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Cornhole Game Rules - Pro vs. Amateur
or Non-Sanctioned Events

Every sport requires rules and regulations that govern gameplay. Cornhole gameplay is no different – but as with other sports, there are some subtle differences to gameplay rules for pro events, amateur and non-sanctioned. This blog article may help take some of the mystery or confusion out of the differences in Cornhole gameplay rules. We??™ll begin by defining the types of Cornhole gameplay events

1. Differences in types of Cornhole gameplay events:

  • Pro Cornhole Events: Officiated by an approved ACO member or other approved party. Uses tournament series boards (undecorated) and ACO bags only.
  • Amateur Cornhole Events: Officiated by an approved ACO member or other approved party. Uses tournament series boards (decals and stickers approved) and ACO or players own bags.
  • Non-sanctioned Cornhole Events: Officiated by anyone. Tournament boards are recommended but players can also use the ones they built in their garage. ACO bags are recommended.

The standard Cornhole court layout is a rectangular field area that is no less than 8 feet in width and 42 feet in length. The layout of the Cornhole court always includes 2 boards, 4 designated pitcher's boxes (each 4 feet by 3 feet) and clearly-marked foul lines. For outdoor gameplay, boards are typically aligned north-south to minimize the effects of sunlight.

2. Court differences by type of Cornhole gameplay:

  • Pro – 27 feet between front edges of each board.
  • Amateur & Non-sanctioned – 24 feet between front edges of each board.
  • Junior – 20 feet between front edges of each board.

The boards and bags associated with Cornhole can vary greatly between professional and non-sanctioned events. In backyards and at tailgate parties, it's not uncommon to see heavily-decaled boards with designs and sports team logos. Board sizes differ from game to game as well.

3. Differences in Cornhole equipment by type of gameplay:

  • Pro Board – a standard 47 1/2" x 23 1/2" rectangle.
  • Amateur & Non-sanctioned Board – a ~48 x ~24' rectangle.
  • Pro Hole – ACO official rules state that the hole must be exactly 6" in diameter, centered 8 7/8" from the top of the board to the center of the hole and 11 3/4" from each side edge to the center of the hole.
  • Amateur & Non-sanctioned Hole – is 6" in diameter, centered 9" from the top of the board and 12" from each edge.
  • Pro Board Setup – the front of the board is exactly 3" from bottom to top and at a 90° angle to the ground. The back of the board is 12" from bottom to top.
  • Amateur & Non-sanctioned Board Setup – the front of the board is 3" to 4" from bottom to top and at a 90° angle to the ground. The back of the board is 12" from bottom to top.
  • Pro Cornhole Board Material – the American Cornhole board is constructed of 5/8" Baltic Birch Plywood (often composed of birch from Russia and Finland) with several even coats of clear UV finish.
  • Amateur & Non-sanctioned Board Material – if not covered with high-gloss paint, varnish or a vinyl decal, the board playing surface should be sanded to a very-fine finish. There should be no splinters or blemishes in the surface of the wood that might negatively impact gameplay.
  • Pro Bag – a 6" x 6" SoftTouch bag in red or blue, filled with 0.915 to 0.935 lbs of PET Resin.
  • Amateur & Non-sanctioned Bag – a 6" x 6" fabric or canvas bag (no particular color), filled with 15 to 16 ounces of hard-kernel corn.


On drinking during Cornhole gameplay: Players in amateur and non-sanctioned Cornhole events may enjoy beverages during gameplay. As a courtesy to other players, however, all drinks must be placed outside of the Cornhole court during pitching. Drinks are not permitted in Pro Cornhole events.

 
 
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