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Cornhole: The Definitive Guide to the Ultimate Summer Game

Oh sure, you’ve tossed some beanbags onto a wooden board at a summertime party or picnic. But have you really played Cornhole?

Probably not according to the professionals. There’s actually an official American Cornhole Organization that certifies and approves Cornhole equipment, and there are official Cornhole rules and regulations.

For example, Cornhole must be played on a plywood surface measuring 48 inches by 24 inches, and weighing no less than 25 pounds. It must be sanded smooth, with each hole 6 inches in diameter, 9 inches from the top of the board and centered from each side edge. The front of the board must be 3 to 4 inches off the ground and the back of the board 12 inches from the ground.

The court must be 8 feet wide and 12 feet long and players must stay in their designated lanes.

Got it?

You also might not be scoring correctly. You know how your bag lands on the board without going into the hole? That’s officially called a Woody and it’s worth a point. If your bag falls into the hole, that’s a Cornhole and it tallies three. Throwing the bag, which is called pitching, must always be performed underhand. The first team to reach (or exceed) 21 points wins.

It’s also traditional to play using cancellation scoring. This means that the points of one player cancel out the points of the opponent. So, if Team One scores 6 points during a round and Team Two scores 2 points, Team One would have 4 points for that frame.

For a little extra challenge, you can play by these common house rules: If a team finishes by over 21 points, they are penalized the by the difference between their score and 21. For example, if Team One ends a round with 23 total points (2 points above 21), their new score would be 19. The game continues until one team manages to end a round with exactly 21 points.

There are even high-level Cornhole competitions, culminating in the World Championships of Cornhole. Qualify for them and you have to adhere to the dress code: no sleeveless shirts, no open-toed shoes.

The beauty of Cornhole, of course, is its simplicity. Flip a beanbag at a wooden board and do some simple addition to keep score – none of that weird tennis scoring or complex bowling calculations. Maybe even grip a burger or quaff a frosty brew with one hand while you fling the bag with the other.

Want your tailgate, backyard hangout or cookout to stand out? Get your custom, airbrushed Cornhole board from your friends at Atlantic Coast Sports right on Main Street in Mount Airy. They’re local folks – not some faceless big box – so you might have even played Cornhole recently with one of the staff.

Are you a die-hard Tarheel, Blue Devil, Wolfpack or Demon Deacon fan? Or are the Panthers and Hurricane more your bag of beans? Whatever your favorites, Atlantic Coast Sports offers Cornhole bag sets branded with the team of your choice.

Once you’ve got your branded bag in hand and a hefty Cornhole board set up, here are some tips to win those friendly Cornhole wagers:

1. Grip the bag with four fingers below and the thumb on top for maximum stability and control.

2. Keep your feet together when you start your throw, knees slightly bent. Then, step forward with the foot opposite your throwing hand.

3. Arc your toss between 5 and 10 feet. More than that costs you accuracy and could lead to your bag bouncing off the board. Anything less risks careening your bag off the board.

4. If your bags are bouncing off the board, ease up on the arc. If they’re sliding, pitch the bags higher.

5. Besides good hand-eye coordination, the key to winning at Cornhole is spinning the bag when pitching it. Spinning a bag adds control and cuts through wind. The most common spin is the pancake toss in which the bag spins horizontally with a slight downward tilt.

Follow those tips and you’ll be ready for the pro circuit. Just remember: get your equipment at Atlantic Coast Sports in downtown Mount Airy and no sleeveless shirts!


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