Imagine standing on the tee and the salty old member you’re playing against asks if you fancy playing Nassau? What on earth does that mean? Well fear not landlubber, NCG’s Golfing Glossary is swinging into action to save the day.
Word of the week: Nassau


Pronunciation: /năsô/



What I think it means:


This is one of those phrases that offers literally no help when trying to guess what it means. Something like ’goldie bounce’ I can have a decent stab at – but Nassau doesn’t give any help.


Wasn’t Nassau an old pirate port in the Caribbean?


Seems lovely…
If we’re talking about golfing pirates, then there could be a thousand different definitions. Perhaps it’s a pro shop that sells knock-off versions of quality goods? Maybe it’s a clubhouse where you walk in and you feel like you’ll be lucky to escape with your life?

How about a course where the club captain has got a really bad hook?


I’m going to get (Peter) panned for that joke…


Looks like I’m walking the plank on this one, because I haven’t a clue.



Dictionary definition:


1.   A region and former duchy of central Germany

2.   The capital and largest city of the Bahamas. Settled in the 1600s, it was a haven for pirates in the 1700s.

3.   A type of bet in golf that is actually three separate bets. Money is wagered on the best match play score in the front nine, the back nine and the total 18 holes.

The person with the lowest score on each hole wins a point, and if the scores tie, this results in a ’push’ with no points gained.




The Nassau bet gets its name from the Nassau Country Club on Long Island, where club captain John B Coles Tappan invented the format in the early 1900s.


Use it in a sentence:


“Oo-arrr, how’s about ye puts yer money where yer mouth is ya scurvy landlubber? Let’s play a little Nassau, and see if I can’t claim some of that gold ye’ve stashed in yer trunk”


Or something like that.


What this actually means:


Nothing whatsoever to do with pirates. Damn, that’s a shame.


But anyway, given that you can use handicaps when playing Nassau, it’s a good opportunity to have a friendly wager on the course. And if you lose on the front nine, you can always win a little bit of money back coming back in, and you’ve got the chance to win the overall bet. It keeps things interesting from the off, I guess.


Also, if you’re struggling, there is such a thing as a Nassau Press, whereby you bet double or nothing that you’ll win the matchplay over the remaining holes of a set of nine. Say you’re way down after six holes, you can bet double or nothing that you’ll win best of three for the 7th, 8th and 9th.

Notoriously sore losers, pirates

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