How to Play the Bingo Bango Bongo Golf Game

golfer retrieving ball from hole
First to hole out is worth one point in Bingo Bango Bongo. Tom Merton/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Bingo Bango Bongo is a points-based game that can be played by any number of golfers, from two up. The format awards a point to the golfer in a group who is first to get on the green; who is closest to the pin once all balls are on the green; and who holes out first.

This format is also known as Bingle Bangle Bongle, although that is a much less common name.

Earning Points

To earn points in Bingo Bango Bongo, you must:

  1. Be the first golfer in your group to get their golf ball on the green (called the bingo point);
  2. Be the player in the group whose ball is closest to the pin once all balls are on the green (the bango point);
  3. Be the player in the group who is first to get their golf ball into the hole (bongo point).

The goal, as you probably can guess, is to earn the most points during the round. All golfers add up their points at the end of the round and high points win.

If betting on it, the high-points-earner can win a set amount (with each golfer starting the round by paying into the pot); or you can assign each point a cash value and pay out the differences at the end. (There are 54 points total at stake, so be careful when setting the betting unit.)

Good for Wide Range of Handicaps

This is a good game for golfers of varying skill levels playing within the same group because it gives weaker players a chance to earn points in a couple ways.

For example, the bingo and bongo points depend on being first on the green and first in the hole, respectively. So if you are farthest from the green, you play first and get the first crack at claiming the bingo point. Likewise, once all balls are on the green, if you are farthest away from the hole you putt first, again getting the first crack at the point.

The best chance for weaker players in Bingo Bango Bongo, however, is with the bango point, closest to the pin. The reason is that the closest-to-the-pin point is only awarded after all balls are on the green. The best players in the group may be on the green in two (or three on a par-5). Meanwhile, the player who has hacked it up the fairway might be sitting just off the green and chippinggiving that player a great chance to pick up the bango point.

Order of Play Matters

Because of these factors (and because the first person putting will be the one farthest from the hole), strict etiquette must be enforced. The player who is away always plays first.

The golfers' actual scores on a hole don't matter at all as far as earning Bingo Bango Bongo points, but they still determine honors on the tee. And that does matter in the game in this way: It's a big opportunity to tee off first on par-3 holes. You get the first crack at earning that bingo point for first-on-the-green. So having the low score on a hole preceding a par-3 is a very good thing.

Bonus for Sweeping the Points

Want to throw a little variation into the mix? Award double points to any golfer who manages to win all three points available on a single hole.

Alternate Version Using Handicaps

Want to play a version of Bingo Bango Bongo in which your number of strokes per hole does matter to the game? Use full handicaps and award points this way:

  • Bingo point: Goes to the golfer on the green in the fewest strokes.
  • Bango point: Goes to the golfer who is closest to the pin after all balls are on the green.
  • Bongo point: Goes to the golfer with the low net score on the hole.

Ties for any given point result in splitting that point (a half-point for a 2-way tie, third-point for a 3-way tie, quarter-point for a 4-way tie).