With 4th of July right around the corner & family reunion season in full swing, many families with be having fun with outdoor games. Perhaps horseshoes, croquet, ping pong, lawn bowling, bocce ball, badminton, cornhole, or ladder golf?! We were first introduced to ladder golf about 4 years ago at a family reunion in Nebraska (that’s a 15-month old Big Brother in the pictures 😉 )!
So, when given the summer creative challenges revolving around the outdoors as a Lowe’s Creative Ideas Blogger, we thought building our very own patriotic-style ladder golf game would be perfect! For those not familiar, ladder golf is a toss game in which you toss tethered balls (called bolas) toward a ladder-type structure, trying to get your bola to rest on one of the 3 horizontal bars.
Here are the basic supplies you’ll need:
To create the ladder frame, you’re going to need a fair bit of PVC (we used 3/4″ diameter). We had nine 2-foot pieces, six 1-foot pieces, six standard T fittings, and six elbows (or standard 90 joints). It was so nice to buy it at Lowe’s as they cut all of our PVC pieces right there in the store. That made things really easy when we got home! Assembly is a breeze. You create a base & then build a ladder structure with the pieces. If you want an extra-sturdy structure, you could glue everything together. But, we found that everything fit together quite snug & we like having the option to disassemble for easier storage.
Now, at this point, you could be done with your ladder golf “goal” & just have it be all white. But, we decided to have one with some color (so we waited to assemble & painted first). Your options are limitless, but we decided to go patriotic with some red, white, and blue. Spray painting the PVC was easy. We even found some Valspar spray paint specifically made for plastic (that’s the red). It went on brilliantly. Sadly, they didn’t have any blue in the plastic variety at our store. So, we just got a premium Valspar can in the blue. It worked fine too, just not quite as nicely as the red. Once the paint is all dry, then you can assemble the ladder golf goal. We noticed that the pieces fit even tighter after painting, so we saw no need for glue of any kind.
Once you have your goal, you’ll need some bolas to toss at it. Now, obviously from the name “ladder golf”, golf balls are the standard. However, with the little guys around that just isn’t an option. The golf balls are too hard and there is just WAY too much likelihood that someone (or something) would get hurt. So, we used tennis balls instead! It worked great! To make the tennis ball bolas (ideally you want at least 6 bolas), you’ll need about 15 feet of nylon rope/cord, 12 tennis balls, a drill (with a 5/16″ bit) or box cutter/knife, paper clip, and a lighter. We started by drilling holes in the tennis balls. The drill bit didn’t go through easily unless it was already sort of started first. So, it’s a good idea to indent/puncture the ball first (even a smaller/sharper drill bit will work). Once you’ve drilled the holes, you’ll need to lace the nylon cord through. To do this, we cut six 25″ pieces of cord, then used a lighter to seal each end of the rope. Then, we made a sort of large needle out of a paper clip, laced it through the cord, and pulled the cord through the tennis ball. Then, you’ll tie knots on each side of each tennis ball. You’ll end up with tennis ball bolas containing approximately 12″ of cord between each ball.
To keep team bolas separate & easily identifiable, you could color coordinate the tennis balls by painting them or decorating somehow. But, the boys were too excited to go play so we haven’t done that yet! 🙂
They’ve had SO much fun playing! Now, we’ll have to try it with adults & play “for real”! 🙂 So, if you’re looking for an easy & inexpensive project, sure to provide lots of outdoor fun, make your own ladder golf set!
What outdoor games are YOUR family’s favorite(s)?
For more great ideas, check out Lowe’s Creative Ideas on FB and Lowe’s on Pinterest.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Creators & Influencers Network and received a Lowe’s gift card to complete my projects. All photos, opinions, and experiences are my own.
Linked to: *Skip to My Lou, *Tatertots & Jello, *Flamingo Toes
AHA! I NEVER would have guessed. That sounds like a great activity to do with my boys!
Ladder Golf is fun. We are from teh era of lawn jarts (dangerous) and horse shoes (almost as dangerous) LOL. Of course witha neighborhood of kids there was always: kick-the-can, Annie annie Overhaed, Sardines, Hide and Seek, Tag, Roller skating (before skate boards!!) and riding bikes. Ah Summer time and childhood. 🙂 Hugs…
Lol, Carol! What is it about back there and lawn jarts (indeed, super dangerous)?! My husband talks about playing that too. Must be a crazy midwest thing! 😉
I am surprise that growing up in the midwest (home of random lawn games), that I have never heard of this! Such a great project!
That’s funny! The midwest TOTALLY is home of random lawn games– and some of them have rather interesting/colorful names to go with! LOL! 😉
Love it Sara! Looks like so much fun.
That is really neat. My kids love this game and have been asking for it. Never thought to DIY it.
Wow, Sara. I bet your kids think you’re Supermom just like I do! You are so fun and creative.
This is such a great idea! We always see people playing this game for tailgating parties during football season. I never thought about making our own set – love it!
Never heard of this game before, but it looks like a lot of fun. Plus, your DIY skills are amazing!
I have “seen” this game before at some outdoor parties, but never really knew what it was or how to play…and was afraid I’d be the only one who didn’t know, so I didn’t ask either! LOL Glad to learn what it is, and your tutorial makes it look so easy to build!
How fun! My kids would love this.
This is too fun! My girls would love this!
I’m so making this! We were just at a camp and my niece made one and my son who is 2 LOVED it! But I didn’t like the golf balls idea! This is brilliant! Definitely pinning it right now!
Do you mind sharing how much it cost you to make this? Love it!
Hi Penny! It wasn’t much. The most expensive things are definitely the spray paint (which you wouldn’t even need – you can just leave the ladder goal white) and the tennis balls. We already had tennis balls. So, for us, the cost was less than $20 for the whole thing. If we hadn’t painted it, it would have cost less than $10 for us! Hope that helps! 🙂
I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your ladder golf! You can see it here:
If you have other kid-friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!
This is awesome with the very clear directions and pictures. Thank you and we’re going to make this soon!
I was searching pinterest for DIY instructions and came upon your project. Thanks for the fantastic tutorial. It was so easy, especially with your supply list. I whipped this up yesterday and am so pleased with the results! I had to cut the pvc myself (time consuming but easy!) and my drill bit wasn’t long enough to go all the way through the golf balls, which meant trying to drill through from the opposite side (tricky!), but I managed. Thanks for figuring it out for the rest of us!
P.S. Here on Long Island it cost me just about $20 to make (not including rope and golf balls, which I already had on hand.) 3 ten foot pvc pipes @2.99= 8.97, 6 t’s @ .79=4.74 and 6 elbows @.59=3.54
Awesome!! Thanks so much for commenting! Glad the tutorial was helpful for you!!
For a more durable way of marking teams, instead of decorating each set of bolas consider making them with different colors of string. Each team would need three bolas of the same color, and the colors wouldn’t wear off with playing and weather.