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The Nassau bet gets its name from the Nassau Country Club on Long Island, where the format was invented in the early 1900s by club captain John B. Coles Tappan. The game also is known as "2-2-2", and "Best Nines."
The Nassau is a type of bet in golf that is essentially three separate bets. Money is wagered on the best match play score in the front nine (holes 1–9), back nine (holes 10–18), and total 18 holes. The Nassau is one of golf's most classic and most popular wagers.
The amount of the bet is established—often $2 or $5 -- for each nine with a third bet for the overall 18-hole match. Points are calculated by scoring each hole as a separate match. The player with the lowest score on a hole wins a point. If the scores tie for a hole, this results in a "push," or no points won or lost.
This is a side bet offered during a Nassau match by the side that is losing in an effort to even their money for either the front nine, back nine or overall. If the player who "presses" (offers the press) then beats his opponent over the remaining holes on a given nine or the overall, he wins the press bet. In effect it is a double-or-nothing proposition. When a side/overall is two or more points down in the match, they may request a press. The opposition has the option to accept or reject the press, although it is usually accepted.
The press bet runs for only the remaining holes to be played on either the front nine, back nine holes or overall. In addition, a press on overall (the entire 18 holes) by the losing opponent will continue throughout the match as a new bet even up at the time of the press. Press bets can themselves be pressed if the player falls two points behind on the press bet. The amount of the press bet is the same as the original match bet. For example, in a $2 Nassau, presses are for $2. This is basically a double-or-nothing proposition for the player in the lead.
As with any golf game, players of greatly different abilities can compete. Handicaps are used to determine how many strokes one player must give another.