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If you’re considering an outdoor game for your next get-together or barbecue, there are some qualities that you’re looking for:

Easy set-up, reasonable rules, and requiring simple skills.

A game that meets these criteria is Ladder toss.

Previously known as Horsey Golf, Ladder toss offers a simple points system and uncomplicated gameplay that makes it easy to take your outdoor party to a higher level.

If you’re on this page, that means you’re curious about how to throw ladder ball.

In today’s post, we discuss the basics of the game, its official rules, and the game instructions.

What’s Ladder Ball?

Based on who you ask, the game can be described as something quite different from a ladder throw.

Other popular names for these games are Ladder Ball, Ladder Golf, Hillbilly Golf, and Ball Rope.

Put simply, this game entails throwing of bolas (i.e., two balls joined by a thread) onto a ladder made of wood.

The ladder has 3 steps: top, middle, and bottom.

The goal of throwing a ladder ball is to throw the bolas around the different levels of the ladder with a sneaky toss.

The game is played in rounds, i.e., each player or teams throws 3 bolas on when it’s their turns.

The points are decided by the rung on which your bola lands, so the fundamental goal is to target the top level.

To throw ladder ball, let’s take a look at terms you must be familiar with.


The ladder is the structure you’ve to land on to gain points. It has 3 separate steps, each precisely 13 inches apart.

The ladders are sometimes manufactured from solid plastic, metal, or wood, and most of them can either be dismantled or collapsed so that they are easy to store and transport.


During the game, Bolas are used for throwing. They’re made by fastening two golf-ball-size balls together using a string or rope, so you need about six of this to play.

To differentiate amongst the teams or players, you must have three bolas of the same color and three of a different color.

The golf balls are also 13 inches apart.


The ladders in this game have three rungs.

If your bolas lands on the top level, you get 3 points, the middle layer is 2, and the last step is 1 point.

Throwing Line

The throw line is the line from which the players must throw their bolas.

In official matches, it’s 15 feet away from the ladder.

However, if you’re playing in your backyard just for fun, 5 steps is fine.

How to Play Ladder Ball

So how does a ladder-throwing game work?

As we’ve discussed earlier, you have to set up a throw line before the game — i.e., a range of 15 feet (or 5 steps) back from the ladder.

Ladder ball is played in rounds in which all players or teams throw 3 bolas.

Flip a coin to agree on who goes first.

The first player who goes first must throw all 3 bolas before the next player can toss his.

The bolas are thrown with a sneaky technique and can even bounce off the floor.

The player that wins the 1st round receives the first throw in the next round.

After all the players/team has chucked their bolas, determining the score is by counting the number of hanging from the steps.

Players can knock out other bolas or even throw them at the same level as others to violate the opponent’s score.

Once the round is over, the bolas still dangling on the rungs (with no opposing bolas) can be calculated for points.

Four players can participate in ladder ball games by merely taking turns in playing each round.

Also, you can buy extra bolas, which allow up to 4 players to play on the same ladder individually or even get another ladder.

With double ladders, two opposing team players would stay close to one side, while the other two would stand by the second ladder.

One side may toss all the bolas, and the other team throws them back.

Rules of Ladder Throw

Playing a ladder throwing game requires two to four players. Assemble the playing ground, ensuring that there’s a space of 15 feet in-between the upright ladders.

Note that this dimension is measured from the base of the ladder and not from the structure’s extended legs.

sEvery player has to toss all their three bolas before another player can take a turn.

Players can go innovative with the way they play the game, provided that they do them in a crafty style and don’t step in front of the ladder.

Bouncing can also be considered an appropriate means to score, so long each bola is thrown individually.

When making a throw, try to achieve a good swing with your arm and bola.

This allows the bola to have a more excellent range, which means that the line is stretched to its maximum length during flight, and there’s a better chance of scoring.

How to Score in Ladder Ball

Points are counted as follows:

Top tier: 3 points

Middle level: 2 points

Bottom row: 1 point

Players can also get an optional one-point bonus by hanging all three bolas on the same step or all three (top-middle-bottom) rungs in one round.

However, this score depends on the decision of your group before the game and doesn’t have to be applied.

Points are counted when all bolas have been thrown, and the player with the highest points throws first in the following round.

Also, remember to play defense. Hitting a bola off the ladder can serve as a helpful defensive tactic.

The player that scores exactly 21 points wins the game. If a player exceeds 21, that round’s throw doesn’t count in his total.

For instance, player A has 19 points, and then he scores six in a round, his points are cancelled, and he starts the next round with 19 again.

If there’s a tie, the game continues into extra time until one player is leading by two points.

Point Cancellation Scoring Method

In most backyard games, points are simply added up for each bola that is still hanging at the end of the round.

If one player gets a bola on both the top and middle rung while the other player lands his on the intermediate and last level, the first player gets 5 points, and the second player also gets 3 points added to their score.

Another example: On the top step, player A has 2 bolas, and player B has 1 bola; player A scores 3 points (while the other bolas cancel each other out).

How to Throw the Bolas to Win

Everyone has a tactic that they use to win, but they have to be implemented every time to be effective.

Here are some technique to use:

Grasp a golf ball and allow the bola swing freely, if you hold on to the nylon rope, the golf balls are closer together, and the bola should be as wide as probable to give the best chance of catching a rung.

Using your arm, form a pendulum and swing it a few times to get a feel of the desired speed, then release it without generating extra spin.

You would like the bola to spin, but if it’s too much, it will unwind from the rung and fly away.

Try to throw the bola so that it’s running toward the ladder at an angle of about 45 degrees.

If you throw too hard, the bola will glide pass the ladder if your aim isn’t flawless.

Special Circumstances

The standard scoring rules might not work in some cases. Remember to add extra competition to the game.


This happens when your bolas land on each rung, and your opponent’s does not land on one of them as well.

This means you’ve scored a birdie and received six points for getting your bola onto each rung (1 + 2 + 3), also a bonus point for a total of 7.


A hat-trick indicates that all your three bolas landed on one step with no bola belonging to your opponent on the same one.

You get a bonus point with a hat-trick.

So, if all 3 of your Bolas lands at the middle level, you’d get 2+2+2, totaling 6 points, with an additional bonus point that makes 7 for the round.

Note, that if all 3 bolas land on one rung and your opponent also lands one of his bolas on the same level, his bola cancels out one of yours. Instead of getting 6 points for that round, you’d get 4 points.


And finally, we have Zelda. This arises when you defeat your opponent, 21-0.

Concluding Thoughts on How to Throw Ladder Ball

While playing the game in your backyard isn’t too complicated, once you refresh the rules, you will have a much better time.

Are you interested in getting started?

All you require is a play set and an opening to play. You can buy the game set online or build yours if you wish.

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