Pingolf: example goals and setting advice


You know, sometimes I just need to hear someone else speak before I realize how silly an idea is!

The first pingolf I played was last year, and I definitely was among those that felt like I was failing all the time. I think I might be thinking from the perspective of top players, and not the average player. Making the goals difficult is punishing the casuals and average players, you’re totally right.


At the Pingolf in Pittsburgh, the games were set to three balls, and the goals were hard enough that there were more 4’s than non-4’s overall. In some foursomes, none of the players made the goal. In retrospect, it would have been better to have more games played, even if 2 games on the same machine with different but easier goals. Give people some feeling of success while keeping things moving [all fails = long game times and machine bottlenecks]. Better 18 holes that go fast than 9 that go slowly; done right, they can take about the same amount of time.


The other thing to remember with PinGolf is that “close to the goal” means nothing. If your game’s goal score is G, doesn’t matter if you got 0.99G after ball 2, you’re still going to be recording a 3 on that hole.

If the league average on a game is X, that means X was the average score earned using 3 full balls. If the game scoring is somewhat linear and the average is close to the median (both of these points may be very dubious, depending on the particular game, but I’m just generalizing), that means after 2 balls, the player has around 0.66X. So as a very rough guesstimate, setting G = 0.66X will put you in the par 2-3 range on average. Using that logic, setting G = 1.0X would put you in the par 3-4 range on average. But perhaps some of your golfers aren’t league members or otherwise familiar with the particular games, so they may not be able to walk up to the game cold and perform as well as your league regulars… nudging the goal down offsets this a bit.


I’m in the stage of making up goals for a local golf tourney that consists of casuals and a couple frequent players. Trying to set a list of goals with variety that are easy to understand for all. Open to suggestions and/or changes.

Here is my list so far: (All games will be on 3 ball play)
**Games with multiple objectives player can choose one before plunging ball 1

Monaco: Get bonus to 50K or higher and collect from Top right hole.
Rip a spinner shot that advances bonus twice from one shot.

Fish Tales: Collect Monster Fish
Light Instant M-Ball

Monopoly: Start RailRoad or Main Mball
Collect 3 Sets of properties

Johnny Nm: Collect a Yakuzuma Strike Shot.

StarTrek TNG: Survive a HoloDeck Simulation Tunnel
Reach Warp 7

Street F2: Collect 2 or 3 Double Shots (Haven’t decided)
Crush 2 Cars.

World Cup Soc: Advance City to Boston
Get 3 Goals

TwilightZone: Light 3 Door Panels
Get 2 Camera Awards
Get 5 HitchHikers

PowerPlay: Hit both sets of targets down once
Light 20K bonus

FanTasTik: Spin Wheel 3 times.

Space Odyssee: Hit lit spinner
Light 20K Bonus
Make Horseshoe shot twice

Flash Gordon: Hit lit Spinner
Complete upper Target bank
Start 2 or 3x PF

Genie: Collect A-D
Light 3x Bonus

Phoenix: Hit Spinner for 1K a spin
Hit Bullseye target 3 times

Target Alpha: Drop 10 Targets on a ball

Jumping Jack: Hit all targets down
Hit top 2 holes once each

GhostBusters: Start 3 modes
Collect a captive ball value (Hit all balls back once)
Capture 20 ghosts.


Keep in mind that getting full WPPR value for your tournament means your course needs to average 3.33 or higher. If it’s not an IFPA event, then this doesn’t matter obviously. Or maybe you don’t care about full value either.

In terms of score setting, I used to do something similar using past league data and Joe’s point is spot on—average would often seem a little too high. Averages can often be skewed by very high outliers as well. I used to do the expected 5 ball average math and then subtract some to get a decent round number that worked evenly into my 1-10 scoring scheme.

Another suggestion, if you’re using IFPA style 1-10 scoring, is to use a non linear falloff past 5. IFPA uses 20% increments but I found 25/25/25/10 helps get the bad scores a little higher and makes a positive difference in peoples perception of their scores. Once I made the switch, the only 10 anyone got was from a slam tilt DQ but I’m probably the only one that knows that. And since par 5 is still the same score, it’s not really doing anything other than bringing scores up for the newer or more casual players. Better players will wind up par or better regardless.


Thanks for mentioning the 1-10 point system for PinGolf as I totally forgot about that one.


I thought it was just 3.0?[quote=“ChubbyGoomba, post:20, topic:3159”]
Would 2x the league average, or perhaps 1.75x be a decent place to set the goals?

As mentioned, this is way too high. :slight_smile:

What about finding the median and using something close to that?


I agree that this is too high. It means that half the people will walk away over par, and very few will get par or below it. I like Ryan’s suggestion of talking the median of past results. You should end up with about 60-70% of the people on par or one shot above or below. The remainder will be split, with about 15% getting bogey or worse, and 15% getting a hole in one.


You’re right Ryan… just looked and it’s 3 not 3.33. Dunno why I recalled it being 3.33. All that PGM math seems unnecessarily complicated when the numbers always work out to over 3 = full TGP.


It does sound complicated when you read it, but it makes sense. In non-pingolf play, you get 3 balls. For pingolf, your TGP will get dinged a little if you’re below that. 2.0 shots per hole? 66% TGP. 1.0 shots per hole? 33% TGP.

My advice to others is not to worry too much about this though. I’ve rarely played in a Pingolf event where average was below 3…most people have trouble setting the goals easy enough. If you end up a little too easy…and it’s 2.7 shots per hole…then you lose 10% TGP, which isn’t a huge deal really. (And if you have some kind of finals component, that will be graded separately).


I agree it makes sense, just seems like a really long winded explanation, with a lot of math, for something that’s really quite simple. Something like the following is what I would probably put…

“If the average score for all holes played by all players completing qualifying is greater than 3, your pingolf event will have 100% TGP. If you’re course average is below 3, the TGP will be calculated as a percentage by dividing the course average score by 3. For example, if the course average score is 2.4, the tournament grades out to 80% of TGP (2.4/3=.8).”


I run a score based Pingolf tournament and I’ve had a lot of success with the @dbs ( for setting target scores.
I’ve changed it a bit by only using myself as the test player and taking my average score from 5 or more games. Sometimes players have commented that they think the scores are too high but I’ve reminded them that it’s a 5 ball score not 3. Overall players of all skill levels have been pretty happy with the target scores with newer players having fun sometimes achieving their highest scores ever on machines.


I ran the Pingolf event this last Sunday, and I was pretty pleased with the results, which you can find here.

I put the games all to 5-ball, and target scores were based off of league average x.9. For a missed goal, I put a larger margin for 6,7, and 8 than for 9 and 10. I think the highest anyone got on any hole was 8! Nobody felt bad about how they played, which is what I wanted. I’m thinking now about making this semi annual now. :kissing_smiling_eyes:


Always err towards too easy!


I don’t understand this 1-10 or IFPA scoring for pin golf. Can someone fill in the gaps?


Here’s the excerpt from the IFPA Pin-Masters rules:

For example, the target score of CSI may be set at 10 million points. A player will continue playing the game until he reaches 10 million points. If reached, the number of balls it took to reach that score will be recorded for that Pin-Hole. If the player fails to reach the target score after 5 balls are played, they will be awarded a score based on how close they were to that target:

8,000,000 – 9,999,990 points = 6 strokes [80% of par]
6,000,000 – 7,999,990 points = 7 strokes [60% of par]
4,000,000 – 5,999,990 points = 8 strokes [40% of par]
2,000,000 – 3,999,990 points = 9 strokes [20% of par]
0 – 1,999,990 points = 10 strokes [<20% of par]

A maximum of 10 Pin-Strokes per Pin-Hole will be enforced. Scores will be cumulative across all rounds played.


Resurrecting this thread as I am planning to run my first Pin-Golf tournament soon.

It will be score-based with a par of 3 and all machines will be set to 3 balls with the exception of a few EMs at 5 ball. Ideally players will be playing in pairs (or groups of 3 if needed). If I have two hours of qualifying with everyone starting at the same time, how many games/rounds should I do? 12? 16? I’d like to do as many as possible.


This part sounds OK, but I’d set the EM scoring at: 1 or 2 = 1; 3 or 4 = 2, 5 = 3, no target = 4.

Two reasons:

  1. Otherwise, any 5-ball games will be weighted more heavily than the 3-ball games in the tournament.
  2. If any of them goes down part-way through the event, you want to be able to replace them with any other game.

2 hours could be tough to even get 9 games in, depending on the pars, number of players, the slowest of the machines you pick, and how the machines are playing in general. A 2-player group should be able to get through a game on a SS classic in 15 minutes, but that’s only 8 games in 2 hours and really requires all stars (or Stars, even) to be aligned.


Pingolf can run a bit faster since not everyone will need all their balls to complete a game. This is obviously somewhat dependent on how hard you set the score goals. I would suggest that however many games you decide to play, do not have all the games full of players. So if your course is 9 games, divide your groups up so that there is always at least one, and preferably two, open games. This will prevent backups and backups are what slows this style of event down the most.


Do 9 holes with mostly groups of 2, and make the objectives easier than you think they should be. An objective that takes 5 or 6 specific shots is about right. :slight_smile: