The best backyard parties I go to have at least one outdoor gaming component, whether it is horseshoes, frisbee or a good old fashioned water balloon fight. I personally love a game where you can stand in the shade and enjoy the afternoon with a little friendly competition. I’ve wanted to make one of these PVC pipe ladder golf games for a while, and now that I have one, I can’t wait to play!
The game is very simple, and actually quite similar to horseshoes. There is a ladder structure at one end of the playing area, and you stand at the other end with a set of golf ball bolas. It is a point-based game where you try to land your bolas on the rungs of the ladder. The top rung is worth 3 points, the middle is worth 2, and the bottom rung is worth 1 point. Ladder golf game sets can be purchased online, but here are instructions on how to make your own out of PVC pipe for just a few dollars.
- 5.5 metres of 2 cm PVC pipe
- 7 cm PVC 90 degree elbows
- 15 cm PVC tees
- PVC pipe cutter
- PVC glue (optional)
- Nylon rope
- Golf balls
- Drill press or a drill and some clamps
- Spray paint
Step 1: Cut your PVC pipe to size. For a ladder, you need five pieces 60 cm in length and eight pieces 30 cm length. If you would like to play with two ladders (which makes the game a lot faster because you don’t have to walk back and forth to retrieve your bolas) just double your PVC pipe pieces.
Step 2: Drill a 1 cm hole through each golf ball. Be very careful on this step to make sure your golf balls are properly secured to a clamp when drilling through them. I got my golf balls used from a sports store at three for a dollar. Be careful of newer golf balls that may have a liquid centre!
Step 3: Paint your PVC pipe rungs and golf balls your desired colours. Make sure to get spray paint that is meant to be used with plastic, or it might all wear off when you first start to play.
Step 4: Cut your nylon rope into 50 cm pieces. Tie one end of the rope into a knot, and melt the end with the lighter. String two of your golf balls onto the rope, and then tie a knot on the other end. It can help to wrap a bit of masking tape around the end of your rope to help feed it through the golf balls. Your golf balls should be about a foot apart when on your bola. Burn that end of the rope as well to secure the golf balls onto the bola permanently.
Step 5: Once all of your paint has dried on your PVC pipes, assemble your ladder. Connect the two 90 degree brackets to either side of your top rung. Connect a 30 cm piece to the other end of each 90 degree bracket. Connect a PVC tee to each 1’ piece, and continue building your rungs downward. When you attach the last tee on the bottom, use the 60 cm piece as the back of the ladder so the bolos won’t knock it over during play. You can decide whether you want to glue the ladder together, or leave it so it can be disassembled easily for transport or storage.
Step 6: All of your pieces should be assembled, and now you can invite all your friends over to play! Stand 5 metres back from your ladder and toss your bolas onto the rungs. First person to 21 points wins!
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