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The Ultimate Guide To Golf Solitaire

While classic Solitaire is familiar with many people who play it on either a Windows computer or with a regular deck of cards, Golf Solitaire is much different than it’s classic counterpart. This is one of the more interesting versions of Solitaire. Another popular variation is Grandfather’s Clock. Other notable differences are how to keep score in this type of Solitaire and having to deal more with skill as opposed to luck.

If you’re familiar with the game of golf, you’ll understand some of the references that are used in the game of Golf Solitaire itself. With some patience and sharpening with skill, you can master this type of Solitaire game.

The Rules Of Golf Solitaire

Of course, like the name itself, this game only requires one person to play. One thing you’ll notice about Golf Solitaire is all seven rows of cards are laid out. Unlike Classic Solitaire where the cards in the first row are face up and the other four are face down, all five cards in each row are facing upward. Altogether, there should be thirty-five (35) cards face up right in front of you. The remaining 17 cards will serve as your draw pile.

Any card that you transfer must be one number up (ascending) or down (descending) from the card that is face up in the waste pile. In a variation of golf solitaire, you can be allowed to “turn a corner” by building a King on an Ace or vice versa. In the traditional rules of Golf Solitaire, this is disallowed.

How To Play Golf Solitaire

To begin, one card should be drawn from the draw pile and must be left face up. At this point, any card from the first row of seven can be placed in the waste pile if it follows either an ascending or descending card value. For example, if the face up card in the waste pile is a Jack, the ascending card is a Queen while the descending card is a 10. Colors and suits are irrelevant in the Golf Solitaire. Which means if the Jack is a “Jack of Hearts”, you can lay down either a 10 of Diamonds or a Queen of Spades.

The object is build out the face up card in the waste pile using cards from the tableau. If you are unable to find a card that is in either an ascending or descending value of the face up card in the waste pile, then you must draw another card. You can even do this in the following pattern. Going back to the Jack example, let’s use the following example sequence:

Face up card in waste pile [J]: Q-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-8-9-10-J

Since the King is considered the highest value card, you have to use a Queen in order to continue the sequence. Likewise, the Ace is considered the lowest value card and you will need a 2 in order to keep the sequence going. You can repeat the process until every card in the tableau is discarded in the waste pile. If you reach the final card of the waste pile and are unable to build on the pile with the cards left on the tableau, the game is over.

To keep score, it takes on the same scoring process as it’s namesake. The object of playing regular golf is to get the lowest score possible to win the game. The same goes in Golf Solitaire. Your final score is determined by how many cards are left on the tableau. The less number of cards are on the tableau, the better your score. The value of the remaining cards are irrelevant.

Strategies Of Golf Solitaire

While clearing out the entire tableau is doable, it is quite rare to accomplish this. Likewise, in the game of golf itself, it is rare for a golfer to score a hole-in-one. The strategy here of course is to observe which cards are available to transfer from tableau to waste pile. This can be the equivalent of finding the best angle for your shot while at the same time, figuring out which way the wind is blowing. One strategy in particular could be as follows:

If the current face up card in the waste pile is a Jack, see what other cards are available once you choose the best card in either value, as long as it’s ascending or descending. So you see a 10 and you discard it in the pile. Meanwhile, you’ll notice that there will be a couple of 9s, a few 8s, and a 7 that will be in place over the course of a few moves. It’s like chess, you’ll need to think ahead before deciding which card to place in the waste pile. So you place the 10 on top of the Jack, then you can go 9-8-7-8 and continue the sequence if any other available cards allow it. Remember, if you have one card left of a specific value, be sure to use the other cards in ascending or descending order you have left. For example, if you have one 6 left, count how many 7s or 5s you have left. If you have some of one or not the other, you’ll be in danger of stranding that specified value.

Another strategy is to conserve your Queens and your 2s as best as you can. If you waste your Queens on Jacks or 2s on 3s, it will be difficult for you to get rid of your Kings or Aces. Some of these cards can be posed as “hazards”. Yet again, using a golf terminology where a hazard is usually a lake or a sand trap, a certain card can pose as a problem in your efforts of getting rid of certain cards.

Likewise, once you are able to discard all of your Kings and Aces, now you need to be careful with your Jacks and 3s now that the highest card values available are your Queens and 2s, respectively. Sometimes, it’s important to use your Jacks on Queens instead of 10s should a situation warrant such a move.

As a rule of thumb, if one row of cards (looking left to right) is longer than the other, try and use what you can from the longest row and work your way downward. Also, observe if there are any rows (looking from left to right) that are longer than the others. Use the longest row available, if needed. Another thing is to consider leaving a card all by itself if it’s the last card on the row. As an example, you have a 9 as that last card. You have the opportunity to get rid of it because the current face up card in the waste pile is an 8. Find another 9 that is available to use. If that additional 9 is not available, think ahead to see if there is a way to expose it. Even if it means using a 7, a 6, another, 7, and other 8 to get there. Use the lone card in the row as an absolute last resort.

While you should not expect to clear out the tableau each time you play a around, you should focus more on preventing any cards from being stranded, starting with the Kings and Aces, respectively. Likewise, once you are unable to successfully get rid of them, your focus remains on Queens and 3s while trying to discard the others in the process of exposing them. The true strategy of a successful game of golf is thinking a few moves ahead.

Golf Solitaire Terms:

Most of the terminology used for Golf Solitaire is the same used in the original game of golf itself. The following is a mix of regular solitaire and golf terminology and it’s tie-in to the game:

  • Draw Pile: Consists of seventeen (17) cards that are left over after the thirty-five (35) cards are laid out on the tableau.

  • Tableau: These cards are lined up in seven (7) rows of five (5), totalling to thirty-five (35) cards total. These cards can be used to build on to the waste pile in a descending or ascending order.

  • Waste Pile: The pile adjacent to the draw pile. The cards in this pile should be single card, face up.

  • Hazard: Cards that play as obstacles, especially when you’re getting rid of cards that are difficult to transfer (I.E.: Set of 4 Kings and set of 4 2s).

  • Turning The Corner: This is a situation where a King can build on an Ace and vice versa. This can occur depending on the rules of game being played.

Variations Of Golf Solitaire

The variation of Golf Solitaire are based on the rules and the type of layout that is in use. There are four different types of variations for Golf Solitaire. Each variation has rules where turning the corner is allowed and disallowed. They are as follows:

  • Rule 1 (7 Columns of 5): This uses the standard layout of 7 columns of 5 cards. The first row of cards in the tableau can be used to build onto the waste pile.

  • Rule 2 (7 Columns of 5; No Turning Of Corner): Same variation as Rule 1. This variation will disallow turning the corner. This means a King cannot be built on an Ace, nor an Ace can be build on a King.

  • Rule 3 (6 Columns of 6 Cards): This includes six columns that consist of 6 cards each. Though the game is much more difficult to play with this variation, the use of the draw and waste piles still have the same purpose.

  • Rule 4 (6 Columns of 6; No Turning Of Corner): Same variation as rule 3. Once again, turning the corner is disallowed.

Golf Solitaire FAQ

  • How to you keep score in a game of Golf Solitaire?

If you are unfamiliar with the actual game of golf, here’s how the scoring works: Suppose you play a round of golf with a friend. Throughout the game, you are able to hit a handful of pars (0 points), a birdie (-1) , and the last hole, you hit a bogey (+1). The object of the game is to finish with the lowest score. So if your final score is 0 while your friend’s final score is +3, you win.

In this version of golf, your score depends on how many cards are left over on the tableau once you have exhausted the waste pile. The less cards that are left over on the tableau, the better your score. Thankfully, it only takes one to play Golf Solitaire. Having two people play it would defeat the entire purpose of the game.

  • Can I play a game that allows me to turn the corner?

It depends on how you play it. If you play a round of Golf Solitaire online, it will vary. Some games will allow you to turn a corner while some of the others will disallow it. If you were to play with a physical deck of cards, that’s at your discretion.

  • What happens when I am unable to play a card in the first row and exhaust my waste pile?

While this can happen, the occurrences are usually few and far between. This situation is known as an impossible win. If you are unable to move a card and you have gone through the entire waste pile, you can reshuffle and restart the game.

Final Thoughts On Golf Solitaire

Golf Solitaire is one of the more interesting variations of the game of Solitaire itself. While it may seem a little confusing at first because of its layout, it is easy to get the hang of it after a couple rounds. If you want to begin by practicing your Golf Solitaire skills, there are games that are available to play online. Be sure to follow this guide as a reference in order to play the game. It’s fun learning a new kind of Solitaire that you never knew existed.