Heuchert Family rules for Nine Card Golf
Players, Cards, and Deals
Nine card Golf is a card game for two or more players, in which the object is to score as little
as possible, as in the sport of Golf. In front of each player is a layout of cards arranged in a
square, and players improve their scores by drawing new cards to replace unwanted cards,
which they discard. The scores at the end of the play are sometimes considered as
representing the number of strokes taken to play a hole of golf. Each deal is seen as the
equivalent of a hole of Golf, and a complete game consists of 9 or 18 deals (corresponding to
the length of a Golf course) at the end of which the player with the lowest total score wins.
Three standard 52-card decks with Jokers are used. We've played with two, three and
four players with three decks. We suspect that another deck may need to be added if
there are more than five players. The deal and play are clockwise.
The dealer deals nine cards to each player, one at a time. Each player's cards are
arranged face down in a three by three square in front of each player like this:
Copyright 2009 Len and Bev heuchert
The remaining undealt cards are placed face-down in the center of the table to form a
drawing stock. The top card of the stock is turned face up and placed beside the stock
to start the discard pile.
Before play begins, each player turns any three of their layout cards face-up. After this,
remaining face-down layout cards may not be looked at until they are turned over or
discarded during play or are scored at the end of the play.
The player to the dealer's left begins, and the turn to play passes clockwise. At your
turn you must either draw the top card of the face-down stock, or draw the top discard.
The drawn card may be used to replace any of the cards in your layout. You may
choose to replace one of the face-down cards of your layout, but you are not allowed to
look at any of your layout cards before deciding which to replace. You place the drawn
card face-up in your layout, and discard the card that previously occupied that position,
putting it face-up on top of the discard pile. It is then the next player's turn.
NOTE: If you drew the card from the stock and decide that you do not want to use it in
your layout, you may simply discard the drawn card face up on the discard pile, and it
is then the next player's turn. However, if you chose to take the discard, you must use
it to replace one of your layout cards - you cannot simply put it back on the discard
pile, leaving the situation as it was.
Ending the play
After a player's last face-down card is exposed, each of the other players plays one
more turn before the hand is scored.
At the end of the play, any remaining face-down cards in each player's layout are
turned face-up. Pairs of horizontally and vertically adjacent cards are considered to be
zeroed out. A card may be used in more than one pairing (such are the case where
you have three 3s in a triangle wherein the 3 in the corner would be paired both
horizontally and vertically.) For example:
9 Cards, dealt face-down to each player
Example with the three
3s creating 2 pairs,
zeroing them all out.
The remaining single cards are scored as follows:
End of the game
Variant rules under consideration:
The player who has the lowest cumulative score after nine deals wins.
(If you want a longer game you can play 18 holes (deals) instead of 9.)
After turning up the three cards, you may rearrange the cards of your layout
(without looking at any of the face-down cards) so as to place your face-up cards
in any desired positions.
Award a negative score of -25 points, for four equal cards arranged in two
columns (for example two columns each containing two sevens.)
The player who first turns up their last card (goes out) but turns out not to have
the lowest score is penalized by having to take a score equal to the highest
scoring player for that hand.
Origin of this page
Sources of Golf Rules/Variations we found on
This game was originally shown to us (Leonard and Beverly Heuchert) by Fran and Linnea
Bolm formerly of Escanaba, Mi. currently of Casa Grande, AZ. After playing a while and
showing a number of our friends and family how to play, we realized we had questions about
some of the rules. When researching them on the web (with the help of our son Stephen) we
found that there was no clear set of rules. This page is our attempt to identify which set of
rules we are playing and also provide links to the references we found for the card game of
We thank John McLeod and his "Rules of Card Games: Golf" page which, in our opinion, is
an excellent tour of the many variations of the Golf Card Game. We crafted much of this page
based on what we saw in his write up of the game of Golf.
He has more links to variations of Golf at his page.
This page created by Stephen Moraco, originally, 17 September 2005
Each numeral card scores face value (Ace=1, Two=2, etc.)
Each Jack or Queen scores 10 points.
Each King scores zero points.
Each Joker scores -2 points.