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Wolf Hammer – The Most Dangerous Game

THE BACKSTORY
Back in May I was in Greenville, South Carolina, and received a Twitter direct message from a “Kenny Goulet,” inviting me to come out to Greenville Country Club. I told him I’d be there, rain or shine. Little did I know this invitation would change my life forever.

As I often find myself, I showed up to play with three random guys from Twitter, this time in monsoon-like conditions and with an open mind to the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed course. “Kenny Goulet” turned out to be a true gentleman named G.H. Two of his regular foils, Wes (the club champion) and Chaney (who morphs from a 2 to a +6 when the pressure is on), joined us and introduced me to the glorious madness that is Wolf Hammer. I’d played wolf and I’d played hammer, but never like this. Chaney and Wes made sure to add that neither had been to an ATM in 18 months because of their association with G.H.

My initial experience at GCC was one of the most fun rounds I’d played in years and I left determined to get back as soon as possible with the entire NLU crew. Fast forward to PGA Championship week, when we were able to knock out 36 rainy, fantastic holes before heading up to Charlotte. Before we started, I shared the Hammer Tablet that G.H. had sent me with the guys and tried to prepare them for the nature of this game. I also wanted to make clear how quickly things can get WILDLY out of hand.

A few points to take away:

• In four-man Wolf Hammer, going blind lone wolf (before anyone has teed off), multiplies every bet (the hole and all the junk, which is spelled out below) by four. Going solo after you hit, multiplies everything by three. Going alone after everyone else hits, multiplies everything by two. If you pick a partner, everything is worth one dot. The Hammer Tablet linked above also spells out how five- and six-man Wolf Hammer works.

• Starting on the 16th hole, the individual who is down the most money becomes the wolf and can dictate the value of dots henceforth. This holds true for the remainder of the round (for instance if the person down the most going into 16 comes out way ahead and is no longer behind then the new lowest person is the wolf and dictates dot value on 17). This gives the low man on the totem pole a chance to win their money back… Or find a deeper hole.

The main strategy elements lie in the choosing of your partner and the timing of the hammers and takes. The “junk” (listed out below) plays out on its own. All points for each hole go the team as a whole. If my partner gets a Hogan, that’s a point for each of us. If we each get a Hogan, we each get two points, etc.

THE JUNK
Each item below is worth a “Dot.” Print these out and take them with you to the course, because you’re gonna need them.

HOLE – Lowest score on hole (net or gross to be determined before first tee shot is hit for the day)

BIRDIE: One Dot

EAGLE: Two Dots

ALBATROSS: Three Dots

HAMMER: May be thrown at any time by either team, adding a “Dot” to the hole you are playing. The hammer is then held by the other team to be thrown back at will.

TAKE: Taking the Hammer adds another “Dot” to the hole you are playing. If you decide not to Take, you lose the dot from the original hammer. (Unless you’re already out of the hole, you should take.)

DROP/TAKE: Must be declared before moving forward on the course. You cannot improve your position on the course to determine if you want to take or drop. If you move forward then a Take is in effect.

BOOMERANG: When a hammer is thrown and accepted and the opposing team immediately throws the hammer back then a boomerang dot is added (in addition to the hammer + take).

GREENIE: Par 3’s only, closest to pin on the green in regulation and you must make par or better.

SANDY: Par or better from any bunker (double sandy is possible if you make par or better).

POLEY: Par or better putt holed from outside the length of the flagstick. If a poley is of questionable length, poley MUST be measured and determined before putting.

BUGLER: Audible fart during your swing on the tee shot only, must make par or better. The signal to allow your playing partners that a fart may be coming is “Quiet please!”

ADOLF: When you take two shots from the same bunker the opposing team gets a Dot.

SADDAM: When you go from one bunker to another bunker you have to give a Dot to other team.

CREEKIE: When you take a penalty stroke from being in the hazard and make par or better. No penalty stroke means no creekie.

HAAS: In honor of fellow GCC member, Bill Haas. If you are in a water hazard and make a visible splash while hitting a shot and you make par or better

YO, ADRIAN!: Ball bounces of rocks (not cart path) – hence Rocky Balboa – and you make par or better. As approved at the summit, the rock wall on No. 9 at Chanticleer is included as a Yo, Adrian.

RATTLER: When the ball hits the flagstick and you make par or better. You cannot use putter to make a rattler.

OFFNER: Any shot that goes in from off the green for par or better without the use of the putter.

HOGAN: When you hit the fairway and the green in regulation and make par or better. On a par 5, your second shot (if it’s short of the green) must also be in the fairway.

JUNKMAN: When you miss the fairway and the green in regulation and make par or better. On a par 5, your second shot must also miss the fairway.

WASABI: When you stick your approach in regulation inside the length of the flag stick and you make par or better.

DOUBLE WASABI: Stick your second shot on a par 5 or your tee shot on a par 4 inside the flag stick and you make par or better. You earn 2 dots.

NASCAR: Two feet in the bunker while the ball is outside the bunker (trouble in turn 2) and you make par or better.

SEVE: When your ball is in a foreign fairway – ball MUST be in the short grass – and you make par or better.

STAR WARS: Ball hit OB and you make par or better

TC CHEN: Double hit of the golf ball means a dot for the opponents.

TAINT: When the ball is between two bunkers and you make par or better. You must establish your foot position with your ball between your feet before reaching for the bunkers. If you can reach two separate bunkers with a rake in either hand without moving your feet, the taint is in play.

RAMBO: First dot of the day gets an extra dot for their team after drawing first blood. For clarification, a Wasabi is not an earned dot until putted and made par or better; same for a Hogan.

KY: When a team wins 7 OR MORE dots on a hole an extra dot is added because they just got violated.

O.J.: When a team wins 10 or more dots on a hole, an extra dot is added. Double (digit) murder.

DOTTIE PEPPER: Two team members make birdie or better on the same hole.

MENAGE: 3 team members birdie or better on the same hole; 1 dot. Note: Dottie Pepper is also awarded when a menage is won.

MOANBACK: When the ball hits something and bounces further back than the original position the shot was played from and you make par or better.

BIN LADEN: Bunker to a water hazard or OB; Dot for other team

 

An Example (And How it Can Get Out of Hand): Let’s say you’re on the back nine and down a bit but hitting it well. You decide to go blind lone wolf on a par 4 that fits your eye. The other three guys hit the fairway and green, two hit it within the flagstick and make birdie, and the other hits it in the bunker and gets up and down for par by making a putt from outside the flagstick. Meanwhile you miss the fairway, the other team hammers and you take. You end up hitting the green and making a solid two-putt par. Not bad! However, you just lost hole, hammer, take, Hogan, Hogan, wasabi, wasabi, Dottie Pepper, birdie, birdie, sandy, poley, KY, O.J. That’s 14 dots, and lets say their worth $3 apiece. Multiply that by four because you went blind lone. Despite making par, you now have to pay out $168 EACH to your three opponents.

Surgeon General’s Warning: PLAY WOLF HAMMER AT YOUR OWN RISK.

 

FINAL THOUGHT

The best way to learn the game is to be the scorekeeper, as it makes you think through the hole and the strategy. To score it, keep a running tab of the dollar amount a person is up or down for the day. The total should always net to zero, so if players A and B win two dots on the first hole, they sit at “2” and players C and D sit at “-2.”

Update: We fielded some questions on the game, and answered them in our live show, “Past Parallel.” Check out the video here:

About the Author

Tron Carter – NLU’s resident curmudgeon, wannabe media critic, fashion crusader, and arbiter of all things “pop.” Passionate proponent of taking driver off the deck. Native of Atlanta, now residing in Jacksonville Beach after two quick, but beneficial years in Boston. Other interests include history, infrastructure, wine, and Michael Bay’s seminal masterpiece The Rock. Also doing business as “Todd Schuster.” [email protected]

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  • Cas_Lane

    mother of god

  • Kraig Shelby

    i’m excited to try this, and terrified to try this, all at once. the best kind of golf game!

  • DW

    A few questions:
    Can you clarify a “take” vs the other team throwing the hammer to you vs. a take/drop? Appears as if hammer is one team’s decision while take is the others. What’s a drop?
    If the other team throws the hammer and you do not “take”, it adds 1 dot but if you do “take” it would then be an additional dot (2 total, one for hammer which is out of your control and one for the take which is in your control?)

    How would you incorporate various handicaps into the game? Simply receive strokes on a certain number of holes and then take the net score for those holes? The various dots seem to skew the game hard in favor of a lower handicapper such that you couldn’t really play the game fairly unless each team had a similar total handicap.

    • DW

      And how do the junk points/dots work if you have a 3 v 1 situation due to lone wolfing?

      • Hunter Brown

        This is what I want to know. How exactly do the dots work? Say one team racks up like 6 dots and makes par, other team only gets 3 dots but makes birdie. Who gets the dots? Only one team? Does it net?

        • David Holdaway

          The team that wins the hole gets the dots. The losing teams dots for that hole are washed.

    • Ben Bryant

      I’d also like some clarification on the takes and drops. Also, does the hammer start fresh on every hole? Feel like is has to since the teams change from hole to hole.

      • DW

        There needs to be a live Q&A session!

        • Hunter Brown

          This. Let’s get a periscope set up.

  • Amazing, a credit to the GCC members and NLU crew for sharing this with the world. The in the dark portion…As a Wolf lover for years, thanks for introducing me to Wolf Hammer. Next time your in Central VA, reach out, I’m hosting.

  • KurtyBird

    Can someone spell out the multiplies from wolf:
    Going blind solo x4- makes sense
    Solo after you hit x3, solo after everyone hits x2. The wolf is always last, when would a x3 come into play?

    • Hunter Brown

      Wolf is always first.

    • Jeffrey Reddy

      Here is how we play:

      The Wolf has the option to hit first or last.
      If he goes first, and declares he is going ‘Lone Wolf’ (no teammate) BEFORE he hits his shot, the bet is x4.
      If he goes first, and declares he is going ‘Lone Wolf; (no teammate) AFTER he hits his shot, the bet is x3.
      If he goes last, but declares he is going ‘Lone Wolf’ (no teammate) BEFORE he hits his shot, the bet is x2.
      If he goes last, but declares he is going ‘Lone Wolf’ (no teammate) AFTER he hits his shot, the bet is is normal, but the player stands to win from 3 players, but risks paying 3 players.

      If at anytime he doesn’t go LoneWolf, the Wolf Picks a partner from the other three players.

  • Hunter Brown

    Are there yardage limits for a wasabi? I assume this isn’t the same rules for a GIR. Example, you’re not awarded a wasabi on a 30 yard shot while hitting your 3rd on a par 5 are you?

  • Michael VanLenten

    If you haven’t played the bundle then that is the game you need to try next. Can also be paired with any other game.

  • Ryan Nemes

    wheres the link for the hammer tablet

  • Sean

    I feel like I would have to hire an accountant to come play with us to keep track.

  • Mike

    This cries out for an app to keep track of everything. How much fun would a decent golf betting game app be? Get DJ on this – he’s the swiss army knife.

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