What is a "snake" in golf?

Permit me to introduce to you the term “snake” in the realm of golf. A snake in golf refers to when a player scores three consecutive putts on the green. This unfortunate occurrence can be not only frustrating, but also detrimental to your overall score. It is a perilous situation that can quickly escalate and result in a significant increase in your stroke count. In this blog post, I will delve into the reasons why a snake is so damaging to your game, as well as offer some tips on how to avoid falling victim to this dangerous phenomenon.

Origin and Concept of “Snake”

The concept of a “snake” in golf has its origins in the world of gambling and friendly competition on the golf course. It refers to a form of betting that adds an extra layer of thrill and excitement to the game, while also testing the nerves and skills of the players involved.

Historical Background

In the early days of golf, when the game was played more for leisure and relaxation, players would often engage in friendly wagers on the outcome of their rounds. As the competitive spirit grew stronger, the concept of “snake” emerged as a way to spice up the betting and keep the game engaging till the very end. The idea of a “snake” is to add a sense of danger and unpredictability to the betting, making it a favorite among golf enthusiasts who enjoy taking risks.

The Role of Betting in the Game

Betting has always been an integral part of the golfing tradition, and the concept of a “snake” adds an extra layer of excitement to the game. The pressure of potentially losing a significant amount of money can bring out the best or worst in a golfer, putting their skills and nerve to the test. Whether it’s a friendly game among friends or a professional tournament, the element of betting and the presence of a “snake” can elevate the intensity and drama of the game.

How a “Snake” Affects Gameplay

Assuming you’ve ever played a round of golf, you’ve likely experienced the frustration of a “snake” at some point. A “snake” refers to a three-putt, or the act of taking three strokes to hole out once you are on the putting surface. This can significantly affect your score and mindset throughout the round. Let’s break down how a “snake” can influence your gameplay.

Understanding the Rules

When you score a “snake” on a hole, it means you’ve taken one more putt than necessary to hole out. This can be frustrating, but it’s important to keep in mind that everyone experiences this from time to time. The key is to maintain composure and not let it negatively impact your game. According to the rules of golf, you are allowed to putt until the ball is holed, so even if you’ve had two puts, the third one still counts as a “snake” if you fail to hole out. It’s important to understand the rules and how a “snake” can impact your overall score.

Strategy and Mindset

Experiencing a “snake” can cause frustration and negatively impact your confidence on the green. However, it’s crucial to maintain a positive mindset and not let it affect the rest of your round. Instead of dwelling on the mistake, focus on your next shot and think positively about your ability to sink the next putt. I find that setting small, achievable goals on the green can help shift your focus away from the negative impact of a “snake” and improve your overall performance.

“Snake” in Action

To understand the concept of a “snake” in golf, it is important to see it in action. Picture this: you’re about to sink a putt for birdie on the final hole of your round. You’ve read the green, lined up your shot, and have a clear path to victory. Then, out of nowhere, a “snake” is declared by one of your playing partners. What was once a routine putt has now become a nerve-wracking, pressure-packed task. This is the essence of a “snake” in golf, a psychological hurdle that challenges a player’s mental fortitude in a critical moment.

Notable Instances of “Snake” in Golf History

One of the most notorious instances of a “snake” in golf history occurred at the 1986 Masters Tournament. On the 18th hole, Greg Norman held a one-shot lead over Jack Nicklaus. As Norman prepared to putt for par, a member of the gallery shouted “snake,” causing him to miss the putt and ultimately lose the tournament. This high-profile incident brought widespread attention to the impact of a “snake” on the outcome of a golf tournament.

Tips for Handling “Snake” Situations

When faced with a “snake” situation on the golf course, it is important to stay composed and focused. Take a moment to reset and reestablish your mental game. Visualize a successful outcome and trust in your training. Remember, confidence is key. Additionally, breathing exercises can help calm your nerves and maintain a steady hand. Finally, positive self-talk can reinforce your belief in your abilities and help you overcome the psychological obstacles presented by a “snake.” This mental resilience will serve you well not only in golf, but in all aspects of life.

“Snake” in Modern Golf

Now, let’s talk about the role of “snake” in modern golf. In recent years, the use of “snake” has become a controversial topic in the golf community. It has sparked debates among players, coaches, and spectators about its impact on the game and its place in golf culture. As the game continues to evolve, the use of “snake” has raised questions about sportsmanship, fairness, and the ethical implications of using it as a strategy on the course.

Popularity and Reception Among Golfers

The use of “snake” in golf has gained popularity among some players as it provides a tactical advantage on the course. However, it has also been met with criticism from those who believe it is a violation of the spirit of the game. Some golfers view “snake” as a clever and strategic move, while others see it as a form of cheating. The reception of “snake” among golfers varies, with strong opinions on both sides of the debate.

“Snake” in Golf Culture and Etiquette

The introduction of “snake” has had a significant impact on golf culture and etiquette. It has forced players to reconsider their approach to the game and has led to discussions about the boundaries of fair play. “Snake” has challenged traditional notions of sportsmanship and raised questions about the ethics of using certain tactics to gain an advantage. As a result, it has sparked a broader conversation about the values and principles that define the sport.


Now that you understand the definition of a “snake” in golf, you can approach each round with a clearer understanding of the potential financial implications of this term. Keeping a careful eye on your own performance and the potential for your opponents to secure a snake will help you to stay mindful of the stakes during your game. By staying informed about the rules and terminology of the game, you can continue to improve your skills and enjoy the competition with a greater level of understanding.

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