Golf Puzzle

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 by Gabriel | 2 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
You won't need to do a whole-in-one in order to solve this puzzle. The Golf Puzzle is a very nice looking packing puzzle with holes and balls, and you have to lay them flat in the box, while being able to place the nine-hole lid without going over the edge.

There are six different pieces, and each can have three different states in both sides, being a hole, a ball or just a flat space. All but one piece have balls on both sides, making impossible to lay it flat on a surface, unless you place it over another hole. Planning ahead the strategy on how to place the pieces is crucial to solve the puzzle.

(Click to Enlarge) - Pieces, Box & Lid

The puzzle is called Golf, but I didn't know why until I've researched information for it. Apparently, this is a wooden version of a plastic puzzle that actually uses golf-like balls. They could have used grooves on the wooden balls as well, to stay true to the puzzle's name, but that would probably raise the overall cost. I have in my collection a puzzle with a similar concept, and I found it harder than the Golf Puzzle - Its pieces are less complex with just two spaces instead of three, but there are more pieces to complicate your task (12).

When solving the puzzle, there a few things to keep in mind: the two rows of pieces must be stacked perpendicular to each other, although I'm not entirely certain that there's a solution for the parallel configuration; not all holes need to be filled with a ball; as long as you're able to place the lid over the second row, the puzzle is considered solved.

Brilliant Puzzles, the store where I got the Golf Puzzle, rates it as a 3/5 difficulty level, and I guess it's more than fair, because contrary to what it seems, it's actually a relatively easy puzzle solve. It took me no more than 5 minutes or so to find a solution, and judging from the provided solution sheet, which is different than mine, it has at least two possible solutions, but I reckon there must be more. It's actually a good exercise trying to find extra solutions. It gives a perfect excuse to keep playing with the puzzle.

(Click to Enlarge)

Closing Comments:

While the concept of the Golf Puzzle is not new to me, I really enjoyed playing with it. The complexity may not be the most challenging you will find, and by that, the solving time will be quite short, but you can always keep playing and try to find other possible solutions. Wouldn't mind seeing a version with nine pieces and three rows, though, which would most certainly increase its difficulty level.

Availability: The Golf Puzzle is available at Brilliant Puzzles in two sizes: I have the large one, measuring 10 x 10 x 5'5cm (4" x 4" x 2.2"), but there's also a medium size measuring about 9 x 9 x 4cm (3.5" x 3.5" x 1.5"). If you like golf themed puzzles, search their page for "golf" and you'll find several other designs.


Unknown said...

Hi ! Very nice review. I just bought this game for Christmas for my father.

Actually I am not surprised that you found it very easy. You have the easy variant. I took the pieces you showed here and I found programmatically 240 solutions. Check them here: https://drive.bitcasa.com/send/uuCbRetoIbwWcsYXiHzEupUxNAqIApn67NtTzB5EZlxc

There exists a more difficult variant, in which only one piece is different. Check the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JADsxzCx6iw In this video, the piece he shows from 1:40 replaced one of the piece you have in tripple (hole, ball down, ball up), so there are only two common pieces in the new set instead of three, make it more difficult.

The new set has only 16 solutions, 15 times less, check them here: https://drive.bitcasa.com/send/QPTayzlG8FEoGvb3jpU6UoWMyGileGzMgNmx_rTpiVxc

By the way, when you say you're not entirely certain that there's a solution for the parallel configuration, in your set it is possible :) If you number your pieces from left to right then top to bottom from 1 to 6, you can assemble 1+5, 2+4 and 3+6 together, and put them in the box. It would be nice if you can test it and tell me if I'm right as I guessed it from your picture.

In the new set this is impossible, you have to cross them.

By the way, I liked this game too!

Gabriel said...

Hi Arnaud,

Thank you for your comment. It's a really nice analysis of the puzzle.
I'll try to test it as soon as I can and put here the result.

Happy Puzzling!

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