This project isn’t nearly as involved as some on this site, but is still a great project and should be easy for most people to make. The only tools that you will need are a hacksaw and a drill press or other tool to put holes through golf balls.
Actually, drilling a hole through the golf ball is probably the most difficult part of making this assembly (see this post for a fixture to make it much easier!). If you don’t have a mill or drill press with a vise, you can buy them already drilled online if you’d rather not bother with that part of the project.
So for the PVC “ladder” you’ll need the following components:
- 10 foot sections of 1/2 inch PVC pipe (3)
- 1/2 inch PVC tee (6)
- 1/2 inch PVC elbow (2)
- PVC glue (optional but recommended)
For each ball set, bolas, or whatever other word you would like to call them you’ll need:
- 1/8 inch diameter rope cut into 3 21 inch pieces (should equal 20 inches, but add some extra for knots.)
- 6 golf balls
- match or lighter
For the ladder construction, you’ll need a saw and either a file or sandpaper to deburr the cut pieces. Cut 3 x 39″ pieces and 10 x 16″ pieces of the pipe and stick them together as shown. The longest pieces go in the middle. Depending on how portable you want to make it you can glue some of the segments together with standard PVC glue or leave them loose. Also, it’s possible to make the middle segments as 16″ pieces as well if you want it to be extra portable.
I chose to glue the feet pieces to the tee and all the vertical pieces to the tees and elbows. How you glue it really depends on your needs. With no glue you could put it in a small backpack, however, gluing everything would be best if you wanted to keep it at home all of the time.
As for the bolas, you’ll need 6 golf balls per set of 3 and at least 2 sets to compete. I suppose you could just make one set if you’re really hard-up. If you’re desperate though, local golf courses generally keep a supply of balls in their water hazards for those willing to take a swim.
When you’re ready to make the balls, drill them through the middle with a 3/16 or 1/4 inch drill. Cut the rope (nylon works well) to size and burn the ends so they don’t unravel. Tie one end and slide two balls onto it. Once they’re on, tie the other side and pull the golf balls away from each other to secure the knots. Repeat 3 times. That’s it! To tell between different sets you may want to either paint the balls different colors or use different colored rope.
When you are ready to play, you score by wrapping the bolas around the ladder. You will throw them from at least 15 feet away. The bottom is worth 1, middle 2, and top 3. Someone wins by getting exactly 21. If you get over 21your round doesn’t count.
One interesting house rule is that if the first thrower gets 21, the second has a chance to match it. In the event of a tie both players go back to 13.
There’s no real official technique for throwing these things, some prefer the overhand, and some overhand. If spun up like a sling, they can go pretty fast, so use some common sense when playing. According to Wikipedia the non-golf-ball version can be a pretty nasty weapon so seriously, be safe. If “ladder toss” isn’t the game for you, check out my post about making a cornhole toss set!
According to Wikipeida, ladder golf can also be known as:
- Ladder Ball
- Hillbilly Horseshoes
- Hillbilly Golf
- Testicle Toss
- Lasso Golf
- Monkey Ball
- Donkey Balls
- Norm Ball
- Polish Horse Nuts
- Hodge Podge
- Polish Golf
*No dogs or birds were harmed in the making of this post.
**If you see Wikipedia listing “jcopro.net ball” as another name, that wasn’t me.