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Official "Play Nine: The Card Game of Golf" Rules

Play Nine is a fun and easy-to-learn card game that captures the essence of golf, making it perfect for family game nights or casual gatherings. Here's a breakdown of the rules to get you started:


  • Shoot the lowest score (fewest strokes) across nine "holes" (hands) to win the game!


1. Shuffle the deck and deal eight cards face down to each player. The remaining deck is placed face down in the center of the table, forming the "draw pile."

2. Flip the top card of the draw pile to reveal the discard pile.


1. Playing a Hole:

  • Each hand represents a hole on a golf course. Players take turns in clockwise order. On your turn, you have two options:

    • Draw a Card: Draw the top card from the draw pile and add it to your hand.

    • Play a Card and Replace: Choose one card from your hand and place it face up in front of you. This represents your "shot" for the hole. Then, draw a card from the draw pile to replace the played card.

2. Scoring a Hole:

  • Once all players have played eight cards (or chosen to stop playing earlier), calculate your score for the hole. This is the sum of the face values of all your played cards.

    • Negative Values (Good): Hole-in-One cards (-5) and lower values represent good shots that reduce your score.

    • Positive Values (Bad): Higher values represent bad shots that add strokes to your score (e.g., a 7 is +7 strokes).

  • Before calculating the final score, some cards allow for "Shaving Off Strokes" (see below).

3. Shaving Off Strokes (Optional):

  • Certain card combinations played together can reduce your overall score for the hole. These combinations are typically explained in the game's rulebook or on reference cards.

4. Moving to the Next Hole:

  • After scoring the hole, discard all played cards face up to a separate discard pile. Shuffle the remaining cards in your hand with the cards from the draw pile to create a new hand of eight cards for the next hole.

  • The player who won the previous hole (lowest score) becomes the starting player for the next hole. Deal a new top card from the draw pile to reveal the new discard pile.

5. Playing All Nine Holes:

  • Continue playing hands (holes) following the same process until all nine holes have been completed.

Winning the Game

  • After the ninth hole, add up your total score for all nine holes. The player with the lowest score wins the game!


  • Manage Your Hand: Carefully consider which cards to play and discard, aiming to create a combination that minimizes your score.

  • Pay Attention to the Discard Pile: Knowing what cards have already been played can help you decide whether to draw a new card or replace one in your hand.

  • Shaving Off Strokes Can Be Crucial: Learn the optional "Shaving Off Strokes" combinations to potentially lower your score significantly.

  • It's a Game of Chance and Strategy: While luck plays a role, strategic card selection and discarding can make a big difference.

Play Nine is a lighthearted and engaging game that's perfect for players of all ages. So grab your deck, channel your inner golfer, and have fun hitting the "links" with friends and family!

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