This is an easy and fun game to play that works for all skill levels.  It might be most fun for higher handicappers because you will have more action!

It’s a whimsical and entertaining side game played by awarding a designated Animal to players who make mistakes during the round.  There are Animal poker chips you can purchase, or it’s even more fun to play with little toy animals. There are numerous sets you can buy on-line, at a toy shop, or just steal some from your kids!

Some may think it’s a bit corny, but don’t knock it until you give it a try.

The game goes by other names such as; Golfimals, Zoo Golf, and Anumules.  It doesn’t matter the name, just design the game the way you want to play.

Here’s a cool set that is magnetized so you can display them on your cart!

Here’s how it works:


Bring a selection of Animal toys or chips for distribution. A variety of four to six species, such as snakes, monkeys, and skunks, but any animals can work.  The “captain of the day” will hold the original group of Animals until they are awarded for poor performance.

Game Rules:
Before teeing off, players must decide on the rules and penalties that will result in the awarding of an Animal.
And then a betting format, such as chip value, or a pot to win.

Here are some examples:

  • Out of Bounds (OB): If a player’s ball goes out of bounds, they receive a Turtle.
  • Water Hazards: Hitting the ball into a water hazard could earn the player a Fish.
  • Three-Putts: Each time a player takes three or more putts on a green, they receive a Snake.
  • Sand Traps: Finding the sand trap may result in a Camel.
  • Double Bogey or worse: Get awarded a Skunk.
  • Lost Ball: If a player loses their ball and must take a penalty, they might be awarded a Chicken.

You can pick your own Animals and assign them your own poor performance awards.  There are no rules here.
For example, I played with a group that had an “animal” for anyone not getting past the forward tees.  Best left to your imagination.

Whenever a player suffers one of these agreed upon outcomes, they are awarded the appropriate Animal.  A player receiving an Animal keeps them in their possession until another player incurs the same pitfall, at which time the Animal passes to the latter player, just like a game of golf hot potato.

The game adds an element of humor and camaraderie to the round of golf, as players can tease each other about their mistakes and proudly display their “zoo” of Animals.  It also provides a great incentive to improve a players skills and minimize mistakes on the course.  But beware….things can feel intense towards the end of the round if you’re holding several Animals.

The Bet

Agree on a dollar value for each Animal before the round starts and how the bet will be paid at the end of play.  At the end of the round an Animal inventory is completed and the player holding the Animal(s) pays their fellow competitors as agreed.  For example, if each animal is valued at $5.00, you pay a penalty of $5.00 to each of your competitors for each animal you hold.

Or, create a money pot and keep track of the Animals awarded to each player for the whole round. The pot can be won by the player who ended up with the fewest animals.

The Animal value can be anything you want and paid for in money, food, a round of drinks, or anything else you decide. Be creative! 


  • Flip the goal to positive awards.  Identify Animals for birdies, eagles, green in regulation, fairways hit and one putts, for example.  Then, if you hold the Animal at the end of the round, your opponents pay you!
    Play net or gross depending on your groups skill level.
  • Rather than who has the animal at the end, keep a running count of Animals won and then total them up at the end of the round.
  • There is another version of this game called Vegas Golf where Poker Chips are made for both positive and negative performance awards.  It also includes “Beer Chips” Click on the link below to see the whole set. Players would get the bet paid to them from each player for holding a positive chip at the end of the round.  And then pay all their opponents the bet amount for all Negative chips they hold.  Give it a try, it’s a hoot!

Click on the image below to see the game chip set.


Definition of chips included:

Positive Chips

  • PAR TEE- given to the last person that pars a hole.
  • BIRDIE  – 1 under par
  • EAGLE – – 2 under par
  • 1 PUTT – Once you are on the green just one putt
  • LONG DRIVE – On all Par 5s – must be in fairway
  • CHIP IN – From off the Green
  • CLOSEST TO THE PIN – All Par 3s
  • 3 PARS IN A ROW – You guessed it!
  • LOWEST SCORE – For all 18 holes Worth 3x the bet (net?)


Negative Chips

  • 3 PUTT – or more!
  • TREES – Hit it into the trees
  • WATER – Dunk!
  • MAN MADE – Hit anything like a cart path or sprinkler
  • SAND – Camel time!
  • LOST BALL – Speaks for itself
  • GRAVE DIGGER – 3 or more to get out of the trap
  • BEER – Furthest from the hole on Par 3s
    (You must buy beers from the Bev cart or 19th Hole)
  • HIGHEST SCORE – For 9 or 18 holes (net?)