Make an Executive Desk-top Ladder Golf Set




Introduction: Make an Executive Desk-top Ladder Golf Set

About: Find me on TikTok, Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter as @KitemanX.

Ordinary executives have ordinary desk-games to keep them from getting bored in between meetings and signing important pieces of paper.

Executive Makers need a Maker game to keep them from getting bored while they wait for soldering iron or glue-gun to warm up...

Step 1: Materials

This is one of those projects where a lot of materials and methods can be substituted without harming the final product.

I'm going to show you two versions, one made of coffee stirrers, one made with popsicle sticks (these are sticks sold for craft, not food use) and bamboo skewers.

You will also need string, and something to act as weights, such as modelling clay, scrap wood, or maybe those funny Chinese coins with a hole in the middle...

You'll need glue, and tools to cut or drill the sticks and stirrers.

Depending on your personal preferences, you may also want paints to make the finished set match your favourite executive's desk.

Step 2: The Coffee-Stirrer Frame.

Take two coffee stirrers, and cut notches in both.  The notches need to go half-way across the stick, and be wide enough to slot another coffee stirrer into.

The exact position of the notches is not drastically important, as long as both sticks are identical.  I cut the notches a quarter of the way along from the end that will be top, and a third of the way along from the end that will be bottom. 

Take a second pair of coffee-stirrers, and make a single notch half-way along the stick.

The easiest way to make sure the cuts are in the same places on each stick is to cut both sticks together.

Take one two-notch stick sticks, one one-notch stick and a plain one, and lay them in a triangle.  Make sure the two notches are facing outwards, the one-notch stick is touching the bottom end of the two-notch stick, with the notch facing the inside of the triangle and glue the ends together.  Clamp (small bulldog clips are perfect), and leave to dry.  Make a second triangle with the other notched stirrer, and glue-and-clamp that one as well.

Step 3: The Coffee-Stirrer Rungs

Take three more coffee-stirrers, and cut two notches in all three, roughly half an inch from the ends.

Make sure that the distance is the same at both ends of all three.

Step 4: Coffee-Stirrer Assembly.

Assembly is simple enough - slot notches into notches, so that you have two stirrers making the rungs on the front of the frame, and one stick adding rigidity at the bottom.

Unless the joints are really snug and tight, you will probably want to reinforce them with a drop of glue of your choice (I used a drop of PVA wood-glue in the notches).

You may now also want to paint your creation.  I didn't, because I like the colour of the wooden stirrers.

Step 5: Popsicle Frame

Take six popsicle sticks, and drill a small hole in the end of each one.  Use a drill-bit that closely matches the size of your bamboo.

The holes all need to be in exactly the same place, so either measure carefully, create a jig to position drill and stick, or use a spare stick as a template to drill through several times, into the sticks you plan to use.

To of the sticks also need a hole drilled half-way along the stick, in the centre.

Now is the time to paint the frame if you want.  I didn't like the colour of the sticks, so I sanded them lightly, then sprayed them hammered-metal black (I'll make the rungs silver, because black and silver are good executive colours).

Step 6: Popsicle Rungs

Well, the rungs aren't actually made of popsicle sticks, but they go in the popsicle-stick frame, hence the title of this step.

You need four identical lengths of bamboo cut from your skewers.  I made mine the same length as the popsicle sticks, but you can go with your own aesthetic sense.

Use a file or sandpaper to tidy up the cut ends of the bamboo and round them off.

This is the point where I sprayed them all silver, for the Executive theme.

Step 7: Popsicle Assembly

Assembly is simply a matter of poking bamboo into holes.

Pair up the two sticks with three holes, and put three of the rungs through them.

Slot the other two sticks onto the ends of the first stick, and poke the final rung through the final holes.

If your bamboo is a nice snug fit, you should not need any glue for this set at all.  In fact, the thickness of the paint on the bamboo, and around the hole in the popsicle stick, meant I had to drill out the holes again to make them fit.

Step 8: Bolas

The things you throw at either Executive Desk-Top Ladder-Golf set are the same - a pair of weights on the ends of a piece of string.

I'm not fixed on a length for the string yet, but I'm currently going with roughly one and a half times the distance between the rungs.  It seems to work quite well.

The weights I used were old hex-nuts, but can use whatever you find appropriate for your style.

Step 9: Playing

Play is simple - throw the bolas at the ladder so that they loop around (or at least hang over) a rung.

Scoring is up to you.  Some people score a point whichever rung they hit, others deduct points if you hit the same rung twice, or give bonuses for hitting the rungs in a certain order.

Actually, the scoring is not massively important, because, like most Executive Desk-Top Games, the Executive will probably be playing by himself, except that your Executive Maker will be waiting for the smell of hot metal to tell him "game over, time for the soldering".


My boys & I have been playing with both sets for a while now, and we have decided that the popsicle version is the better of the two, being somewhat sturdier.  The coffee-stirrer version tends to move around when hit.  Maybe if I used lighter weights on the bolas...?

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! Ladder golf has been my favorite yard game for the last couple of years, even supplanting croquet in my affections. With this, I could still play now that the nine months of rain have begun . . .

    Have you considered putting some of that webby looking non-slip shelf liner stuff under the edges?  It might prevent slippage.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm... or maybe dots of hot-melt glue?