Welcome to Wolf: Learn The Basics and Advanced Strategies 

Nick Sahrmann | Game Update

Welcome to CGT’s guide to Wolf. In this blog you’ll find helpful information regarding the basics of Wolf, as well as advice on strategies you should take advantage of while playing your round. For instructional videos on how to play Wolf in CGT, visit our YouTube channel.

Learn The Basics

First off, what is Wolf? The game ‘Wolf’ was initially created as a different way to score a round of golf. This article will discuss how Wolf works in actual golf and why so many people love it. In terms of Card Golf Tour, Wolf can be played with 3-5 players and is similar to standard stroke play.  

Setup- The round will begin in the same fashion as standard stroke play. The dealer will use their scorecard to find the par and stroke index of the hole. They will then remove the four cards for the stroke index of the hole and deal the appropriate amount of cards to each player based on the par of the hole. The remaining cards in the deck will be placed in the center of the table forming the draw pile, and the top card of this pile will be turned over and placed on the table forming the discard pile.  

Play- Next, each player will roll the die (this only takes place for the first hole, reference our note at the bottom of this section). Like in standard stroke play, the lowest dice roll will be player 1 and will got first. Unlike standard stroke play, player 1 is the ‘Wolf’ on the hole. This means that they will decide if they want to partner with another player on the hole, or play the hole alone. The advantage to partnering with another player is that you as a team have a better chance of getting the best score on the hole. The disadvantage to partnering with another player is that you limit how many points you can receive on the hole (scoring for Wolf will be discussed in the next section).  

When does the Wolf determine if they want to partner with someone or go alone?  

The time in which the Wolf makes this decision is based on the par of the hole.  

  • If the hole is a par 3, the Wolf will make their decision after each player flips over their initial card during the ‘tee shot’ for the hole.  

  • If the the hole is a par 4, the Wolf decides after each player has a had one turn around the table.  

  • If the hole is a par 5, the Wolf decides after each player has had two turns around the table. 

The timing is staggered so that no matter the par of the hole, the Wolf has an adequate amount of cards face up on the table to make an informed decision on each players’ hand. After the Wolf has made their decision, play will continue like normal (standard stroke play) until one player has gone out and each remaining player has completed their final turn (reference the note at the bottom of this section for information regarding illegal moves in Wolf). At this moment, each player adds up the total for their hand and reports their score to par on the hole.  

Score- In Wolf, points are given to each player rather than recording their score to par. Points will be given after each hand based on one of five possible scenarios: 

  1. The Wolf went solo and had the best score to par. In this situation, the Wolf is given a point for each person they beat. For example, if the group is five players, the Wolf is given four points since they beat four players.  

  1. The Wolf went solo and did not have the best score to par. In this situation, each player besides the Wolf gets a point. For example, if the group is five players, each of the four players who were not Wolf gets a point. 

  1. The Wolf partnered with another player, and one of the two had the best score to par. In this situation, the Wolf and their partner get a point for each player they beat. For example, if the group is five players, the Wolf and their partner each get three points.  

  1. The Wolf partnered with another player, and neither of the two had the best score to par. In this situation, the players who are not apart of the Wolfs team get a point each. For example, if the group is five players, each of the three players who were not on the Wolfs team get a point.  

  1. There is a tie in any of the four situations mentioned above. In this case, the best hand between the Wolf or their partner had the same score to par as another player. In this situation, no players receive points.  

The scorekeeper will keep a running tally of each players points, and the player with the most points at the end of the round wins. Once points have been assigned for the hole, the dealer will collect all cards and prepare for the next hole. 


Note- The dice roll is only done once at the beginning of the round to establish who is Wolf first. For each subsequent hole, the person who is Wolf will move in a clockwise direction around the table. The order of play on each hole will always go clockwise from the Wolf who will always go first. It is important that the group plays the amount of holes in which each person will be Wolf an equal amount of times. For example, if the group size is four players, the group should play 4, 8, 12, or 16 holes so that each person is Wolf 1, 2, 3, or 4 times respectively. 


Note- While the Wolf is allowed to partner with the person to the left or right of them, they are not allowed to make moves in which one of the two hands is becoming ‘stacked’. For instance, if the Wolf notices that their partner, who is to the left of them, has the better hand, they are not allowed to make a move in which they would be sacrificing their hand for the sake of the better hand. The same applies to players who are not on the Wolfs team. 

Moves that are illegal include: 

  • Replacing good card in hand (putter, driver, hybrid etc.) with a much worse card (7, 8, 9 iron, etc.) in order to give partner the good card 

  • Drawing and then discarding a good card so that your partner can use it 

Learn The Strategies
  1. Determining whether you should go alone or partner as Wolf: This is the most important decision you will have to make in Wolf. Since each player will only be Wolf a few times in a round, they must make the most of the opportunity. As discussed in the scoring section above, the Wolf has the chance to win up to four points if they decide to go solo. When playing Wolf, it is typical to see the winner earn anywhere from 12 to 15 points by the end of the round (assuming the group plays at least 10 holes). Thus, a four point swing for the Wolf could win them the round on one hand. The success rate for a solo Wolf is very low however, usually around 20 to 25% (this rate will vary based on the size of the group, larger groups will have a lower success rate for a solo Wolf). So, how do you as a Wolf make this decision. As a general rule of thumb, the Wolf should only partner with another player if that players hand is at least three shots better than the Wolfs hand at the time of the decision. It might also be advantageous to partner with someone who has a putter(s) or driver(s) as they have a better chance of going sub-par. The Wolf must also keep in mind their position in the standings when making their decision. If the game is coming to a close and the Wolf is down by multiple shots, it would make sense for the Wolf to go solo, regardless of other players’ hands, in order to have a chance to make a comeback.  

Pro Tip- As the Wolf, you have the ability to win or lose the game for one of your opponents. In a hypothetical situation, we’ll say that it’s the final hole and the Wolf has no chance to win, even if they go solo. Let’s also say that every other player in the group is tied on points. As the Wolf, you partnering with another player gives them the ability to gain or lose points on the field. Situations like these can lead to crazy endings! 


  1. Playing Defense: Just like in standard stroke play, players have the ability to play defense on their opponents by holding on to cards that they might not need but their opponents do. Unlike standard stroke play, players can hold on to these cards and still score well. For example, lets say that the Wolf has partnered with another player, and the Wolf has a very good hand. Additionally, the player in the Wolfs group would be discarding to one of their opponents. In this situation, the Wolfs partner should recognise what cards their opponent would need to cancel out, and take these cards, even if they are bad (7, 8, 9 iron, etc.) at the expense of their own hand. This is becuase only the best hand of the partnership counts toward the hole score, thus meaning the Wolfs partner can have a terrible hand since the Wolf is doing well. Using this strategy helps prevent your opponent from scoring well.  


  1. Determining when to go out: This is another strategy that is useful in standard stroke play. In a hypothetical situation, the Wolf has gone solo, and is off to a rough start. It would be wise of one of the non-Wolf players to go out quick forcing everyones hand. While this player probably wouldn’t shoot well, the teams odds of flipping over good cards and shooting well is higher than that of the Wolfs, simply because the odds of having one out of three hands score well based on luck is higher than that of one.  

Wolf has proven to be a classic game to play on the golf course, and the team at CGT is sure that it will become a classic on the card table too. The combination of individual strategy and a team aspect is what makes Wolf a great alternative to stroke/ match play in CGT! Stay tuned to our blog page for upcoming releases of new ways to play Card Golf Tour, as well as monthly updates on how the business is going.

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