The Curious Case of Ladder Golf: Discovering the Many Names of a Backyard Classic

When you hear the term “Ladder Golf,” what comes to mind? Is it the clinking of bolas (two balls connected by a string) as they wrap around a ladder-like structure? Maybe it’s the laughter and cheers of friends and family as they enjoy a sunny afternoon together. Ladder Golf is a beloved backyard game, but did you know it goes by many other names around the world? In this blog post, we’ll dive into the fascinating history and the various names of this popular game.

The Origins of Ladder Golf

Before we explore its alternative names, let’s take a brief look at the origins of Ladder Golf. The game is believed to have originated in the early 1990s, and its invention is often credited to Harold Furry, who created it as a fun game for family gatherings. However, the concept of tossing objects to score points dates back centuries. In fact, similar games were played by indigenous peoples in North America long before it became a commercialized product.

Ladder Golf gained popularity rapidly, especially in the United States, where it became a staple at tailgates, beach outings, and backyard barbecues. The rules are simple: players take turns tossing bolas at a three-rung ladder, aiming to wrap them around the rungs for points. The top rung is worth three points, the middle two points, and the bottom one point. The first player or team to reach the predetermined score, usually 21, wins the game.

A Game by Many Names

As Ladder Golf spread across the globe, it adopted various names and slight rule variations depending on the region. Here are some of the most popular alternative names for Ladder Golf:

  1. Ladder Toss

One of the most common names for Ladder Golf is Ladder Toss. This name is often used interchangeably with Ladder Golf, especially in the United States. The term “toss” emphasizes the action of throwing the bolas, which is the primary skill involved in the game. Ladder Toss is straightforward and easy to understand, making it a popular choice among casual players.

  1. Ladder Ball

Ladder Ball is another popular name for the game. This name highlights the balls (bolas) used in the game, making it clear that the objective is to get these balls to wrap around the ladder’s rungs. Ladder Ball is widely recognized in North America and is often used in marketing the game in toy and game stores.

  1. BlongoBall

BlongoBall is a trademarked name for a version of Ladder Golf developed by Mark Blong in 2004. The name BlongoBall combines the inventor’s last name with the word “ball,” creating a catchy and unique name for the game. BlongoBall gained a significant following and helped popularize the game even further, particularly on the West Coast of the United States.

  1. Hillbilly Horseshoes

In some parts of the United States, particularly in rural areas, Ladder Golf is affectionately known as Hillbilly Horseshoes. This name draws a humorous comparison to the traditional game of horseshoes, where players toss horseshoes at a stake in the ground. Hillbilly Horseshoes reflects the game’s rustic and laid-back nature, making it a favorite at country fairs and family reunions.

  1. Monkey Ball

Monkey Ball is an endearing and whimsical name for Ladder Golf. This name is popular in some regions and adds a playful twist to the game. The term “monkey” may refer to the way the bolas swing and wrap around the rungs, reminiscent of a monkey swinging from tree branches. Monkey Ball is particularly popular among children and families looking for a fun and engaging outdoor activity.

  1. Bolaball

Bolaball is a name that focuses on the equipment used in Ladder Golf. The term “bola” comes from the Spanish word for ball, which accurately describes the game’s key components. Bolaball is a straightforward and descriptive name that resonates with players who appreciate clarity in naming their games.

  1. Rope Golf

Rope Golf is a name that emphasizes the string or rope connecting the two balls in each bola. This name highlights the unique aspect of Ladder Golf, where the bolas must be tossed and wrapped around the ladder’s rungs to score points. Rope Golf is a descriptive and easy-to-understand name that appeals to a wide range of players.

  1. Twilight Golf

Twilight Golf is a more poetic and evocative name for Ladder Golf. This name suggests a game that is often played in the evening, as the sun sets and the day winds down. Twilight Golf captures the relaxed and leisurely nature of the game, making it a favorite for summer nights and vacation getaways.

Why So Many Names?

You might wonder why Ladder Golf has so many different names. The answer lies in the game’s widespread popularity and the way it has been adopted and adapted by different cultures and communities. As Ladder Golf spread across the globe, people put their own spin on the game, creating new names that reflected their unique experiences and traditions. These alternative names also highlight different aspects of the game, from the equipment used to the environment in which it is played.

The Cultural Impact of Ladder Golf

Ladder Golf’s many names are a testament to its cultural impact. The game has brought people together from all walks of life, providing a fun and inclusive activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you call it Ladder Toss, BlongoBall, or Hillbilly Horseshoes, the essence of the game remains the same: a simple yet challenging activity that fosters camaraderie and friendly competition.

In many ways, the diverse names for Ladder Golf reflect the game’s ability to transcend cultural and geographical boundaries. It’s a game that can be played in a backyard in suburban America, on a beach in Australia, or at a park in Europe. The universal appeal of Ladder Golf lies in its simplicity and the joy it brings to those who play it.

How to Choose the Right Name

If you’re new to Ladder Golf and unsure which name to use, consider the context in which you’ll be playing the game. If you’re introducing the game to friends and family, you might want to use a name that is familiar to your region or community. For example, if you’re in the United States, Ladder Toss or Ladder Ball might be the most recognized names. If you’re playing with a more whimsical crowd, Monkey Ball or Twilight Golf could add a fun twist to the experience.

Ultimately, the name you choose doesn’t matter as much as the enjoyment you get from playing the game. Ladder Golf, by any name, is a fantastic way to spend time outdoors, bond with loved ones, and create lasting memories.

Final Thoughts …

Ladder Golf is a game that goes by many names, each reflecting a unique aspect of the game or the culture that has adopted it. From Ladder Toss and BlongoBall to Hillbilly Horseshoes and Monkey Ball, the variety of names adds to the charm and appeal of this beloved backyard classic. No matter what you call it, the game remains a fun and engaging activity that brings people together and creates moments of joy and laughter.

So, the next time you gather with friends and family for a game of Ladder Golf, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and diverse names that make this game so special. And remember, whether you’re tossing bolas in your backyard or on a beach, the true essence of the game lies in the connections you make and the fun you have along the way.