Gorse was invented in mid-2008 at the weplay offices in Manhattan. While the idea has roots in both "golf" and "horse", the rules of the game do not really resemble either. In fact, early founders readily admit that the name was settled on more for its "marketability" than its relation to these particular games.
Gorse has very simple rules and very minimal equipment requirements. It is a game of elimination - the winner is the last player left standing. The game increases in difficulty each round, assuring a natural winner will emerge.
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Step 1: Gorse Equipment
You will need:
1) a golf ball
2) a Gorse cup
3) a putter
4) a book (or something similar or heavier in weight)
Step 2: Game Setup
A gorse court is a long narrow space with markings at approximately every 3-4 feet. The original Gorse court where the game was invented used a tiled carpet for its markings. Barring a tiled carpet, markings can be created using masking tape and measuring tape to mark even distances.
A Gorse game is a series of rounds. The first round takes place at the marking closest to the cup. The subsequent rounds grow farther and farther away from the cup until a champion is determined.
Step 3: Round 1
Each player has one shot. Each player takes turns trying to putt the ball into the cup. Players advance to Round 2 if the player:
Putts the ball into the cup
Grazes the side of the cup in any way
If you a player missed the cup entirely, he or she is, unfortunately, eliminated. Such is life.
Putting the ball into the cup is known as "The Gorse"." The "Gorse" is the most important concept in the game. "Gorsing" confers special rights on the Gorser - a Gorser earns an extra shot in the next round. The extra shot is good only for the next round. It does not carry over like cellphone minutes to subsequent rounds.
It is important when playing the game of Gorse to use the term "Gorse" liberally. "Gorse it", "Go for the Gorse", "Gorseriffic", and "Gorsemanship" for example, are all legitamate and encouraged uses of the word Gorse.
Step 4: Subsequent Rounds
Play proceeds similarly for the subsequent rounds. Players attempt to graze of gorse. As players are eliminated, play proceeds more quickly and the stakes rise. A player who gorsed in the previous round, may be facing off against a player who merely grazed in the previous round, which means the first player will have an extra chance to advance. Gorsing, as you can see is pretty important.
Play proceeds until there is only 1 player remaining, who is then pronounced the Gorse Champion
Step 5: Advanced Gorse
While the rules discussed so far are enough to get a basic game of Gorse going, there's a couple more rules that make the game more interesting.
The Mulligan/The Goose/The Golden Goose
Gorsing, as we discussed, entitles the Gorser to an extra shot in the next round. The extra shot is known as a mulligan. When playing a round with a mulligan, if a player misses their first shot, but makes their second shot (either a graze or a gorse), this is referred to as "The Goose"
The interesting part is when a player with a mulligan makes their first shot, but does not gorse it. If they choose, they can take the graze and advance to the next round without a mulligan. However, they can take a risk and attempt their second shot. If they make their second shot, they advance (with either a graze or a gorse). If they miss it, they are eliminated. Making this shot is referred to as the "Golden Goose"
Sometimes it's unclear whether a ball has in fact been "Gorsed". Life is ambiguous. We determined that any kind of penetration was a "Gorse", but people have different meanings of the word penetration (like Bill Clinton .. haha I love non-sequitor outdated political humor!)
To resolve these kinds of disputes, players get together and "garbitrate". Players who think it was a Gorse hold out a 1. Player who do not, hold out a 0. Majority wins. Unless it's a tie, and then you're screwed.