Pin-Golf difficulty check, please?

Edit: Updated with results later in the conversation.

I’m hosting a Pin-Golf tournament at my place on Saturday and I posted the holes today. I’m getting some whining about difficulty, mostly from the top players in the league, but the casuals seem ok with it. I’ve tested the course and haven’t found it all that brutal, but I wanted an outside opinion if you’d all be so kind. Here’s the course:

Hole 1 - Spider-Man (Stern) - Start a White Spider Mode
Hole 2 - Attack From Mars - Start Total Annihilation
Hole 3 - Bride of Pinbot - Bring the Bride to life
Hole 4 - Tron - Start Disc Multiball
Hole 5 - Wizard of Oz - Start a Munchkin Mode
Hole 6 - Dialed In - Collect a SIM card (SIM memory is turned on)
Hole 7 - AC/DC - Light any 2 Multiballs (stacked)
Hole 8 - Iron Man - Reach Mark III
Hole 9 - Twilight Zone - Start Multiball (not via Gumball, but via the lock shot)
Alternate Hole - Ice Revue - Light Special

I don’t see a lot of sixes here, but I’m hearing “you’ll be the only one to score under 50” and “I’ll just pencil in 6 for most of those” comments. Personally I’m a little tired of Pin-Golf events wrapping up with someone scoring 15. Am I out of line here, or are these reasonable goals?

Yeah, there are a lot there that are far too difficult:

  • Start TA? How many casuals have EVER played TA?
  • Start SIX disasters in DI? I’d be surprised if most players have started 3 in one game.
  • ACDC: just keep it simple: start ONE multiball.



We tested at 3 modes for DI, but timing out modes made it really easy. Maybe we’ll peel AFM back to finish two shots to completion. Last time we did destroy 3 ships and everybody scored 2s and 3s. AC/DC everybody got 1s on test with a single mulitball due to backhanding ramps for Jam.

But I’ll re-evaluate those three. Thanks.

I agree dialed six modes seems like a lot because when we are in game we are actually playing out these modes for good points usually and inevitably fail too soon. For pingolf you will be timing these out so a couple shots to the moving qed guy and 6 scoop shots is all this is asking for. 3 would be a lot of ones I think.

Total anniahlation is almost like starting a mini wizard mode. Not unfeesable.

I’ve don’t The woz start a munchkin mode. It’s a good one.

AC/DC start 2x playfield was one I did before. Pissed everyone off. 3 shots but have to be done on same ball so it can be rough. (This didn’t change in code update did it?)


No change. Pretty good goal though.

How many balls will the games be set to?
The scoring is 1-6?
Will there be a finals per IFPA?

The goals should be based on how long you want the event to last. If you have 30 players timing out 2 minutes of modes on DI that will be 1 hour of backlog created on that game just due to that. Who wants to watch people time out modes?

How about reach a Bob Multiball (3 Bob completions) or play 3 Crazy Modes (mode, Multiball, mode - 5 completions)?

Bob is an active feature that there are some other ways to go about - do you start a mode to reach the first Multiball for safety, or do you just go at the targets? When do you collect your Bob features?

On Dialed in!, to solve the timing out modes option, is to make the hole: collect 1 SIM card. :sunglasses::+1:t2::trophy:


Yeah, Dialed In would be too long to go 6 modes. We’ll do start 3 modes or collect 1 SIM card.

I wanted to address this part. Having been to a few Pingolf events where entire cards sixed-out multiple holes, I would want to see lower scores overall. Having everyone fail and take a max score sucks, because it doesn’t reward players who got close and failed versus those who just played badly on a hole. I think part of this is Pingolf courses are often set trying to draw a parallel with real golf, where 3 is “average” for a given hole. I’d rather see something like 2 be average, 1 for good/excellent play, and then 3,4,5,6 to differentiate below average play from poor play on a given hole.

Minor adjustments up and down of course, to give the feel that some holes are easier/harder than others.


Keep in mind that the TGP is partially dependent on the difficulty of the course now. If players are averaging 2 on every hole you’re going to lose value.

That said, I think the original goals posted are too hard overall. Keep a couple tough ones but don’t frustrate your player base. Glad you’re taking some of the suggestions already mentioned.

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Ok, so I reduced Iron Man to collect Mark III and Dialed In to collect a SIM card (with SIM memory turned on). I had my wife, who almost never plays, test the course. Her only sixes came from DI (though she started 5 modes!), AFM, and BoP. She posted a couple fives as well, but did well.

Seeing her jump out of excitement getting Munchkin, the AC/DC stack, and the Mark III (on ball 2!) was awesome. Oh, and she’s 8 months pregnant.

I think we’re at a good balance between challenging and accessible. A six or two for each player won’t ruin the event.

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We had that goal (get SIM card) in a recent pin golf event. Of just under 50 players, I believe only two or three actually made the goal. Everyone else scored a 4.

If the goal is too hard, it’s no good, just as it’s no good if it’s too easy. What you are aiming for is a good points spread, where the median of the distribution is at 2.5 strokes.

I recently did a pingolf tourney and the DI goal was to charge the phone to 200%. Easy to understand, challenging but not impossible to pull off. Interesting because you don’t want to start modes etc so it forces you to play differently.

I agree with the idea of making goals mostly achievable. You want people coming away from the tournament feeling good, and achieving goals feels good. Failing everything all day will make people frustrated and miserable and less likely to come back in the future.


Even if we’re setting the games to 5 balls per game, or would you be aiming more for a 3.5-4 strokes goal there?

Just remember, the more difficult the objectives, the longer it will take everybody to play through.

Try playing a couple of practice rounds and see what your score is. Also time your play to see how long it takes to play through.(if time is an issue).

If time isn’t an issue, then averaging more balls per player means more pinball play for everybody!

I try not to “practice” ahead of an event I’m hosting, but in two runs through the course, I scored a 19 and a 21, and that was before dropping Iron Man to Mark III from Mark IV. Everything else was the same. But I was really feeling the shots, so I could just as easily go post a 40 tonight.

Unless this is for top tier players exclusively, many/most of these are way too difficult.

Something that people forget when setting goals: the players in this tournament only get one attempt, with no warmup or practice. They may not have played this specific machine before, and they may not have ever played the game at all.

My rule of thumb is something that takes 5 or 6 shots (maybe a few more if it’s a single easy, and repeatable shot).

With games on 5 ball, I aim for the average to be around 3. This means probably a third of the players are getting 1s and 2s.

Check out this thread if you haven’t already. It has the goals we used in the largest event that happened in Colorado in 2017, one that included 3 top 100 players. Pingolf: example goals and setting advice

If I were using those games, I’d do:

Spider-Man: Start Blacksuit. This is what we did at Dory Hill. Average strokes: 2.92.

AFM: Start MB (set locks so they need to be re-lit each time), or destroy 2 saucers.

BOP: Don’t know this game well enough.

Tron: Start any MB.

WOZ: Start any MB.

DI: Start MB.

AC/DC: Start any MB. (3.89 stroke average at Dory Hill…and 15m was also an option).

IM: Start any MB (2.46 stroke average at Dory Hill…but I believe Monger was set easier than factory, and whiplash and war machine were set harder).

TZ: I like this one. Start MB through locks. Could be done in 4 shots…but the lock shot can be difficult.


There is a much bigger risk in setting the goals too hard. If half of your players are taking mostly 5s and 6s, they’re not going to enjoy the event. One of the best parts about Pingolf is all the “little wins” that people get to experience. Usually, a pinball game ends with the sadness of losing the ball, but in Pingolf, if you reach the goal, even on Ball 5…you get to walk away having “won” by successfully accomplishing a specific task.