Introduction: Dog Golf

The object of the game of dog golf is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest tosses of the ball. The competitors who play the stipulated round, or rounds, in the fewest throws (plus penalty throws) are the winners. Rounds can be timed, and multiple dogs can be scored.

The human player and the canine player begin each hole at the teeing area. The human must not leave the teeing area, where as the canine player has no boundaries. The human player uses a ball launching device to attempt to hit a target. The hole is not completed until the target is hit; each attempt is recorded as a stroke. On completing a hole, the player proceeds to the teeing area of the next hole, until all holes have been played. Dog golf courses are normally laid out in and around wooded areas with diverse terrain to provide natural obstacles to the flight of the ball. These natural obstacles are very much a part of the game and must not be altered by a player in any way to decrease the difficulty of a hole. Players must play the course as they find it. Lost or unretrievable balls result in a penalty stroke. The following steps are broken into a hole course set up at Peralta Hacienda Park in Oakland Ca.

Step 1: Building a Course

What to consider when building a course:

  • Select a tee area- tee area should be approximately 1 meter square, free of debris and relatively flat.
  • Select a target- a target can be any object that can be hit within relative ease depending on your skill and patience. Make sure to determine what part of object is considered the target. For instance in the palm tree targets pictured the trunk not the palms are considered the target. Useful targets can be any object big enough to hit from a reasonable distance. Objects that make sound when struck are especially useful.
  • Target Considerations- target distance and size should depend on skill, but in general 20 to 40 meters is a good place to start.Repeat- traditional ball golf has 2 sets of 9 holes, stick with that or change it up.
  • Course Considerations- The course pictured is at Peralta Hacienda Park in Oakland California. This course is frequented by many neighborhood residents including other pets and children. Always use common sense and courtesy when launching balls towards objects taking into consideration ricochet possibilities and the inevitability that there will be a canine hurtling after it.

Step 2: Hole 1

Hole 1 at the Peralta Hacienda Park is a straight forward shot from the elevated concrete teeing area to the palm tree directly ahead. Only the trunk is the target so avoid the palms. The hole is completed when the ball is back in the ball launching device. Hole 2 forward and to the right.

Step 3: Hole 2

This hole is another straight shot but this time on a smaller diameter palm tree. Once again watch out for the palms only the trunk is considered the target area. Hole 3 is to the right on the elevated grass platform.

Step 4: Hole 3

Hole 3 is a little more difficult, you must place the ball in the first enclosed area the brick fronts do not count as hitting the target. Continue along the elevated grassed area to your right to hole 4.

Step 5: Hole 4

Hole 4 is very similar to hole 3, with the target the second enclosed area right next to the target area on hole 3. Hole 5 is further along the elevated planted area to the right.

Step 6: Hole 5

Hole 5 continues the pattern of the last two holes adding considerable difficulty with the overhanging palms. Lobbing over is an option. Hole 6 further down the elevated planted area to the right.

Step 7: Hole 6

Hole 6 is like the 3 preceding holes except the palm tree has become an even bigger obstacle. Lobbing over is almost the only path. Hole 7 is to the right on the next elevated area with the raised beds.

Step 8: Hole 7

The target on hole 7 is a children's climbing structure so take care to only play this hole when their are no children or parents present. Any part of the wooden styled sculpture count as completion of the the hole, however going through the hole is considered a miss. Hole 8 is on the diagonal corner of the raised bed elevated area.

Step 9: Hole 8

This hole is played across the elevated grass terrace to the palm tree slightly to the rt. Once again only the trunk is considered the target and unretrievable balls result in a penalty. The tee are for hole 9 is across the terrace next to the target for hole 8.

Step 10: Hole 9

The last hole is fairly easy, make sure to close out strong. The fairway goes back across the elevated terrace to another palm tree directly across. Thanks for checking this game out the following pages will detail scoring and variations.

Step 11: Scoring


Human Scoring-At the beginning of each round the amount and position of the tee areas and targets should be determined. Each target must be hit on each hole in order to properly complete the course. the total number of attempts plus penalty after completion of all the holes is the players final score.

Canine Scoring- Every attempt by an active player is an opportunity to score for the canine player in three ways. A retrieval point is considered when the canine player makes first contact with the ball and possesses for over two seconds. A possession point is considered when a canine has mouthed a ball for longer than two seconds. Finally a return point is available to the canine wow delivers the ball to the teeing area.

Step 12: Variations

Basic Play- One human one canine, human and canine score together for points, time or both.

Multi Play- One human two dogs, human and canine scoring possible. One point is given for the initial retrieve and possession, three points for retrieval and return.

Dual Multi Play- Two humans and one or multiple dogs. Humans and canine scoring possible.

Beginner Play- Each hole is considered completed after four attempts.

Timed Play- Timing the duration of a round from first throw to final retrieval of the ball.

Step 13: Have Fun

Thanks for checking this game out. It was created a couple of years ago at Joaquin Miller park in Oakland Ca. Thanks to instructables for providing a great platform to teach this satisfying, relaxing and challenging game.

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