Fun outside game for the family

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 01-13-2010 04:41 PM 6431 reads 5 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Not exactly woodworking, but someone could make it a wood project. Even though it is cold and snowy out, Spring is around the corner :) (Yes, I try to be an optimist sometimes). I am sure quite a few of you heard of this but, until last summer, I never heard of this game. It is called Ladder Golf and the goal of the game is to earn points by throwing a bolero (two golf balls connected by a piece of rope) and wrapping them around one of the rungs of a ladder. I made mine out of PVC for easy portability but I can see where one can make a nice little set out of pine.

I bought a cheap package of golfballs from Walmart and drilled holes through the center. You need 12 to make 6 pairs (3 a piece for two players). I used my drillpress for the holes. Never drilled through a round object before so had to think about it for a few minutes. What I did was take a scrap piece of wood and used a forstner bit to drill a one inch hole. Then I left the board clamped and placed the ball in the hole and swapped to a regular drill bit. With the ball in the slot, the ball won’t roll and is properly centered. I used a large pair of vise grips to hold the ball while I lowered the press. You do not want to hold it with your hand. This went rather quickly and the results were quite satisfactory.

Golfball with hole in center

I ran rope through the holes, knotted both sides and ran a lighter around the knots to melt the coating to keep the balls secured.


The ladder is supposed to have 3 rungs total and should be designed with a base long enough to handle the impact of the boleros. As stated, I used PVC pipe, elbows, and T connectors to connect the pieces. I made two of them, one for each end of the playing field.


This is one of the few games that have actually pulled my boys from the xbox and gave them some outdoor time. I apologize for the project being outside the realm of woodwork, but thought it might inspire some projects :)

Boys having fun

boleros around ladder

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

10 comments so far

View clieb91's profile


4267 posts in 5396 days

#1 posted 01-13-2010 05:12 PM

David, Thanks for posting. I have seen this game in the stores for way too much money and had thought about making a version. Great way to do it.
Hope it provides you and the boys plenty of entertainment.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 4527 days

#2 posted 01-13-2010 05:32 PM

I saw that game at the tail gater for the Iowa State vs. Army game earlier this year. It looks fun. Great post.

-- Brian Meeks,

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5707 days

#3 posted 01-13-2010 10:27 PM

Pretty cool game David. I’ll have to tell my son about it. He’s been looking for ways to get his kids outside.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Bovine's profile


114 posts in 4789 days

#4 posted 01-14-2010 05:04 AM

I’ve also heard it called Hillbilly Horseshoes and Bolo Toss. It’s suprisingly fun and great for large family get-togethers.

-- Kansas City, KS "Nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution"

View yarydoc's profile


417 posts in 4605 days

#5 posted 01-14-2010 05:51 AM

How long did it take for the boys to start throwing at each other David. It would take my grandchildren about 30 min after you were out of sight.:) Nice game.

-- Ray , Florence Alabama

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4570 days

#6 posted 01-14-2010 06:09 AM

Thanks all for the viewing and the commentary. I have heard it called many names but never heard it called Hillbilly Horseshoes. Coming from real hillbilly stock, I kind of like the idea that someone thought a hillbilly found horseshoes to unsophisticated and thought golf balls should be involved :)

I hear you on the potential for harm Ray :) I have my boys every other weekend and on Wednesdays. I am fortunate in the aspect that I have two very well mannered young men (10 and 13). Of course, they don’t get much time on their own to do any damage ;) As much as possible, I try to incorporate some form of homemade toy, game, or accessory with them on a semi-regular basis. Neither one has shown any interest in the shop yet, but they are well aware that entertainment and practical needs do not always require a trip to a big name store. And they are my inspiration for building things myself. After having suffered through a few years of horribly constructed toys and cheap plastic games and the heartbreak that would follow each breakage, I was pretty sure I could do a better job on half of the crap out there.

Thanks again for the commentary and the read,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4891 days

#7 posted 01-14-2010 08:00 AM

I have one of these put away with the camping stuff. Take it with us whenever we go camping. Was a big hit at the family reuniun a couple of years ago. The next year 4 others showed up also. Ours are also made from PVC so the can come apart and store/transport easially.

Thanks for posting.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4795 days

#8 posted 01-14-2010 06:12 PM

Great yard game David. Thanks for the tip. My grandsons who are 10 and 12 would probably like it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View superdad's profile


22 posts in 4571 days

#9 posted 04-10-2010 03:42 PM

Is there a different score depending on which rung of the ladder you get it on? Love the idea.

-- Another one of Santa's elves, only taller.

View Matt Schnurbusch's profile

Matt Schnurbusch

36 posts in 5073 days

#10 posted 07-28-2010 08:09 PM

I have been playing that game for over 14 years. We call it ‘rung ho’.

In fact I have had to rebuild the set numerous times over the years. I think the next set is going to be a permanent setup made from emt conduit. A friend of mine has a pool and we play in his back yard all the time.

-- - If you can't have fun doin' it, it aint worth doin' - Matt

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