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ACO Official Rules for the sport of cornhole

Play like the Pros. Game On!

Table of Contents | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

Chapter 1 – Cornhole Playing Equipment (Boards and Bags)

Chapter 2 – Cornhole Court Layout 

Chapter 3 – Cornhole Scoring 

Chapter 4 – Play of the Cornhole Game

CHAPTER 1: Cornhole Playing Equipment (Boards and Bags) | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

  • Two Cornhole Board Platforms– approximately 24” x 48” with a 6” diameter hole, centered 9” from top of board and centered 12” from each side edge
  • The front of the board is 3”to 4” from the ground to the top of the playing surface.
  • The back of the board is 12”from the ground to the top of the playing surface.
  • 8 Bags – 4 each of two different colors. Each bag is made from two fabric squares with double-stitched seaming. The bags should be made from a durable fabric like canvas, twill, or synthetic suede. Each bag measures roughly 6” by 6” and weighs 15 to 16 ounces.

CHAPTER 2: Cornhole Court Layout | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

  • Cornhole Boards:  Boards are positioned 27’ from the front edge to front edge of the board.
  • Cornhole Pitchers Boxes:  A designated pitchers box is a 4’ x 3’ area at each end of the court and on both sides of each board; (4) boxes in all.
  • Cornhole Foul Lines: The front edge of the cornhole board is the foul line.

CHAPTER 3: Cornhole Scoring | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

  • Traditional 21:  The game shall be played to the pre-determined number of twenty-one (21) points.  The first player/team to reach (or exceed) that amount at the conclusion of a frame is the winner.
  • Woody: Refers to any cornhole bag that has been pitched and remains on the cornhole board playing surface at the conclusion of the frame. Each woody is 1pt.
  • Cornhole – Refers to any cornhole bag that has been pitched and passes through the cornhole board hole at anytime within the frame. Each cornhole is 3pts.
  • Cancellation Scoring:  The approved method of scoring for the sport of cornhole is “cancellation” scoring.  In cancellation scoring, the points of one player cancel out the points of their opponent.  Using this method, only one player/team can score in each frame.
  • Example: Red achieves one (1) woody and two (2) cornholes. Blue achieves two (2) woodies and zero (0) cornholes. 7 points – 2 points = Red scores 5 points for that frame.
  • Foul Bags – Refers to any cornhole bag that has not been determined as a “woody” or “cornhole”, or was designated a foul bag as the result of rules violation.
  • Designated Foul Bags – Refers to any cornhole bag that has not been determined as a “woody” or “cornhole”, or was designated a foul bag as the result of rules violation. Bags contacting the ground before reaching the playing surface and bags pitched when a player has crossed the foul line are Foul Bags. If a foul bag lands on the playing surface or comes to rest touching the ground and the board, it must be removed immediately.

CHAPTER 4: Play of the Cornhole Game | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

Singles Play | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

  • Player A competes against Player B.
  • Both players stay in their designated lane for the whole game.
  • Players start the game at the headboard and will alternate pitching bags until each player has pitched all (4) of his/her bags.
  • Players then walk to the end of their lane to the other court, take score, and resume pitching back to the other cornhole board.

Doubles Play | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

  • Team A competes against Team B – each team is comprised of two (2) people.
  • Each team will stay in their designated lane for the whole game.
  • Players at the headboard will alternate pitching bags until each player has pitched all (4) of his/her bags.
  • Players at the footboard will take score and resume pitching back to the other cornhole board.

Pitching | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

  • Players alternate pitching bags (one player at a time) until each player has pitched all (4) of his/her bags.
  • A player must pitch all (4) cornhole bags from their designated cornhole pitchers box.
  • Players must deliver the bag with an under-hand release.
  • One foot must be completely within the pitcher’s box at the time of releasing the bag.
  • Players must not cross the foul line with their feet before the bag has landed.

Pitching the Next Frame | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

  • The player/team who scored in the preceding frame shall pitch first in the next frame.  If neither player/team scores, the player/team who pitched first in the preceding frame shall retain first pitch in the next frame.

Raking Cornhole Bags | ACO Official Cornhole Rules

If bags become piled inside the cornhole board hole and may interfere or obstruct with the next pitch or if there is question whether a cornhole bag would have naturally fallen through the hole, a player may request to “rake” the cornhole bags that have fallen inside the hole.

  • Important note:  During raking, all efforts should be made to leave bags on the playing surface undisrupted, in their natural state, and to leave bags that may hang on the rim of the hole from falling inside the hole unnaturally.  If a bag is resting on a piled bag, and unavoidably falls into the hole as a result of raking, then it shall be counted as a “cornhole.”

Download ACO Cornhole Rules – Basic
Download ACO Cornhole Rules Guide – Advanced

Play like the Pros! Follow ACO Official Cornhole Rules. Game On!

If you would like to learn more about becoming an ACO Certified Official, request a complete ACO Certified Official Guide by emailing Eric at ehinerman@americancornhole.com or calling at 888-563-2002.