Ladder toss also known as ladder ball, is a lawn game played by throwing bolas (two balls connected by a string) onto a ladder. The game was formerly known as "Horsey Golf" when it was first created, in 1994, by Eric Brown of Arcola, Sask.
The items needed to play are two ladders and a set of three bolas per team. Each ladder has three rungs, each rung scoring a different point value. One common method of scoring is to have the rungs be one, two and three points. In one variety the top is worth 1, middle is 2, and bottom is 3. Points are tallied at the end of each round, after all teams have thrown their bolas. The bolas suspended on the ladder score the points for that rung, often with the goal of getting at least 21 points to win.
Another variety of scoring would be 1pt for the bottom rung, 2pts for the middle, 3pts for the top, and if you have a bola on each of the rungs, that's an automatic 10pts. Makes the game move faster, but just as hard. There are a few optional ways to earn bonus points: 1) A tight dangle bonus is when the balls can no longer be wrapped around the horizontal rods. This is worth an additional point to each tight dangle. 2) A springboard bonus occurs when the balls launch back in the direction they were thrown. A springboard bonus is worth one additional point. 3) Optional play is cancel points where the bolas of the opponent land on the same rung. For example, if Player A throws onto the middle rung he/she scores 2 points, but when the opponent lands on that same rung, the scores cancel, netting to 0. Points only cancel on the same rung. Player A could have two bolas wrapped on the top rung (1pt) and Player B one bola wrapped on the middle rung (2pts), assuming no other bolas stuck, the net score would be 2 - 2 for that round of play. This optional play makes the game a little more competitive and the game may last just a little bit longer.
The balls on the bolas are often golf balls, but may be any uniform weight. They are sometimes plastic balls, tennis balls, rubber balls or a monkey's fist knot. Teams are distinguished by having their own color. For example, Team One may have three bolas with blue string, Team Two may have red string and Team Three may have purple string. Also, the teams may have different colors of balls. Ladder toss may be played with two people (one person per team) or up to six people (three teams of two people).
The rungs may be plastic pipe, wood or other materials. Construction of the game is relatively easy and can be put together with the following:
- 16’ - ¾” PVC pipe
- 2 - ¾” PVC Elbow joints
- 6 – ¾” PVC “T” joints
- 12’ – 3/8” Nylon rope
- 12 – balls (six each of two different colors.)
- 4 - ¾” PVC end caps (optional)
Irrigation (white) PVC pipe is commonly used but electrical (grey) PVC pipe may be preferable, at increased cost, as it contains UV inhibitors to prevent the PVC from getting brittle from sunlight exposure. Alternatively, painting (white) PVC pipe would also protect them from UV; be sure to use a paint intended for plastics and sanding with 220 grit will help with adhesion.
Being a relatively new and grassroots game, it goes by many names. Some of these names are "Läderbölen" (English: "Ladder Ball"), "Lasso Golf", "North Dakota Golf", "Norwegian Golf", "Dangle Ball", "Balls on Bars", and many others. There is also a patented version of the game called Ladder Golf.