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What is Cornhole?

I believe there are at least two kinds of people who find this web site:

1) those looking to find out more about this really cool backyard game that they perhaps only recently played for the first time, and...

2) those who have heard about this strange playful activity called "Cornhole" from family or friends who have actually played it, and only hope their web searches don't turn up something, well, less ...polite.

Assuming that anyone who REALLY knows what the game is all about will move on to more important things (like where to buy a set, where to buy plans if you're a do-it-your-self-er, or where to find plans for free (realizing, of course, you get what you pay for...), for all the rest of you, I'd like to set the record straight, once and for all.

Cornhole (as any experienced Cincinnatian knows), is a family sport involving 2, 3, or 4 individuals, divided more or less, into 2 teams.

The usual implementation is similar to horse shoes, the principal difference being that the peg in the ground (used in horse shoes) is replaced by a 2'x4' box. Well, not really a box, actually, but rather more like a box top. Team members (two at each opposing side) alternate turns, tossing a 6" square, 1lb. bag of corn at this box (called the "goal") on the opposite side. The goals are 27 ft. apart (from front edge to front edge). Each team has 4 bags of corn. Once one side has tossed all 8 bags (4 per team) to the other side, the other pair of players tosses them back again.

The bags are being tossed at the aforementioned box top 2ft. wide and 4 ft. long, with a 6" diameter hole centered side to side, and having its top edge 6" from the back edge of the board.  See the layout below.  The object of the game is to toss the bags into the hole by either swishing it perfectly into the hole, or landing it somewhere forward of the hole, and having it gracefully slide into the hole.  Each team member who gets a bag in the hole gets 3 points.  If the opposing team member tosses a bag into the hole as well, however, the second player's 3 points cancels the first player's points and the result is ZERO for both.

Further, if a bag lands on the deck without touching the ground first (as would happen if the bag rolls up onto the deck surface from the ground, or the bag slides down and touches the grass), then that bag counts for 1 point.  But such a score can also be cancelled by the opponent's bag landing on the board as well.  Regardless of the bags in the hole or on the deck, the final score after 1/2 inning of play is the sum of the points in the hole or on the deck.

The board is built so that the front is 4 inches off the ground, and the rear is 12" off the ground. Thus, there is quite a slope.

Someone, in a stroke of genius, I believe, actually figured that since a single sheet of plywood is usually 4'x8', wouldn't it be loverly if one could fashion an entire set of 2 goals from one sheet of plywood, with required internal bracing, of course, from 2x4 material or similar.

Thus, the dimensions are such that one actually can build a single set from 1 sheet of plywood, or 2 from 2 sheets, etc.

Variations of both the goals and the game itself exist of course.  Decks fully supported by four fixed sides are the traditional, standard goals, that are recommended for serious tournament play.  Ergonomic fold up versions also exist, which collapse for portability and storage. In all cases, dried whole corn kernels (feed corn) should be used to fill the bags.  This presents some minor storage issues, since raccoons, mice, as well as rain can all ruin the bags.

So there you have it.  That wasn't painful, now was it?  I and those who champion the game of Cornhole (or Corn Hole as it may also be called) sincerely hope that the rest of the civilized world will someday soon catch up with the great Mid-West and be playing Cornhole as well.  Only then will the game truly be freed from the confines of back alleys, dark bar rooms and beer halls, back yards, or football game tail gate parties.

Good luck with your research and happy Cornholing!


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