Golf Calcutta: What Is It?

Imagine a golf game where you don’t have to worry about your handicap or score — where the winner isn’t necessarily the best golfer, but rather the person who is able to out-strategize their opponents. If this is your dream scenario, then you’ll definitely enjoy Golf Calcutta.

What Is a Golf Calcutta?

Golf Calcutta is a type of wagering game involving golf. It consists of an auction in which players bid on the right to “own” another golfer for the duration of a tournament. At the end, the person with the highest-scoring golfer (or lowest-scoring, depending on how it’s set up) wins all or part of the pot.

Basically, a golfer is auctioned off to the highest bidder. The owner can even pick out clothing, hats, or whatever else they want their golfer to wear while playing in the tournament.

It’s a great way to get people involved in a tournament and add an extra layer of excitement. It also adds some financial incentive for the golfers, since their “owners” will be rooting for them.

Plus, it provides an opportunity for non-golfers to get involved in a tournament without actually playing. For example, someone with no golf experience could still have a chance at winning the pot if they pick the right golfer to bid on and that golfer does well during the tournament.

As such, Calcutta golf has become an increasingly popular way to add a bit of spice to any golf tournament. You may even see it pop up at some professional tournaments, as well.

History of Golf Calcutta

Golf Calcutta is believed to have originated from the Royal Calcutta Turf Club, where horse racing was the main attraction. The sport of golf grew in popularity and the club members were looking for a new way to gamble on their favorite pastime. They decided to hold an auction of players, where each member would bid on one or more players that they thought had a chance at winning the tournament. This became known as “Golf Calcutta” and was quickly adopted by other clubs around the world. It has since become a popular form of gambling in the world of golf.

Knowing the Terms

These are the Golf Calcutta terms to remember:

Auction Pool

The auction pool format is the most common type of Golf Calcutta, and involves each participant bidding on one or more players during an auction-style event. All bids are pooled together and then redistributed among the participants at the end of the tournament based on how their chosen player performed.


A buyback allows someone to repurchase their spot after it has been sold at auction. This gives them the right to participate in the event regardless of who owns their spot. Buybacks can be purchased before or after the auction, depending on what type of event you are playing in.


The tournament refers to the actual golf game that is being played. This can be a single match or a series of matches between multiple players. The format of the game typically doesn’t matter nor is it affected by the auction happening before the event. It’s important to note that the tournament is not a part of Golf Calcutta itself.

Sum Total Payout

The “sum total payout” is the amount of money available to be won in a Golf Calcutta, and it’s determined by the number of players in a tournament and the purse that is set for each golfer. The sum total payout includes buy-ins from all players, which are typically pooled together prior to the start of play. After deducting any applicable fees, this pool becomes part of the prize money that is distributed at the end of the tournament.

How To Run a Golf Calcutta

Calcutta golf is typically run at the beginning of a tournament. As mentioned, participants enter by putting up a set amount of money (the “buy-in”) and then bidding on the players in the tournament. The person who bids highest on a particular player “owns” that player, and if that player wins the tournament, the owner receives all of the money in play (minus any expenses related to running the Calcutta).

The key to success when running a Golf Calcutta is finding ways to make it as interesting and competitive as possible. One way to do this is to set up a “blind auction,” where each participant bids on a player without knowing who the other bidders are. This adds an element of luck and strategy as players must decide how much to bid on each player without knowing what their opponents will do.

Another way to make it more interesting is by allowing participants to buy multiple players or form groups that share ownership of a single player. This allows for more strategic bidding and creates even more competition among the participants.

Finally, you can also add side bets to the mix. These are wagers made between individual players or groups of players over a specific player’s performance in the tournament. This adds another layer of excitement and competition to the game, as each bettor is attempting to outsmart their opponents and win more money than they put up initially.

How Handicapping Works

Golf Calcutta works by using a handicapping system to equalize the playing field, allowing bettors to wager on individual players or teams without worrying that one side has an inherent advantage. Handicapping uses a numerical value assigned to each golfer (or team) to represent their skill level. The lower the number, the more skilled they are considered, and the higher the number, the less skilled.

Once the handicapping system is established, golfers can begin to place bets on their favorites. The goal of Calcutta golf is for bettors to pick the golfer (or team) who will finish in the highest position within their given handicap range. This means that even if one side has a higher handicap than another, they still have an opportunity to win if they outplay their opponents on the course.

As such, handicapping is essential to the game of Golf Calcutta, as it allows bettors to compete on a level playing field. The process of handicapping can often be complex and intricate, but it is essential to the game if bettors want a fair chance at winning. It’s important to note that the handicapping system is not set in stone and can be adjusted or modified as needed.


Is Golf Calcutta Legal?

Yes, Calcutta golf is legal. It is a betting game in which participants can wager money or items of value on the outcome of play. This style of betting is also applicable to other sports, such as football and horse racing. However, there are certain restrictions and regulations associated with running a Calcutta, so it is important to check the laws in your area before setting up one.

Can Beginners Join a Golf Calcutta?

Although Calcutta golf is typically done between experienced golfers, many organizations have begun offering beginner-friendly versions of the game. These versions may include altered rules and handicaps to make it easier for beginners to join in on the fun.

It may even be more fun for beginners to join in on a golf Calcutta and learn the ropes from more experienced players before fully participating in a more traditional game. As such, beginners absolutely can join one and have just as much fun as anyone else.

Why Should You Try Golf Calcutta?

If you’re looking to enjoy a bout of golf without having to worry too much about your own score, then Calcutta golf is the perfect way for you to do that. You can bid on the players in your group, and the highest bidder gets to choose which golfer they want on their team. This is an excellent way of adding a bit of fun and competition to your game, as well as giving you an extra incentive.


Golf Calcutta is a form of golf gambling that can be enjoyed by both serious gamblers and casual players alike. It involves the auctioning off of individual golfers in advance of an event, with each participant taking on the performance of their selected golfer throughout the tournament. The aim is to win money based on how well your chosen golfer performs during the competition.

This type of wagering is popular in golf tournaments around the world, and can be a great way to add some extra excitement to an event. It’s become such a hit among both avid golfers and casual fans of the game.

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