Competitive Cornhole Rules
Official Bag Toss/Cornhole Rules and Regulations
|RULE 1: Court Layout||RULE 6: Court Maintenance|
|RULE 2: Pitching Distances||RULE 7: Playing Equipment|
|RULE 3: Play of the Game||RULE 8: Appropriate CPA Member Conduct|
|RULE 4: Scoring||RULE 9: CPA Sanctioned Tournament Play|
|RULE 5: Length of the Game|
RULE 1: Court Layout
1.1 The Court – A Cornhole court is a rectangular area 8 ft wide and a minimum of 42 ft long. The court consists of 2 boards, 4 designated pitchers boxes and foul lines (see illustration above)
1.2 A Pitchers Box – A pitchers box (rectangle 4 ft x 3 ft) is at each end of the court and on both sides of each board (4 boxes in all). Each cornhole player must remain in the pitchers box while pitching bags.
1.3 Foul Lines –The front edge of each cornhole board is the foul line. This applies to all sanctioned and non-sanctioned games.
1.4 Multiple Courts –There should be a 2 ft buffer zone between the pitchers boxes of the two parallel courts. This will leave a total of 10 ft between boards set up side by side.
1.5 Indoor Courts -Sanctioned events must have 15 ft vertical clearance from the lowest possible obstruction. Amateur (Casual Play) Sanctioned & Non-Sanctioned should have 12 ft vertical clearance.
TIP: If you are playing outdoors and the sun is creating a problem, try a north to south setting to minimize this.
RULE 2: Pitching Distances
2.1 Competitive Sanctioned Events – must have 27 ft between front edges of boards and 33 ft between the fronts of each cornhole board target hole.
2.2 Amateur (casual) – must have 24 ft between front edges of boards and 30 ft between the center of each cornhole board target hole.
RULE 3: Play of the Game
3.1 Singles or Doubles Competition – Cornhole can be played as a single or double competition.
Single Cornhole Competition is where one player competes with another player and they are both pitching from the same board.
Double Cornhole Competition is where two teams, made up of two players each, compete against each other. Each team will have a one player at each end of the court pitching from opposite boards.
3.2 Opening Coin Flip
3.3 Position of Players In Doubles Competition each team will have a player in the pitchers box directly adjacent from them so that there is a member of each team at both ends of the court. Each player is assigned a pitchers box and will be required to pitch from that box throughout the entire game.
In Singles Competition when moving from one end of the court to the other during play, the player who is in the left pitchers box would move to the right pitchers box at the other of the court.
In both Singles and Doubles Competitions the player must not go outside the designated pitchers box during a pitch. The players at the opposite end of the court are to stand outside and behind their own pitchers box while a pitch is being made.
3.4 Delivery of Cornhole Bags
In Doubles Competition the players pitching first alternate until they have pitched all 8 bags to complete a frame. The players at the other end of the court call out the score before removing all bags, and the players pitching second also pitch in the exact manner to complete a frame.
In Single Competition the player who pitches first will alternate with the other player going second until all 8 bags have been pitched to complete a frame.
If a player pitches out of turn at any time during the frame, their pitch will be considered a foul bag and removed from the playing surface.
If the error is not discovered until two bags have been pitched, the frame will continue and be scored accordingly.
All players must deliver the bag within 12 seconds of stepping into the pitchers box with the intention of pitching.
NOTE: Until equipment has been designed to accurately enforce this rule, it is stated to be a common courtesy rule that can be enforced by the tournament director if they so choose.
TIP: Players can pitch with either hand and it is not mandated that the players pitch from the same hand throughout the whole game.
3.5 Pitching Rotation
The player who scores in the preceding frame pitches first in the next frame. If neither pitcher scores, the player who pitched first will continue to pitch first in the next frame.
3.6 Scoring Designations
A bag that passes through the target hole of the cornhole boards playing surface, whether thrown or pushed through by other bags from any player, equals 3 points.
A bag that lands on the playing surface and does not go through the target hole of the cornhole board, equals 1 point.
If a bag lands on the playing surface but is touching the ground or touches the ground before landing on the playing surface, shall be removed from the playing surface before the next pitch, and will not accumulate any points.
A bag that does not land on, or is knocked off the cornhole playing surface, or does not go through the target hole is considered a dead bag and shall be removed from the cornhole court before the next pitch and will not accumulate any points.
A Foul will be called for any of the following conditions:
- When a bag is pitched and the player has made contact with or crossed over the line of the pitchers box they are throwing from.
- When a bag is pitched and the player has started or stepped completely outside the pitchers box before releasing the bag.
- When a bag is not delivered within the 12 second time limit
- When a bag is pitched by a player who is not in their assigned pitchers box
- Any bag that touches the ground or court surface before landing on the playing surface
- Any bag that touches a previously defined object such as a tree limb, wire, indoor court ceiling, etc…
- Any bag that leaves a players hand once the final forward swing of the toss has started shall count as a pitched bag. A bag that is accidentally dropped by a player before the final forward swing has started shall not be considered a foul and may be picked up and pitched.
- Any bag that a player removes before the scoring of that bag has been agreed upon. A judge shall be called if a decision cannot be reached and the judge shall determine the scoring for the frame
If a player should protest a decision, the protest shall be made to the judge or tournament official at the time the problem occurs. The judge of the tournament shall make the final ruling of all protests.
RULE 4: Scoring
4.1 Traditional 21 Scoring –this is a negation or cancellation format where the opposing players’ frame points cancel or negate one another. Only those points that do not cancel out apply to the total overall score. Example: Team 1 scores 5 points in a frame and Team 2 scores 10 points in the same frame. Team 2 would have a total of 5 points for that frame, that would count towards their overall score.
4.2 Traditional 21 Tournament Bracket Recommendation
- Best of Three - winner moves forward, loser goes into the Loser’s Bracket
- Traditional Bracket Structure
- Seeding recommended as best option but random Luck of the Draw works fine
- Ideally 16 / 32 / 64 / 128 / 256 team brackets recommended
4.3 League Format – in development and is set to be released later this year
RULE 5: Length of Game – The game is played until one team reaches or exceeds 21 points at the completion of any frame. The winning team does not have to win by 2 or more points.
5.1 The Cornhole Frame Must be Finished – Matches cannot end in the middle of a frame. A frame is the completion of delivering all 8 bags from either end of the court.
5.2 Skunks - Skunks do not apply to any competitive, amateur or recreational tournaments or leagues. This rule does not create an enjoyable playing atmosphere for the growth of the sport, nor does it show the true abilities of the players.
RULE 6: Court Maintenance
6.1 Cornhole Court Maintenance– Every effort should be made to keep the cornhole playing court in perfect playing condition. The players are responsible for making sure the court is in good playing condition before starting a match. During a match the players are not allowed to alter the boards or court in any manner without the consent of the opposing players or official tournament director.
6.2 Distractions During Play – Every effort should be made to keep from distracting players during a play and the court should be free of anything that could distract a player during a play such as excessive talking or movement of other players.
6.3 Drinking – Players can drink while playing but all drinks must be placed outside the court area in the safe zone or placed on a drink stand/holder.
RULE 7: Cornhole Equipment (Boards & Bags)
7.1 Sanctioned Cornhole Equipment
The CPA only approves boards that are made with the following dimensions and specifications:
1. Each board is to measure a mininum of 47 ½ “ long and 23 ½ “ wide, rectangular in shape
2. Each target hole is to measure 6” in diameter and be centered 8 7/8 “ from the top of the board to the center of the target hole and 11 3/4 “ from each side edge to the center of the target hole.
3. The front of the board is to measure 3” from top to bottom and be at nearly at a 90 degree angle to the ground.
4. The back of the board is to measure 12” from top to bottom and be at nearly a 90 degree angle to the ground.
The CPA only approves bags that are made with the following dimensions and specifications:
1. Each finished product should measure 6” squared and weigh 14 ½ to 16 ounces
7.2 Amateur (casual) Cornhole Equipment
The CPA only approves boards that are made with the following dimensions and specifications:
1. Each board is to measure no more than 48” long and 24” wide, rectangular in shape
2. Each target hole is to measure no more than 6” in diameter and be centered no more than 9” from the top of the board to the center of the target hole and 12” from each side edge to the center of the target hole.
3. The front of the board is to measure 3” to no more than 4” from the top to bottom and be at a nearly 90 degree angle to the ground.
4. The back of the board is to measure 12” from top to bottom and be at a nearly 90 degree angle to the ground.
5. The playing surface of the cornhole board should be sanded and finished to a very smooth texture and there should be no blemishes that could disrupt or distort a play.
6. The playing surface can be painted with a high gloss latex paint or varnish and should allow the bags to slide but not so slick that the bags slide all the way down to the bottom of the playing surface.
7. Each bag should measure 6” square and will weigh between 15 – 16 ounces
1. The CPA recommends using 5/8 “plywood for the surface of the board.
2. If using ½” plywood it is recommended that a crossbeam be underneath the center of the board to reduce bounce.
3. Satin or flat paints are not smooth enough to allow bags to slide.
4. The CPA recommends using resin filled bags as they are the most consistent playing and longest lasting bags available.
RULE 8: Appropriate Conduct by All Players and Spectators
8.1 Player Conduct
On the courts. A player/team while in competition, shall make no disturbing noises or movements that would distract their opponents or players on surrounding courts. Other inappropriate behavior would include profanity, abusive language, obscene gestures, etc. The first offense will result in a warning from the tournament or league official. The second offense will result in a forfeiture of the game being played. Any further offenses will result in disqualification from the tournament/event.
Sportsmanship: Any cornhole player who indulges in heckling or unfair rooting, uses profanity or abusive language, makes obscene gestures, or exhibits any other form of unsportsmanlike conduct towards other players, tournament directors, officials, or any others who are in the area of the courts shall be subject to expulsion from the tournament/event and from the event area.
8.2 Spectator Rule
This rules was put into place for competitive tournaments and leagues.
In singles play a player at no time should receive verbal or non-verbal instructions to help them make a decision on a shot that they may not other wise make because of an obstructed view.