In Pick Up Sticks, when a golfer loses a hole he nominates a club from his opponent’s bag which the opponent cannot then use for the rest of the round

Pick Up Sticks is a golf game played in matchplay format. Under the rules of this game, when a player loses a hole he is able to nominate a club from his opponent’s bag which the opponent cannot then use for the rest of the round.

Variations of the game’s rules exist. The major one relates to the putter – most times that the game is played, immunity is granted to the putter; however this need not be so. Either way, the putter’s status needs to be confirmed before you tee off.

Another, albeit rarely used, variation is that when a player loses a hole they then can also reclaim a club of their own that their opponent has put out of action.

However, even without being able to reclaim clubs, players will still end up having a fair few clubs to select from when playing their shots.

Take a worse-case scenario in which no holes are  halved and the game goes down the 18th, then one player will have lost nine holes and still have five of their 14 clubs left, and the other will have lost eight holes and so have six clubs.

Another possible adaptation is that if the game is played over only nine holes, then two clubs are taken away each time.

The idea of games played with a reduced set, such as Pick Up Sticks or Five of Clubs, is that it encourages players to see the holes differently, to use their imagination to craft different shots than they would usually employ.

Thus it can be a training aid to develop feel and course strategy.

Pick Up Sticks has a pleasing self-correcting balance to it. If someone goes ahead in a match, it becomes harder for them to do well as they then have fewer clubs. Thus it aids the losing party to stage a comeback.