Build a Ladder Ball Golf Game- Make the Bolas!

October 17, 2007 by  
Filed under Made From PVC, Toys

Bola Balls


***Update- There is  now a video version of the ladder golf build click here to view ->***

In the previous post we built the ladder portion of the game, now it is time to make the bolas. A bola consists of two golf balls, one on each end of a string. Hopefully can provide some tricks to make construction easier.
Here are the supplies that you will need to make a set of three bolas.

  • 18 Golf Balls (I used 3 different colors and 6 balls of each color)
  • 25 feet of ¼” nylon rope

I also recommend having the following tools

Always remember to use care and precaution when working on any project. Always wear the appropriate personal protection equipment such as safety glasses and gloves. Never operate power tools or equipment you are not familiar with, always read owners manuals and don’t be afraid to sign up for some classes in you community that will teach you how to use power tools and equipment.

The trickiest part of this project is drilling a perfectly centered hole through the golf ball. The best way I have found to do this is by clamping a scrap piece of wood to the table of my drill press and drilling a 1 inch diameter hole in the board using either a 1 inch diameter spade or forstner bit (see photo below). We drill this hole because it is centered with the center of the drill bit.


Now without moving or adjusting the drill press table with the drilled board attached remove the 1 inch diameter drill bit and replace it with a ¼” diameter bit.

Now it’s time to drop the golf ball down into the hole we drilled, notice how it sits perfectly centered with the drill bit. Hold the golf ball with a vise, or channel locks to keep it from spinning. Slowly drill the hole all of the way through the golf ball (see photo). Repeat this with the rest of the golf balls.Drill Golf Ballgolf-ball-hole.gif

The golf balls are drilled, now we thread the ¼” nylon rope through the holes. It helps to have a good clean end of the rope to make the golf balls slide on a little easier. I tied knots in each end of the rope so the outsides of the golf balls were approximately 20 inches apart. After tying the knots I melted the frayed edges of the rope to keep it from fraying further.

Rope Length

Now just repeat this for the other eight bolas and you ladder ball golf set will be complete!!

Ladder Ball

If you missed them you can check out

part 1 here or part 2 here


21 Comments on "Build a Ladder Ball Golf Game- Make the Bolas!"

  1. » Build a Ladder Ball Golf Game! on Thu, 18th Oct 2007 3:23 am 

    […] How to make the Bolas can be found here! […]

  2. » Build a Ladder Ball Golf Game- Build The Ladder! on Thu, 18th Oct 2007 3:41 am 

    […] In the next posting we will drill some holes in golf balls and make the bolas to throw at the ladder… […]

  3. My Ghillie » Build a Ladder Ball Golf Game- Make the Bolas! on Thu, 18th Oct 2007 5:48 pm 

    […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt […]

  4. Wilson Smith on Fri, 19th Sep 2008 1:56 am 

    Am wilson smith am sending this email in regards to order drill bit .So i will like to know the type of drill bit you have available in stock and it total pick up price so that i can quote you with the quantity i will order.also like to know the form of payment you accept.. do not hesitate to get back to me .
    thank you.
    Best regards,
    Wilson Smith

  5. kristi on Tue, 17th Mar 2009 6:31 pm 

    sweet dude

  6. Chris on Wed, 6th May 2009 3:53 am 

    What length would you suggest for the rope per set of bolas? I see that you say 20″ apart so, would you need 22″ or 24″ of string as the knot obviously takes up some lenght if doing 20″ of string.

    THANKS!!! 🙂

  7. build on Sat, 23rd May 2009 7:57 am 

    I would recommend starting with a longer length of rope tying the knot with the balls spaced appropriately and cutting the rope after the knot is tied.

  8. Drew on Wed, 5th Aug 2009 1:28 am 

    I just bought the items from home depot on 8/3/09. For all the rope, PVC pipe, PVC connectors, and 2 cans of spray paint (optional), I spent $28.41 (with tax). Without spray paint, its $22.51. Note that the only thing this does NOT include are the golf balls (which you should be able to find for free somewhere). This is about the same price as purchasing the cheapest Ladderball set online. I’ve read reviews that say those sets break easily and the balls fall off the rope. Doing it yourself will be better constructed and you can paint it any colors you want!

  9. build on Wed, 5th Aug 2009 3:42 am 

    Thanks for the feedback Drew! If you have any pictures of your completed ladder golf set we would love to post them.

  10. Amy on Wed, 7th Jul 2010 2:34 am 

    Great project, but no one warned me what is inside of golf balls. Some had a liquid, others had a coil of rubberband that eventually expanded and oozed out the hole.

  11. Matt on Sun, 11th Jul 2010 8:08 am 

    Been meaning to build one for ages. The girlfriend picked one of those ‘cheapest models out there’ the poster above mentioned, 20 bucks… great little set for 20 bucks, but yeah, they’re flimsy, fall apart while you’re playing, and it’s those soft, light, rubber balls… just not the same. Just built mine today, doing the golf balls tomorrow (Mom’s boyfriend golfs and has tons of extras, just gonna spray paint them and go from there 🙂 ) But yeah, building it yourself is well worth the little effort it takes and the little extra money spent It’s so much more stable and I built the base 18″ on each side, so the total length as the height of the game… barely budges when you really whip them at it. So thanks for the walk through, didn’t have the dimensions and it really helped me save a lot of time and PVC 🙂

  12. Matt on Sun, 11th Jul 2010 8:08 am 

    Oh yeah, will post a picture of the completed set once the balls are dry tomorrow.

  13. Peggy on Sat, 30th Oct 2010 10:40 pm 

    For those who have mentioned spray painting the golf balls …. we’ve done that and after awhile, the paint chips. I even sealed with a lacquer spray but they still chipped. Next time we just bought colored golf balls…you can get ’em cheap at places like WalMart or Target.

  14. Andrew on Tue, 14th Jun 2011 7:43 am 

    another option…instead of painting the golf balls, or buying colored ones, i bought some colored nylon rope from my local art supply store. each team is dictated by the color of the rope. i chose blue and red, but there are a bunch of options out there. good luck!

  15. build07 on Mon, 20th Jun 2011 7:28 pm 

    Great idea, I may have to try building a set with colored rope myself.

  16. One Great Tailgate | The College Juice on Wed, 10th Aug 2011 9:03 pm 

    […] Ladder Ball is another popular tailgate game. shares instructions for constructing the ladder portion of the game out of PVC pipes. You can pick up golf balls in your school’s colors to make the part you toss, called the bolas. […]

  17. louis on Mon, 23rd Apr 2012 7:17 pm 

    good morning, I made one off these games 10 years ago but wife made the rules. What is the version off your rules please.thank you louis from;Invermere BC

  18. Mike on Sun, 16th Dec 2012 12:56 am 

    I would say that if you are using 1/4″ rope, drill your holes with a 9/32″ drill bit. The extra clearance makes a world of difference when trying to push a floppy piece of rope through the hole.

  19. Jesse on Sun, 26th May 2013 8:36 am 

    One thing I found is that it is very very difficult to put the string thru the golf balls any tips?

  20. Kurtis on Fri, 19th Sep 2014 9:05 am 

    I recently added a video that shows how I drill the golf balls, it is posted above. Hopefully this will help.

  21. Ryan Nelson on Tue, 23rd Aug 2016 8:43 am 

    Very cool DIY bolas..

    There’s definitely a need to create your own bolos considering how easy they break!

    That’s something we figured out when we reviewed the top 5 ladder toss lawn games:

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