Ladder Golf - PVC Camping Game

About: I own a online business that sells industrial pipe fittings (Kee Klamp), PVC (pipe and fittings), as well as unique projects made with these products.

If you visit camp grounds you have probably seen a game called ladder golf. It's got three rungs and contestants throw their bolos trying to wrap them around the lowest rung.

Being a distributor of PVC fittings, I immediately thought of how I might be able to build one of them with PVC pipe and fittings.

I looked these things up on the web and came up this site: I was surprised to learn that a tournament set (2 sets of rungs and 12 bolos) retails for about $120!

I'm happy to say my tournament set cost about $35.00 with some fittings from our site, some PVC from a local home store and some golf balls and nylon string lying around my house.

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Step 1: Get a Plan Together

As with any project you need to know a little bit of what you want to do before you start. Doing some quick searching around the web I turned up some sites that had some plans for building ladder golf sets.

I used one that I found as a template, but I made some variations because I was using different fittings.

For stability and little strength I decided to build mine out of 3/4" PVC.

Step 2: Parts Needed

If you look at the image, you will see that the assembly is really quite straight forward.

Here is what you need for Each Upright

Click this link for a list of fitting on our site

2 - 3/4" Elbows - PVC 15-5 - top support
4 - 3/4" Tees - PVC25-5 - holds middle rungs
2 - 3/4" Slip Tees - PVC10-5 - the bottom pipe slips through these
4 - 3/4" Internal Caps - PVC77-5 - for the end of the bottom pipes to give it a finished look.

PVC Pipe
All pipe is 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC

4 - 1' foot cuts - inbetween top and middle bars.
2 - 20" inch cuts - inbetween base and lower bar.
5 - 2' foot cuts - rungs and base rails.

Basically you need two 10' foot pieces per upright.

Here is what you need for Each Bolo

~24" inches of nylon
2 golf balls

Step 3: Putting It Together


As far as the upright goes.. just look at the picture. A picture is worth a thousand words here, I don't think I could explain it any better than you just looking at it.

Comment Addition: someone mentioned adding different color electrical tape to each rung to help make remembering the scoring pattern easier


I have a drill press that I used to drill out the golf balls.. that was pretty handy. I used a 3/16" drill bit. Just move slowly through the ball, backing the bit off frequently and you'll get a nice hole.

I passed nylon though the first ball.. tied a knot and then tied a second knot on the other side of the ball. Then I measure 16" from the inside of the golf ball and made a mark on the nylon rope. I tied a knot at this mark and then put on the second ball. Once the second ball was on I tied the fourth knot. I trimmed up the knot and ran the ends under a lighter (to melt the nylon & secure the ends).

Comment Addition: someone mentioned using tennis balls instead of golf balls (don't hurt as much if you or some thing (like a car) gets hit. I am also wondering if you could use super bounce balls (though I don't know what would happen when you drilled into them... might be fun to find out)

Step 4: Packing and Playing


One of the nice things about building this way is that unit completely brakes down. The fittings seemed snug enough not to have to warrant gluing. Everything would pack very nicely into a small duffel bag.


There's a lot of rules out there, but here's a couple of places to consult for some quick rules:

That's about it.. happy playing!



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    21 Discussions

    I had an old set that was showing its age, so I used these plans to make a set of PVC replacements (was able to use my existing bolos). Slight modification, as I did not have the Slip Tees, so I used regular Tees and only used 1 foot of pipe on each side of the base, for a total of four feet per side.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Ladder Ball is the best yard game around. It has been getting bigger every year with more people learning to love the game.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I built a number of these about 7 years ago using 1/2" copper (and the appropriate fittings)  In some cases I soldered them in rectangular sections and in other cases I just soldered the end fittings and made a tubular carrying case out of a capped Cardboard Paper Tube.  I called it Krazee Ball.

    The "bolos" were drilled golf balls with a countersunk knot hotglued into the cavity.  The bases were wooden and copper but the most stable setup is to just jam the unit into the grass......

    The tennis ball version worked very well for kids who tended to wind up too much and bonking themselves in the head....

    Nice instructable for a cool family game!!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the great instructable! I built one of these last weekend and painted it up with my daughter. Lots of fun, and it'll be great for camping! 5 stars for you!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I've made two of these before and I have to tell you; over time, the golf balls hitting the rungs of the ladder eventually cause them to loosen and fall out over the course of two or three games. I would recommend using PVC cement on both the ladder portion and base portion of the apparatus, but not cementing the ladder to the base so it can be transported/stored easier.

    1 reply
    Uru Wolfukyobust

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You could drill a hole through the joints and pipes and just drop a pin of sorts into the hole to lock them together and provide quick and easy setting up/taking down.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I made my own too! My scouts loved it! Thanks for to see other people's take on things!

    Good Job! only now I don't get to write an instructable on ladder golf :( Ladder Golf is great! With mine I had bought colored golf balls and colored nylon rope to differentiate between teams points. My base is also PVC pipe cut into 2' sections (6 total) that make a rectangular base (and also in my mind prevents tipping). I also have another that I didn't make any base for and simply drove some 18" rebar into the ground to slide the vertical section over.

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I just made this tonight. Wanted it ready for family coming over on Thursday. Here's how great this instructable is!! The PVC and connectors at Lowe's was $13.73. The bag I bought at Wal-Mart was less than $10. It was collapsible and 28 inches long. The golf balls were $6 for 12 recycles balls, also Wal-Mart. So for a game that could cost 50-80, I came out with a SET for less than $30. All I used was a hack saw for the PVC pipe, a sponge sander, and an old clampy table thing. i was done in less than 2 hours, from drilling out the golf balls to putting it together. Thanks for a great instructable!!

    Charles IV

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I remember playing this at boy scout camp but they called it hang your balls instead. lol


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I have one of these! I got it as a gift several years ago. I call the game Snakes, though.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I see this at almost every football tailgate (of course, painted school colors). You can also use tennis balls - you know, so it's not as hard of an impact when your inebriated opponent nails someone else's car (or someone else).


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Everyone was playing this on the beach this summer! Thanks for the instructable.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I've played this. Was going to post an instructable... Always called it Horseballs though.


    11 years ago on Step 4

    Very nice instructable. I made one of these a while back with instructions from a magazine. The only addition I would suggest is using electrical tape to show how many points each rung is worth. Helps when you're in a group of forgetful people!