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Subject: The strategy, misery and joy of golf, all in your living room rss

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Simon Woodward
New Zealand
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a.k.a. The Shire
Waggle, waggle
Golfwinks Table Golf (Waddington, UK, 1973)

My grandparents were great golfers, and my grandfather bought me this game when I was about 12 (memory is hazy). I spent many happy childhood hours perfecting my tiddlywink skills, and landed quite a few holes in one, although I still wasn't allowed to play the 19th hole. I also enjoyed designing my own golf courses (actually it's pretty easy, not sure why Jack Nicklaus gets paid so much).


Golfwinks comes in a big flat box. I mean REALLY big. I think they made the box about as big as they could just so you could impress your golfing buddies.

Image courtesy of Lourdes Tallet

The course pieces (tee, short fairway, long fairway, green) are made of felt-coated cardboard, ostensibly the perfect surface for controlled golf shots. I cut my long fairway in half (didn't hurt a bit) to facilitate storage in a smaller "solution" (as geeks like to call these things).

The 4 golfers and their balls are made of hard plastic, and there are a deck of surprisingly good quality cards showing the course layouts. This allows you to shuffle the cards to play the holes in different order. I am still waiting for the 1910 expansion with the exhaustive card set.

The bunkers and trees are light cardboard (cheap but they do the job). The boundary fence looks like it comes from a farmyard set, but no animals were included with the game. I think that's a pity, don't you? There is (was) also a plastic flag to mark the hole in case you forget where it is. I always had to use Blu Tack to hold it in place.


Golfwinks is such a simple concept I hardly need to explain it to you. As I mentioned, there are a deck of 18 cards which show the layout for each hole, including tee, fairways, green, bunkers, trees, and a fence to indicate out-of-bounds.

Play proceeds as in non-table golf. Except you need to set up each hole before you can play it. And there's no sunburn.

As there are lots of other reviews that explain the rules in amusing detail, I'll just provide a link here:


In the "extremely unlikely" (i.e. certain) event that you wink your ball off course, there are several hazards waiting to receive it and punish your score. Especially, for example, on the 1st hole.

"But which hazard should I choose?"

1. STREAM. If your "ball" is touching the stream, fish it out and place it beside the stream (opposite the hole). This is a 1 shot penalty.

2. OUT OF BOUNDS. If your ball lands behind the boundary fence (which is a bit subjective, and can lead to realistic golfing arguments), it is "lost". Play again from the same spot. This is a 2 shot penalty. Harsh!

3. BUNKERS. Play it where it lies. No penalty, it's just harder playing off the cheap cardboard surface.

4. TREES. If your ball lands in the trees, it is "lost". Play again from the same spot. This is a 2 shot penalty. Lesson ... don't try to chip the trees!

Red considers chipping the trees

5. UNPLAYABLE. If your ball lands in a position that you deem unplayable "e.g. in the family budgerigar's cage" (did I mention the rules are humourous?) you must move it to the nearest playable spot, but not nearer the hole. Take a 1 shot penalty.

6. OBSTRUCTING ANOTHER PLAYER. If your ball is touching or obstructing another player's ball, you may remove it temporarily while the other player makes their shot, at no penalty.


"Scoring in Golf and in Golfwinks/Table Golf is not as difficult as it may first appear." cool Yep, the score sheet is exactly like a golf card, and the game scores in exactly the same way.

Rule Book

I have to mentioned the rule book. Especially, the last section, "Stratagems and Etiquette of Golfwinks Table Golf". It's just really, really funny. For example, "The occasional well timed hint to your opponent can also be useful if you are on top, e.g. "Ah! I see what you're doing wrong. You aren't releasing the pressure on your golfer quickly enough to get lift"... If you aren't on top, ask for advice... or you could feign cramp in your flipping finger and howl in agony just as he is about to make his shot."

The 19th Hole

Golfwinks is a game that really does work well together. Tiddlywinks was a bit pointless really (honestly, wasn't it?), and this made it into an actual game. I think it is most fun if you take it a bit seriously and get into the golfing mood. But a bit of silliness can be good too.

Like real golf, you can play 9 or 18 holes, or more, and unlike real golf, it doesn't take too long. The components are excellent for the purpose, and the little touches like the cards, purpose built golfers, flag, and trees add that something extra. "Fore!" out of 5.

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