Prior to game play a line must be set 5 paces from the ladder. This is the called the toss line. The official toss line is 15 feet away but most players measure 5 paces from the game ladder to set the toss line. This allows for a closer toss line for children’s games. Ladder Golf is played in rounds, each round consists of all players tossing 3 bolas. A coin toss is used to decide which player or team will toss first. The first player must toss all 3 bolas before the next player is able to toss his or her bolas. Bolas can be tossed in anyway the player chooses, as long as they are tossed individually and can be bounced off the ground. The winner of the round earns the first toss in the next round. Games are played to an exact point total of 21. In order to win, a player must be the only one to score exactly 21 points after the completion of a round. If a player goes over the exact point total, that players points for that round do not count. For example: A player with 18 points needs 3 points to get the exact score of 21 in order to win. If that player has 5 points hanging on the ladder after all the players have tossed all strands, none of those points count and the player will enter the next round with 18 points again needing 3 points to win. In the case of a tie, the players that tie will play as many overtime rounds as needed until one player ends a complete round 2 points ahead of the other player. The 2 point rule only applies in overtime rounds. During regular play any player can win as long as that player is the only one to score an exact total of 21 points at the end of that round no matter how many points the other players have.
Once a game starts, the board may not be moved. Players may not move their chairs, nor may they lift themselves out of their chair. (This is often referred to as the "one-cheek rule," as in "One butt cheek must always touch the chair.") No player may touch the board unless it's his turn to shoot.
The shooter places one of his discs on the starting line, with at least 50 percent of the disc within his quadrant. He shoots the disc by flicking it (pushing it is not legal).
Shooting With No Opponent's Discs on the Board
The first shooter, and any subsequent shooter who takes his turn with no opponent's discs on the board tries to shoot into the 20 Hole. If a disc lands completely within the hole, it's removed and set aside for scoring at the end of the round.
If the disc doesn't fall into the 20 Hole but remains on the board, and is either in the 15 Zone or at least touching the 15 Zone line, it remains on the board.
If there are no opponent's discs on the board and a shooter's disc winds up in the 10 Zone or the 5 Zone, it's removed from the board. This rule is designed to prevent players from being excessively defensive by "hiding" their discs behind pegs. Some players don't use this rule, but it is used at the World Crokinole Championship.
Shooting With the Opponent's Discs on the Board
If one or more opponent's discs are on the board, the shooter must try to hit one of them. NOTE: This can be done directly, by ricochet off a post or another disc, or even by knocking another of the shooter's discs into one of the opponent's discs.
If the shooter fails to hit an opponent's disc, the disc that he shot is placed in the ditch. In addition, if the shooter fails to hit an opponent's disc but hits any of his own discs (or his partner's), those are also placed in the ditch.
Disc Balance and the Ditch
After a shot, all discs touching the Starting Line are placed in the ditch.
If a disc is leaning into the 20 Hole, or balanced so that part of it is above the 20 Hole, it remains where it is. It is not removed from the board unless it's knocked into the 20 Hole.
A disc that goes off the board hits anything off the main board and bounces back on is placed in the ditch. Any discs it touched remain where they wound up.
At the end of each round, scoring takes place.
Each player or partnership counts their discs within each Scoring Zone. If a disc is touching a scoring line, it counts as the lesser value.
Discs in the 15 Zone are worth 15 points each; in the 10 Zone, 10 points each; in the 5 Zone, 5 points each.
Each player or partnership also adds any 20 points for each 20 Holeshot set aside.
Subtract the smaller score from the larger. The player or partnership with the larger score wins the difference in points. EXAMPLE: The tan player has 60 points. The red player has 35 points. The tan player is awarded the difference, 25 points.
If neither player or partnership has reached a total of 100 points, the next round is started by the person sitting to the left of the lead shooter.