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Bolo Toss, Ladder Golf, The Backyard Lawn Game

How to build your own, and How to Play

Bolo toss is an addictive lawn game that can be inexpensively made using PVC tubing, string, and a few golf balls.  The game consists of three horizontal levels similar to rungs on a ladder.  The players toss the bolos and are scored by landing the bolos on the different levels.  The game is fun outdoors as well as in.

This game has many names, perhaps even more than listed here.

Norwegian Horseshoes, Ladder Golf, Snakes, Hillbilly Golf, Polish Golf, Horseballs, Tower Ball, Bolo Golf, Gladiator, Bola, Snake Toss, BlongoBall, Ladder Toss, Bolo, Rodeo Golf, Dingle Balls, Bolo Polo, Cowboy Golf, Redneck Golf, Pocca Bolo, The Snake Game, Willy Ball, Ladder Ball, Slither, Zing-Ball, Snakes & Ladders, Hillbilly Horseshoes, Flingy Ball, Norwegian Golf, Monkey Bars Golf, Swedish Golf, Polish Horsehoes, Dandy Golf, Montana Golf, Australian Horseshoes, Ladder Game, Monkey Balls, Rattlerail Toss, Golfball Horseshoes, Arizona Golf Balls, Spin-It, Ball Dangle, Bolo Ball, Poor Mans Golf, Bolo Toss, even Testical Toss!

How to Build Your Own

Parts list:  The following parts list is enough to make a complete set.

  • 5 - 10ft X 1/2" PVC Pipe

  • 12 - 90 degree 1/2" PVC Elbows

  • 12 - 1/2" PVC Tees

  • 3/16" Nylon String

  • 12 golf balls

  • Saw to cut the pipe and a drill to drill the golf balls.

Cutting the pipe

Cut the pipe into the following pieces 14 - 2' pieces and 16 - 1" pieces.  It is usually best to cut the 10' pieces assuming there is 9'.  Adding up the total length of the pieces equals 44' and with the 5 10' pieces you have 50' - do the math.  Cut the 2' pieces first.  We used a circular chop saw to ease the cutting process.  We even set up a jig to make the cutting even quicker.  See all the parts in the image on the right.

You may choose to paint your bolo toss before assembly to allow for different color ladder rungs.  With a little tape and extra time you can paint it afterward or just paint the whole thing one color.  Use your imagination.


After cutting all the needed pieces start assembly start with the base.  The base consists of 4 90 degree elbows and 2 tees, see fig a.  The ladder section consists of 4 tees and 2 90 degree elbows.  Using PVC cement glue the base together and the ladder section.  Do not glue the ladder to the base tees.  This allows easy disassembly for storage.

The Balls

Drill 12 golf balls with a 1/4" drill bit.  Place 2 ball on each piece of string making the balls approximately 12" apart (outside of the ball to outside of the other).  If you are going to use a set of tennis balls (carefully) puncture them with a scissor or knife.  It's easiest to attach the string to an old piece of coat hanger and thread the string through all the balls then cut the string to the proper length.

A completed game

How to Play

Rules - courtesy of - sellers of complete bolo toss games.

First start off by finding a space with a range of distances about 30 feet and space your bolo Fences between this area. So you should now have a minimum of 30 feet between the bolo fences. || ______________ ||. Official is around 40 feet apart. Similar to most all ladder golf like game rules.

Each person or team who is playing bolo toss gets 1 set of 3 colored bolos. (3 Bolos of the same color make one player or one team a set). Once it is agreed on who is going to go first, the first person of the team tosses each bolo toss from the front end line of the bolo fence at which they are standing. After all 3 Bolos are tossed the other person or team whom you are playing against will toss their 3 bolos. The object would be to cancel out any points that the previous person may have made as well as to accumulate additional points. After both players have tossed all their Bolos, the score is added up and the person or team with the most points on THAT round will go first to lead off the next set of throws. The person who scored the most on the previous throw always goes first the next time. Bolos that bounce off the ground DO count.

Most people play bolo toss to exact 21 points. The only way you win is to score exactly the 21 points. However some people choose to just play to whomever gets over 21 or more wins with the highest score. Equal number of throws before scores can end a game.

As mentioned above on getting exactly the 21 points, the player’s points for that round do not count if they go over. So if they need 2 points then that is all they want to get to win with 21 exactly.

Ties are broken by an additional tossing of 3 bolos per team one time. Team with the highest points wins the game. If score is still tied, continue until there is a declared winner. Some play you must win by TWO points.

Some play over 21 as well. First player or team to score over 21 wins as long as the player or team who throws last has went.

Etiquette of the Game:
Etiquette is like any other game. Be polite, don’t talk or disrupt the other players

When both players or teams have tossed all of their bolos the scoring is determined by the bolos that are still hanging on the rungs of the bolo fence. Players are allowed to knock-off bolos during the play of the game and are encouraged to always play defensively. Any bolos that are knocked off during play do not count as points and are considered null once they are no longer hanging on the Bolo Fence rung. The only points that will count are the Bolos that are left hanging on the bolo fence rungs. Remember if you have one bolo on a rung and your opponent has a bolo also hanging on that rung, then the points are cancelled out and no one gets awarded any points for those particular bolos that cancelled each other out. Try to score that Bolette or Bolop but watch out for the old dreaded Bojected.

Throwing a 9 pointer


For small children (or a new challenge) you can use a set of wiffle golf balls or tennis balls instead of golf balls. 




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