By Montana Grant

Posted: July 6, 2019


Cornhole is a popular yard game. Using 1 lb. sacks filed with corn or beans, the player tosses them 20 feet or so into a hole! Sounds simple and stupid but this silly game is addictive, age and gender friendly. The bags are lighter than horseshoes and user friendly.

The other day I went to a party and watched a herd of Master “Cornholers” In action. This was a double decked, serious group of bag tossers. Holey Moley, everyone had their own technique. Some grab a corner of the square sack and throw it like a frisbee. Others hold it flat in their hands and elevate the toss. The best sack tossers were balling the sack up fully, or halfway, and arcing the toss toward the hole. “Cornsistant” body motion and follow through were essential. Those “cornholers” with consistent movement scored high. If the sacks hit the ground first and then landed on the deck, they were removed and did not count. The more vertical of a landing, the better the sack would stay in place. Several Cornholes in one were made.

Cornhole is a great game for everyone. The bags are light enough that a person could throw them seated. If there is a sore loser who throws a bag at you, it will do way less damage than a horseshoe, croquet mallet, badminton racket, or lawn dart.

Several people take credit for inventing this family friendly game.

Ancient warriors and peoples threw rocks into a distant hole to pass the time. They would also use slings to improve their accuracy.

Germany claims that Matthias Kuepermann invented Cornhole. He saw kids throwing rocks into a hole and thought it too dangerous. He gave the boys 1 lb. burlap corn sacks and a small 6-inch box as a target. This game was called “The Bags Game”.

North American Indians also claim this game. Blackhawk Indians from Illinois used pig bladders filled with dried beans or small rocks, and tossed them into hollow stumps, holes, and targets.

Jeb McGillicuddy from Kentucky claims the game. In the 1800’s Jeb used 1 lb. corn sacks to toss into a 6-inch hole in a leaning board.

Later, a Massachusetts toy company produced a game called “Faba Baga”. It had 2 different sized holes and bags.

Popular Mechanics, in a 1974 issue, published the design and rules for the Cornhole deck and game as we now know it. Each group of contestants modifies rules and distances to meet their personal needs and skills.

Some gamers take their Cornholin very serious! Rules are defined and followed completely. No acceptations. Dangling sacks are measured, weighed, and inspected. Winners are not good losers. They can be real Cornholes!

The game was named for the simple reason that you are using a “Corn Bag” and throwing it into a “Hole”. Others try to pervert the name, but their version are made up. Beans are also used in the manufacture of some bags. Maybe this game should be renamed to Bean Hole! True “Cornholers” only use full sacks of corn in a 1 lb. sealed cloth sack. As the corn is used, it cracks and releases dust which helps to lubricate the board. If you use beans or corn, make sure that you store the bags in a sealed container to keep mice and critters out of them.

Modern “Cornholers” prefer plastic or resin balls in a 1 lb. sack that is smooth on one side and rough on the other. This allows for more control and tactics.

I guess we should rename the game to “Plastic hole”, “Resin Hole” or “Enhanced Hole”.

Toss away!

Montana Grant

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