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Get Trashy: The Definitive Guide to Golf Trash

Golf Trash Side Bets
Last update: April 1st, 2021

There is not thrill in the game quite like picking up some trash and daggering your opponents in the heart. Trash comes in many flavors. Read on for a breakdown each type, and be sure to hit us up and let us know what we missed.

First of all, what is golf trash? "Trash" or "junk" is a special set of side bets in golf that can be earned by completing the hole in a specific way. Now, your goal on the tee is usually not to earn trash, but rather, trash rewards you for a special shot or circumstance along the way. For instance, you can earn trash by making par out of a sand trap, but this doesn't mean you should aim for the trap off the tee.

Trash is usually worth less than the hole is worth, so it's a nice way to pick up a little something extra on the hole. It's not the big reward, but just a little something extra hanging out there, hence the name trash.

When you play for trash, it is available on every hole and is not limited. Every player can earn the same piece of trash on a hole theoretically, and you can also earn multiple pieces of trash on a single hole.

Most trash is earned only when you make par or better on a hole, but there are a few exceptions (see Tattletales).

Despite this extensive guide, most groups don't play with all of these types of trash in play. Discuss which trash types you are playing at the start of your round to avoid any confusion. If you play with the same group often, you can establish what your "standard trash" is.

Read on to learn about the different types of trash.

Birdies

Picking up a birdie is as simple as... making a birdie. Birdies are the least trashy  of all trash, as presumably most birdies are a reasonably well-played hole. Earning a birdie often comes with another piece of trash, namely a polie or a stuffy.

Sandies

Sandies are another common piece of trash, and some of the most satisfying. A sandy is earned by making par or better on a hole, with a sand shot as part of that par. Sandies are most commonly earned by getting up-and-down out of a greenside bunker, but any sand shot will do.

Note: some choose to play sandies where ONLY a greenside bunker counts. Make sure you establish sandy rules on the first tee.

Polies

A polie is earned by making a putt for par or better from outside the radius of the length of the flag stick (7 feet). The only caveat is that you cannot 2-putt for a polie, so no laying your first putt up (not sure why you would do this, but don't even try).

Offies (and Hammers)

Offies, also known as chippies, Seves, Jardinas, and a variety of other names, are earned when you get up-and-down for par. This is the only piece of trash where you must declare, or call it, prior to hitting your chip shot. If the player gets up-and-down after calling an offie, a piece of trash is earned. However, if they do not get in for par, their opponents win the trash.

The Hammer

If an offie is called and the initial greenside shot is left far enough away from the hole that the opponents think that the offie is not going to be completed, they may double the bet or "hammer". The person who called the offie has the option to accept or decline. If accepted, the offie is now worth two trash, or if declined, they give up the offie and award a piece of trash to their opponents.

Greenies

A greenie, or "prox" (proximity), is essentially a closest-to-the-pin contest on a hole. The player who is on the green and closest to the hole, in regulation, has an opportunity to earn a greenie by making a par or better. 

Greenie Variations

Most often, greenies are only played on par 3s. Some groups, however, choose to play greenies on every hole. 

If no one earns a greenie on a hole, either because no one hits the green in regulation or because the player who initially hits the green three-putts, some groups choose to have the greenie carry over.

Stuffies

A stuffy is a less common trash varietal, and is essentially the opposite of a polie. It is earned by hitting your approach shot inside the radius length of the flagstick (7 feet) and making the putt for birdie. If the putt is missed, the stuffy is sacrificed. Stuffies are only earned by hitting the green in regulation, so you'll need to make birdie or better.

Barkies

Added by @paulen1400

Barkies are earned by making a par or better on a hole where you hit a tree (or bush) along the way. Barkies are only counted if confirmed, audible tree contact is made, so be sure to confirm barkie eligibility with your opponents when you hit a tree.

Splashies

Added by @adamtcb

A splashie, or "sharky" is a rarer piece of trash, earned by making a par or better after hitting a ball in the water on that hole. Earning a splashy is obviously going to require a great shot or long putt after dunking one, so plan accordingly.

Tattletales

Added by Justin B.

Named after the famous (or infamous) gentleman's club in Atlanta, a Tattletale is the only piece of trash currently known to not require a par or better. A Tattletale is earned by winning a hole in a foursome with a bogey or worse. "Not pretty, but I'll take it".

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