holes down. The optional press; the down team has the right to increase the wager or "press", and the leading team has the right to decline the wager. A situation, for example, where the wager may be declined, however its considered very un-sportsman-like, might be again, team A presses team B on the ninth tee after being two holes down on the eighth, but both players on team A have strokes as a result of the handicap. So, team B declines because they believe the advantage would be too strong in team As favor.

The automatic press is just that, it is announced and agreed upon before the golf match begins and must be defined as to how many holes down a side must be before the press takes affect. Normally the press begins when one team leads by 2 holes.

We have created the following scorecard sequence in an attempt to make "the press" and its scoring a little clearer. In this match all of the golfers agreed to a $5 Nassau with automatic presses, no additional bets. The first card shows the initial scorecard set up with each stroke a player is to receive checked off on the card. Please note that the strokes are given not by the golf course but by the lowest handicap golfer, that being Adam at 7. You will also note that they are playing to full handicap. (Although this is not un-common it is also fairly common for golfers to set up their matches and bets based on 90% of handicap.) With the handicaps set up at full, you can see that Adam, a 14 handicap gets 7 strokes from his partner Alan, on team B, Bill a 12-handicap gets 5 strokes from Alan, and lastly Bob a 9 handicap gets 2 strokes from Alan.  (For additional information on handicap see our section on golfing handicaps.) You might also note that Team A consists of the highest and lowest handicapped golfers in the group with Team B being the 2 "mid range" handicappers. This is considered a fair and equitable way to set up the teams in a group playing a round of golf with a "friendly wager" just to keep it interesting.

The golf score card as we know it today dates back to 1908, 
prior to that the handicap holes were listed on the back of the card if at all.

So far so good ? Now let's take a look at what is going on after a couple holes, it seems as though Team B has jumped off into a 2 hole lead in spite of Alan being even par. 

Note that Team A is doing the scoring, thus the minus(-) in the +/-r column.

Because it is so early in the match to have a press, which as we explained above is a "new match" based on the remaining holes on the outbound nine we think is is best to establish some kind of indicator to that affect, so we simply draw a bold line on the scorecard after hole 2 and before 3 like shown below and continue our match....

Oh my, at this stage it looks like Alan and Adam have run into a couple buzz saws, Alan is even par after 4 holes and they are down 4, starting a second press and Team B at this stage is 5 under par net, Team A maybe be thinking about going fishing next Saturday instead of playing golf...

With the real possibility of the match getting way out hand we add another line to indicate the start of the next press, and make a couple margin notes to help keep things straight, after all Alan is having a little trouble keeping it together right now and doesn't need any scorecard confusion. Therefore he writes a -2 next to the 1st 2holes indicating team A's status in the match at that point, he then writes a -4/-2 next to the next 2 holes indicating that he and Adam are 4 down in the 1st nine holes of the Nassau, and 2 down in the 1st press

At this point Team B seems to have slowed down a bit and Team A has held their composure enough that they have won 2 in a row tying Team B in the 2nd press and forcing the start of a third press.

Team A then continues to light up the front nine winning the final 5 holes resulting in Team A wining the side and all four presses for a smooth $25. The scorecard below indicates the proper scoring for the fateful turn of events.

You can see that after the 6th hole Team A was 2 down in the match, even on the 1st press,  and 2 up on the second press. Not the markings -2/E +2. Then after the 8th hole the match is even, Team is 2 up on the 1st press, 4 up on the 2nd press and 2 up on the 3rd press with a 4th and final press for the front 9 about to begin on the number 9 tee. As could be expected at this point Team A wins the 9th hole and the status of the 1st nines wagering is duly recorded on the bottom of the card for easy reference after the second nine.

As you can see from the above things seemed to settle down bit on the 2nd nine with holes 10-12 being tied, Team B winning 13 & 14 to force a press which they hung onto to win. The net result being, Team A won the front nine and 4 presses, Team B won the the match, the back 9 and a press, the net result being Team A wins $10.

To learn more about golfing handicaps and wagering continue your search here......

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