Wednesday, September 30, 2009

About Hole Magazine

It used to be difficult to find articles, news, and blogs about cornhole, but now that the game is becoming more familiar to the average American you can find it all over the web. You might think that the game is so simple that we run out of things to write about, but there are always new things happening in the cornhole world. With the increasing popularity of the game new forums arose such as Hole Magazine. Since then, Hole Magazine has kept us up to date on what is happening in the cornhole industry across the country.

Hole Magazine is the newest thing to the cornhole world and it delivers all the latest news to cornhole enthusiasts. Whether it's regarding ACO pro tournaments or small fundraisers for a good cause, it gets reported. Articles are written by some of the most die-hard cornhole fans on the planet, so they know what they are talking about. The website is completely jacked with articles, stories, photos, tournaments, and blogs guessed it, CORNHOLE! So how do they have so many things to write about?

Many articles are written about cornhole events across the country that the authors attended. Most of their stories describe how the events draw in more and more people to the game and raise loads of money for charitable organizations. Other articles and blogs are written about new products that hit the market, big tournaments across the nation, and their own opinions or ideas regarding the sport.

What Hole Magazine is doing for the sport is great, and I hope more people follow suit to help promote the game. That is why I do what I do; helping this sport grow is important to me and other cornhole enthusiasts, not only for competitive play, but for the original tailgating scene as well. Cornhole is and always will be the best tailgating game ever played in a football stadium parking lot.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Top 5 Bags/Cornhole Websites

Here is a list of some of the best websites out there that promote the game of cornhole. The ranking order is loose, but I'll give you some insight to why I like each site and what they have to offer.

1) - This site seems to provide the most discussion about the game along with useful information for those who are new to the game. Building instructions, product reviews, tournament listings, and downloadable brackets are just a few of the resources offered by this site. The key attraction of is the forum, in which newcomers can ask questions and search for answers about the game. I believe many search engine searches bring visitors to this forum for FAQs of the game.

2) - This website is the home of the governing body of the sport of cornhole. The ACO brings together the most competitive players across the country to compete against one another. The website offers a forum in which members discuss the future of the sport, tournaments, products, etc. It also provides the most complete set of rules on the web, a ranking system of the best players in the country, and an online store of the professional-grade products used in ACO competitve tournaments.

3) - This site is the homepage of Hole Magazine, which is a newly published magazine to inform all about the growing sport of cornhole. The website features cornhole-related articles, news, blogs, and more. Visit this site to hear some interesting news going around in the cornhole world.

4) - This is the American Cornhole Association's website. This site is also a good place to find information on how to play the game. The site offers its own set of rules, tournament postings, brackets, and other resources for visitors. Tournament postings are assorted by date, and cover a wide variety of locations in various states.

5) - I had to include another website that promotes the game through tournament postings. This site is great for finding upcoming tournaments in your state. The site also provides rules, board dimensions, and an online store to buy equipment.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Website

Want to learn more about the sport of cornhole? Visit the new site today! It has tons of information on the game of bean bags. Learn about the different rules of the game, throwing techniques, game strategy, and much more! Become informed about running different types of tournaments and leagues, and visit the tournament search section to find a tournament near you. View the list and descriptions of the best bean bag websites currently on the web. Download brackets for running tournaments; single elimination, double elimination, and any number of teams. Archives of bean bag related articles and previous blog posts from this site will be stored on the site. Look for the website to grow within the next few weeks.

In the future: will be the only website to discuss the strategy of the game. As players become more and more competitive, this game is quickly developing into a sport. Players around the country are reaching pro-status and earning a lot of money by playing in tournaments throughout the year. Players this good know all the tricks of the trade, so why not help the average player become better? All the techniques and strategies used by the pros will be provided on the site for the players to see. Practicing these tips and tricks will help the average player pitch like a pro.

Another goal in the future is to develop a forum for members to discuss strategies, post tournaments, and talk about anything related to this growing sport. Instructional videos and images will be posted to enhance the site, allowing players to see and understand the different types of shots, stances, and strategies discussed on the site. More detailed descriptions of shot types will be made available. A "shot book" of various scenarios will show what type of shot would be best in that scenario. It might sound crazy, but these tips can help you become one of the best players in the country.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to Make Bean Bags

Most bags made from scratch are made out of duck canvas or a similar material. Choose the color of your choice and cut the fabric into (8) 7”x7” squares. I would recommend using bright colors that are easy to see while flying through the air. Of course they will get dirty over time, so I would recommend not using expensive custom designs if you plan on playing outdoors a lot.

The finished product will be 6”x6” once we fill the bags with corn. The bags should be filled so that they weigh nearly a pound each. This is about equivalent to two cups of corn. When you sew the squares together, make sure they are a bit over 6”x6” so they will be the correct size after you fill them. Sew all four sides of the bag except for a small section to fill the bags with feed corn. Make sure you use some heavy duty thread so they will last longer! Before you fill the bags with corn, turn them inside out so the seam is not on the outside of the bag.

When it comes to filling the bag, you can use a variety of products. Most people use feed corn or plastic pellets. The difference between these two is that the pellets are more resistant to rain in case they get wet. However, pellets weigh less than corn and will occupy more space when filling the bag up to one pound. Another difference is that corn will break down over time: the bags start out bulky and tend to bounce, but once they break in they will be “floppy” and land softly.

A funnel can be used to fill the bags if you left a small opening. Fill the bags so that each weighs about a pound. Note that it is important for all the bags to feel the same size and weight, which is the hardest part of the project. More detailed instructions will soon be posted on

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pitching Stance

How are you supposed to stand when pitchig a bag? There is no right or wrong way, everyone seems to do it differently. In this post I will discuss some of the most common types of stances that players use today.

The most common stance is probably the step-shot. In this stance the player steps with their opposite foot while throwing the bag. For example, if the player is right-handed they will step with their left foot as they throw. Some players feel more comfortable stepping with the same side- right hand, right foot. If you choose the step-shot I recommend the opposite foot, but players should choose whatever they are comfortable with. An advantage of this shot is that the legs give the shot some extra power. This comes in handy when throwing an all-day tournament because it keeps the arm from wearing out.

Another common stance involves no step, and can be referred to as the stationary, standstill, or fixed stance. In this stance, the player put their right or left foot forward with the other foot dropped back (similar to the end result of the step-shot). There are a few advantages to this approach. First, it involves less movement of the body; only the arm moves. Also, it brings the player closer to the front of the box. It seems like the boxes are closer together when this stance is used, compared to the step-approach. However, the extra power from the legs is lost in this stance, and more muscle is needed from the arm to get the bag down to the other board.

All in all, it does not really matter what type of stance you use. What really matters is the arm motion. Usually if you can throw a consistently straight bag, you're in good shape. Once you are used to a particular stance, keep it and practice making different types of shots.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Leagues with 4 Player Teams

Many bean bag leagues are ran differently, and most of them are the weekly 2 on 2 matches against other teams in the league. The newest and more attractive types of leagues allow 4 to 6 players on each team with a variety of different games. These leagues typically use the traditional 2 on 2, 1 on 1, and frame games (singles and doubles) mixed for a total of 9 games each night. I thought of a few more ways to play, and even allow all players on the team play at once!

Why not allow the entire team play in one game? Two players from each team would stand at each end of the boards (making it 8 players in all). There can be two ways to score this type of game, one being the traditional scoring to 21 with players from each team alternating turns. I think the better way is to add up the total score of each team after a certain number of innings. Maybe allow each of the four players on each team throw 2 innings, and add up the total points for each team after the 8th inning. It may sound like a 4-person frame game, but the difference is that players from opposing teams are pitching at the same time. This can be referred to as the High Score game.

Perhaps an even better way to do this is having a 2 on 2 High Score game, but have the players on the same team stand on the same side facing the opposing team. Allow Team A to start the game, each player has four bags (8 bags per team), and alternates pitching bags to the other side. The object is to score as many points in each inning as possible, so players are encouraged to knock each other's bags in the hole for a higher team score. Add up the total points for each team after 10 innings to see which team wins.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Build or buy a set of boards?

Looking to play the fastest growing game in America, but don't have the equipment? You have two options. You can either buy a set of boards and bags, or build them yourself. If you can't wait to play, then I would recommend buying a set. You might be able to find a set at a local sports store. If not, you might have to shop online. Whatever you do, do not buy those plastic sets they sell in stores. They call it tailgate toss, Baggo, or something like that... but if it is made of plastic, do not buy it!

If you shop online, you should do some homework first. Make sure you buy from a company with good reviews and quick shipping. Many companies will customize the boards for you as well. I personally never bought a set of boards online, but I do know that some boards are better than others. First, you should decide whether you want a slick set of boards or a set that the bags "stick" to. Perhaps the best thing to do is buy a set from a company that runs tournaments using their boards. That way you know exactly what you are going to get. It also shows that the company is involved in the interests of the players, not just building sets and making money.

Got some free time on your hands? Build a set for yourself. There are many websites online that give you the specs and directions for building a set of boards. gives a few options of building plans created by people who have built many sets themselves. The forum at this website should give you all the info you need, and answer any questions you may have about building a set of boards. Details regarding wood, paint, tools, decals, and more are under the building/customization section of the forum. Building your own set is cheaper, and it is a fun side project to do at home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How to Use the Push Shot

As a follow up to the block shot strategy, I will talk about the push shot in detail. When another bag is blocking the hole (preferably your own), you simply try to throw your bag and make them both in the hole. It may seem simple to do, but the difficulty arises when you play on different types of boards. The shot changes from board type to board type, and great players are able to adjust to the different boards they play on.

So how are some boards so different? There are a few ways that affect your shot: slick vs. sticky, and bouncy vs. stable. No matter where you go you are likely to find a combination of two of these four elements. It is easiest to use the push shot on a set of slick, stable boards. The hardest set to use this shot on is a sticky, bouncy set of boards. I will give some tips on using the push shot in each combination of board types.

Slick & Stable:

Perfect conditions for this type of shot, if you throw it straight it is likely to go in. If a regular shot doesn't put it in for you, throw a slightly lower shot with more velocity to get both bags in. Be careful though, some players use too much speed and go straight off the back of the board.

Sticky & Stable:

This shot is similar to the previous one. However, it usually takes more speed to knock both bags in the hole. One recommendation I have is to try to make the bag land just before hitting the other bag instead of letting your bag slide up the board into the other bag. This is good for 2 reasons: 1) You won't have to throw it as low to gain speed (avoids hitting front of box), and 2) You won't have to change your regular shot much (throwing it lower and harder affects some players' accuracy, and brings them out of their rhythm).

Slick & Bouncy:

Perhaps the hardest set of boards to play on. Accuracy here is a must. Different boards have different bounces, so there are two recommended options to avoid the bounce (the center of the board is what you want to avoid). One is to hit the very front of the board and allow the bag to slide up to the hole. The other is to hit the very back of the bag you are trying to knock in to get a soft landing. This is much harder to do, but is a good alternative if you have a hard time hitting the front-end of the board. The hard part of this shot is getting both of the bags to go in. Usually you will knock in the bag you were aiming for, but the one you threw will bounce off the back.

Sticky & Bouncy:

These boards are also hard for this type of shot, but the stickiness of the board usually allows for a more controlled bounce. Again, different boards have different bounces, but the stickiness usually keeps the bag from bouncing as far. As for the push shot, I would recommend aiming toward the back of the bag you are trying to push. One tip is to try landing nearly half of the bag on the board, and the other half on the bag you are trying to push. This allows for a softer landing, less bounce, and more of a chance of getting both bags in the hole.

For more details on how to use this shot, visit the Game Strategy page of

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Game Strategy: Blocking the Hole

Most people think this game is very simple... and it is, but as the common player becomes more competitive, strategy becomes an important part of winning games and tournaments. Some players become so good that they can easily make 3 or 4 bags in the hole every time. When this is the case, the game can go on for a long, long time. Many players find it easier to score by playing defense. But how do you play defense in a game that revolves around a player's offensive skills? No, you do not have your partner at the other end smack the bags right out of the air. Instead, you block the hole with your bag.

Of course, this strategy might not work on all sets of boards. It is difficult to make the bag land in front of the hole on a slick set of boards, so this strategy is recommended for a set of boards than the bags can "stick" to. This strategy also works better when you have the first shot of the round. On the first shot, try to put the bag right in front of the hole so it barely leans over the edge. If it leans into the hole too far, it is easier for your opponent to knock both the bags in on his shot. By leaving it off of the hole more, it requires more accuracy on his part to either knock them both in or go over the top. The best case scenario is that your opponent pushes your bag in the hole, and his bag goes off the board. There are many different possible scenarios that can happen during your opponent's shot, but if they miss, your goal has been met. Further details about alternate scenarios will be soon posted on the strategy page of my website, as well as in future blog posts.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Types of Games

There are a few ways to play bean bags. There is the traditional game to 21, a frame game, and a few other ways to play bean bags. Bean bags allows players to come up with creative ways to keep the game interesting, so come up with your own ideas too!

Traditional 21

The most common game is played to 21 points. 3 points for in the hole, and 1 point for on the board. Opposing team's points cancel out, play straight to 21 or win by 2, etc. Almost everyone knows how to play this way, so I'm not going to get into the details. Check out my website to see the general rules for this game: or look at the ACO's professional standards here:

Frame Game

A frame game is a newer concept brought about by the American Cornhole Organization. It is used to test the skill of a player and rank them among players across the nation. At the same time, this concept can be used in competition where players can throw a frame game heads up. It is really not recommended for backyard play against your friends, but it is a good approach to becoming a better player and keeping track of your progress. Here is the way it works.

A frame game consists of a single player throwing a series of 13 frames. The player throws 4 bags per frame, adding up the total points scored in each frame. After one frame is completed, the player walks down to the other board and throws the next frame from that side. The player must walk directly down to the other side (if he/she throws from the right side of the board at one end, he/she must throw from the left side of the board at the other end). After 13 frames are completed, the player adds up the total points from each frame. The goal is to score as many points as possible throughout the 13 frames, the maximum being 156. Compare your score to your friend's or to players across the nation by looking at the player rankings at


Another way of playing, although it is more difficult, is to aim straight for the hole. This game is also a good way to practice your game. Only bags that go straight in the hole (without touching the board) count for points. There are many names for this type of shot...airmail, over-the-top, dunk, etc. You can keep score by adding up the amount of bags made each round or counting each airmail for 3 points. Of course each made bag will slightly touch the board while going into the hole, and it might be hard to tell if the bag bounced in or not. To solve this problem, the ACO has made a set of boxes made particularly for this game. Each box is made up of a hole with only a few inches of board around it, very intimidating at first glance! You can check out this product at

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Past, Present, and Future

Many say that the game originated somewhere in Ohio, where the majority of players seem to be. Others say Kentucky, the Oregon Trail, Ireland, whatever. There seems to be no proof that the game originated in any one location. As far as I am concerned, it doesn't really matter where the first game of cornhole was played. The only thing that matters is where the game is now, and where it will be in the future. the game is growing so fast, it is only a matter of time before it becomes an international sport.
I truly hope that this game gets big, REALLY BIG. I can see it growing into a professional sport similar to golf, bowling, or darts. I think it is more closely related to bowling than any other sport. So how do we develop this game into a professional sport? Well, the American Cornhole Organization (ACO) has already taken the first few steps of the process. They managed to draw in many of the best players in the country to compete against each other individually for exceptional amounts of money. It may take a few years, but I can definitely see the ACO becoming the overall governing body of the sport, just as the NFL is to football.
At the same time, we need people all over the country to become aware of the game to begin with. When more and more people play the game, there will be more fans to watch the best players in the world play. Just like any sport it is important to gather a fan base that will support the game of cornhole.

General Rules of Cornhole

Different Bean Bag / Cornhole organizations establish different sets of rules to play the game, especially those that run tournaments. These are the most common rules to play by:


(2) Game Boxes
(8) Bean Bags : 4 of one color and 4 of another color


Place the boxes approximately 30 ft. apart (hole to hole) facing each other on a flat surface. Boxes should be directly across from each other with enough room overhead to throw the bags.


Each player chooses to stand on one side of the box, players cannot stand on the same side to toss. Players alternate tossing each of their 4 bags to the game box on the opposite end. While tossing, players must stay behind the front of the game box to avoid a foot fault. Most tournament directors also require players to remain no more than 3 ft. from the side of the box while tossing.

A bag that lies on the board without touching the ground = 1 point
A bag that goes in the hole at any point in the inning = 3 points A bag that touches the ground at any time does not count for any points

Opposing player's points cancel out (ex: if player A has one bag on the board, and player B has one in the hole, player B gets 2 points)

Gameplay continues until one team reaches 21 points total. Some tournament directors require a team to win by a margin of 2 points or greater. Also, some tournaments establish a "skunk" rule: if one team reaches a certain number of points (usually 11) before the other team scores any points, the game is over.

How to Throw a Flat Bag


In order to be a great bags player, you MUST learn how to throw the bag so that it spins through the air. A horizontal, spinning bag is the key to pitching a consistent game for two reasons. First, putting spin on the bag allows it to "sail" through the air without being affected by the wind. Second, a flat spin allows the bag to land smoothly on the game board, and more importantly continue to move in a straight path once it hits the board. A "flopping" bag seems to bounce in different directions after striking the board, making the player's tosses more inconsistent.

So how do you spin the bag perfectly flat? Many beginners find this to be difficult and give up after a few attempts. It does take some practice, but I have come up with a few tips to help players get the hang of it more quickly.

1) Hold the bag perfectly flat from the start, with your thumb on top of the bag and your other fingers underneath. Most beginners do not bend their wrist inward enough to release the bag horizontally flat (parallel to the ground).

2) Begin the toss with your thumb and fingers pointing directly toward your left (if you're pitching right-handed). Try to keep your fingers pointed in this direction as you move through your backswing. As you move your arm forward, your fingers should point straight forward by the time you release the bag, causing the bag to spin through the air. (Wrist motion is similar to throwing a frisbee)

3) It is important to pitch the bag in a smooth, slow motion. Many players lose control during the transition from the backswing to the frontswing, and go through the entire motion too quickly. Your backswing should be very slow until you begin the frontswing, which should gradually increase in speed until the bag is released.

Check out these instructions on the new site