|ACA Official Rules of Cornhole /
These are the official rules and
regulations of the American Cornhole Association (ACA). The
rules and regulations have been developed and ratified by a
majority of ACA members for ACA sanctioned tournament play. The
rules are not a mandate, but rather a guideline to promote
consistent and standard Cornhole / Corn Toss play around the
country. It is the responsibility of each ACA member to strive
to meet these rules and regulations in all ACA sanctioned
OFFICIAL RULES OF CORNHOLE / CORN TOSS
Published By The AMERICAN CORNHOLE ASSOCIATION (ACA)
(Last Revision August 1, 2003)
RULE 1 - COURT LAYOUT
Section A. Dimensions - A Cornhole
/ Corn Toss court shall be a level rectangular area 10 ft wide
and a minimum of 45 ft long. The court should consist of two
corn platforms, designated pitchers boxes and foul lines. A
north-south setting is recommended for outdoor courts to
minimize the effects of the sun.
Section B. Pitcher's Box - The pitcher's box is the
rectangle 4 ft by 3 ft at each end of the court, parallel and on
both sides of Cornhole platforms. Each contestant must remain in
the pitchers box while pitching the corn bag.
Section C. Multiple Courts - To eliminate distraction and
safely separate activity, Cornhole / Corn Toss courts adjacent
to each other shall be a minimum of 10 feet apart. A greater
distance (at least 12 feet) is preferable.
Section D. Foul Lines – There are two sets of foul lines:
(1) open adult play and (2) junior play. The open adult play
foul lines shall be defined as an imaginary line 30 ft. from the
beginning of the hole in the opposite Cornhole platform. For
Cornhole / Corn Toss sets that meet ACA specifications, this
foul line will be parallel to the front of the cornhole
platform. The junior play foul lines shall be defined as an
imaginary line 21 ft. from the beginning of the hole in the
opposite cornhole platform. See the diagram below.
Section E. Covered Or Indoor Courts - The regulations for
covered and indoor Cornhole / Corn Toss courts are exactly the
same with the additional stipulation that they shall have a
minimum 12 foot vertical clearance to the lowest possible
RULE 2 - PLAYING EQUIPMENT - CORNHOLE
PLATFORMS AND BAGS
Section A. Equipment Standards -
The ACA has adopted the following equipment specifications and
standards for Cornhole / Corn Toss:
1. Each cornhole platform shall be a 48" x 24" rectangle made of
half inch plywood. ACA sanctioned tournaments should only be
played with wooden cornhole platforms as there is significant
variance in play between wooden and plastic or other surfaces.
2. The hole in the cornhole platform shall be six inches in
diameter and be centered nine inches from the top and 12 inches
from each side of the cornhole platform edges.
3. The front of the cornhole platform shall be approximately 4
inches from bottom to top and be at near a 90-degree angle to
4. The back of the cornhole platform shall be approximately 12
inches from bottom to top and be at near a 90-degree angle to
5. The cornhole platform should have solid wood sides with the
only opening to the underside of the cornhole platform being
through the hole in the cornhole platform. Although portable
fold-down platforms are acceptable (with open sides), platforms
with solid wooden sides are preferred for ACA sanctioned
tournament play as it is sometimes difficult (especially late in
the day) to determine if a corn bag was pitched into the hole or
came to rest under the cornhole platform by being pitched
through the open sides in a cornhole platform.
6. The Cornhole / Corn Toss play surface shall be finish sanded
to a very smooth texture and there shall not be any blemishes in
the wood surface that might disrupt or distort play.
7. The Cornhole / Corn Toss play surface shall be painted with a
high gloss latex paint resulting in a surface that allows corn
bags to slide but is not so slippery that it allows the bags to
slide back down the platform. The preferable color is white, but
any easy to see color is acceptable for tournament play.
8. The corn bags shall be made from two fabric squares with a
quarter inch double stitched seam on all four sides. The corn
bags should be made from 12 oz / sq yd duck canvas and may be
any color that is easy to see during Cornhole play. Each bag
shall be filled with approximately 2 cups of corn feed and
finished bags should be a minimum of 6" X 6" square and weigh
between 14 and 16 ounces.
Section B. ACA Seal Of Approval - The ACA shall issue its
Seal of Approval to any Cornhole / Corn Toss equipment
manufacture or reseller of Cornhole / Corn Toss products that
agrees to abide by the ACA standards for design and play.
Cornhole / Corn Toss equipment carrying the ACA Seal of Approval
is preferred for ACA sanctioned tournaments and is recommended
for all Cornhole / Corn Toss events to assure more consistent
RULE 3 - PITCHING DISTANCES
Section A. Adults - All open adult
contestants shall pitch from the pitcher’s box behind the 30
foot foul lines. Physically impaired adults or seniors may, if
agreed by all contestants, observe the 21 foot foul lines.
Section B. Juniors - Junior contestants may pitch from
any place, but must observe the 21 foot foul lines.
RULE 4 – CORNHOLE COURT PREPARATION AND
Section A. Court Maintenance -
Every effort shall be made to keep the Cornhole / Corn Toss play
surface in perfect playing condition. Cornhole / Corn Toss
courts should be free of anything that might distract a
contestant during play. Each contestant is responsible for
making sure the court is in good playing condition prior to
starting the match. During a match, a contestant shall not be
allowed to alter the Cornhole / Corn Toss court in any manner
without the consent of the opponent or a tournament official.
Section B. Distractions During Play - Every effort shall
be made to keep from distracting contestants during Cornhole /
Corn Toss play. Drinks and other personal belongings should be
placed behind the cornhole platform in designated beverage
holders or other secure locations to keep from distracting
RULE 5 - PLAY OF THE GAME
Section A. Singles Or Doubles Play
- Cornhole / Corn Toss can be played as doubles or singles. In
doubles play two contestants are partners against another team
of two contestants; in singles play a contestant competes
against another contestant. In doubles play, one member of each
team pitches from one cornhole platform and the other members
pitch from the other cornhole platform. In singles play, both
contestants pitch from the same cornhole platform. All other
rules are basically the same for doubles or singles play.
Section B. Innings - Every Cornhole / Corn Toss match is
broken down into innings of play. During each inning of play
each contestant must pitch all four corn bags.
Section C. Value Of The Corn Bag -
1. Corn Bag In-The-Hole - A corn bag in-the-hole (or Hole-In) is
a corn bag which is thrown through the hole in the cornhole
platform or otherwise comes to rest inside the cornhole platform
(knocked in by another player or an act of God). A corn bag
in-the-hole has a value of three points.
2. Corn Bag In-The-Count - A corn bag that is not in-the-hole
but lands with any portion of the corn bag resting on the
cornhole platform is in-the-count. A corn bag in-the-count has a
value of one point. For a corn bag to be in-the-count, it must
not touch the ground or any other portion of the court prior to
coming to rest on the cornhole platform. If a corn bag touches
the ground before coming to rest on the cornhole platform, it is
a foul and must be removed from the cornhole platform prior to
the continuation of play.
3. Corn Bag Out-Of-The-Count - A corn bag which comes to rest
anywhere except in-the-count or in-the-hole is out-of-the-count
and has no scoring value. A corn bag which is declared to be a
foul is considered to be out-of-the-count (no matter where it
comes to rest) and must be removed from the cornhole surface
prior to the continuation of play.
Section D. Delivery Of Corn Bags -
1. In doubles play, the first side of contestants alternate
pitching corn bags until they have thrown all four corn bags,
then the remaining contestant (pitching from the other cornhole
platform) continue to alternate in the same manner until all
four corn bags are delivered and the inning completed. Delivery
in singles play is handled in the same manner (but from the same
platform) with each of the two contestants alternating their
pitching of corn bags until all four corn bags have been pitched
completing the inning.
2. A contestant may deliver the corn bag from either the left or
right pitchers box (see above) but, in any one inning, all corn
bags must be delivered from the same pitcher’s box. A contestant
shall pitch the entire tournament with the same hand or arm,
except in the case of a medical emergency.
3. Each individual contestant shall deliver the corn bag within
20 seconds. The time shall start when the contestant steps onto
the pitcher’s box with the intention of pitching.
Section E. Pitching Rotation During The Game - The
contestant who scored in the preceding inning shall pitch first
in the next inning. If neither pitcher scores, the contestant
who pitched second (last) in the preceding inning shall pitch
first in the next inning.
Section F. Position Of Contestants During Delivery -
1. The pitcher must maintain constant contact with the
designated pitcher’s box (See diagram above) during the entire
address and release of the corn bag. The only exception is for
junior and physically challenged contestants, who must simply
remain completely behind the 21 ft. foul line when the corn bag
is released. The opponent, while not pitching, shall stand
behind the cornhole platform at least 2 feet to the rear of the
contestant who is pitching. After a short distance contestant
(junior or physically challenged) pitches first they must return
to the cornhole platform if the opponent or any contestant on an
adjacent court is a full distance pitcher.
2. If both contestants use the same pitchers box to deliver
their corn bags, the contestant pitching first should cross over
to the other pitchers box in front of the cornhole platform and
then move to the proper position. (see #1 above) As the first
contestant is crossing in front the second contestant should be
crossing over in back and mounting the pitchers box from the
rear. If both contestants use opposite pitchers boxes, the
contestant who pitches first should step directly back to the
proper position described in #1 of this section.
Section G. Foul Corn Bags - A foul corn bag is a corn bag
which was delivered in non-compliance with one of the rules of
the game. It scores as a corn bag out of the count and is to be
removed from the Cornhole / Corn Toss court before any more corn
bags are pitched. Corn bags already in the court that have been
knocked into foul territory by a foul corn bag should be
returned to the scoring area. Additionally, corn bags that are
in the count, but are knocked into the hole by a foul corn bag
must be returned to their original scoring position.
1. The following are rule violations that must be spotted and
called by an contestant or assigned judge. The penalty is to
declare the corn bag a foul corn bag, which requires the corn
bags to be removed from the court prior to resuming play.
(a) Any corn bag pitched when the contestant has made contact
with or crossed over the foul line before the corn bag is
(b) Except as provided above, any corn bag pitched when the
contestant has started or stepped completely outside the
pitching box before releasing the corn bag.
(c) Any corn bag not delivered within the twenty second time
(d) A corn bag pitched from a different pitchers box than the
first corn bag.
(e) Any corn bag that contacted the court or the ground before
coming to rest on the cornhole platform.
(f) Any corn bag which struck a previously defined object such
as a tree limb, wire, indoor court ceiling, etc.
(g) Any corn bag that leaves a contestant's hand once the final
forward swing of the delivery process has started shall count as
a pitched corn bag. A corn bag that is accidentally dropped by a
contestant before the final forward swing has started shall not
be considered foul and may be picked up and pitched.
2. A contestant's corn bags shall be called foul if the
contestant removes any corn bag before the scoring of that corn
bag has been agreed upon. A judge shall be called if a decision
cannot be reached. The judge shall determine the scoring for the
Section H. Protests - If a contestant desires to make a
protest, the protest shall be made to the judge or tournament
official at the time the problem occurs. The tournament judge
shall make the final ruling on all protests.
RULE 6 - LENGTH OF THE GAME
Section A. Point Limits - The
Cornhole / Corn Toss match shall be played until the first team
of contestants reaches (or exceeds) 21 points at the completion
of an inning. The winning team does not need to win by two or
Section B. The Inning Must Be finished - The Cornhole /
Corn Toss match can never end in the middle of an inning. Thus,
if a team that pitches first reaches or exceeds 21 points, the
game can not end until the other side is allowed to pitch all of
their corn bags and the inning is completed.
Section C. Ties At The End Of An Inning – If the Cornhole
/ Corn Toss match is tied at 21 or more at the end of an inning,
play continues until one team or the other achieves a higher
score at the end of an inning and wins the match.
Section D. Skunks - The game shall be played to 21 unless
a team scores 7 or more points at the end of an inning before
their opponents score any points. It this case the game is a
skunk and the team that scores 7 or more points wins the match.
RULE 7 – SCORING
Section A. Cancellation Scoring -
In cancellation scoring, corn bags in-the-hole and corn bags
in-the-count pitched by opponents during an inning or half of an
inning in doubles play cancel each other out. Only non cancelled
corn bags are counted in the score for the inning.
1. Corn Bags In-The-Hole – Hole-ins (HI’s) cancel each other. A
corn bag in-the-hole of one contestant shall cancel a corn bag
in-the-hole of his competitor and those corn bags shall not
score any points. Any non cancelled corn bag in-the-hole scores
2. Corn Bags In-The-Count – Corn bags in-the-count cancel each
other. A corn bag in-the-count of one contestant shall cancel a
corn bags in-the-count of the opponent and those corn bags shall
not score any points. Any non cancelled corn bags in-the-count
score one point each.
Section B. Score Calculation - Cancellation scoring may
be easily calculated as follows:
1. The points of both contestants are calculated for hole-ins
and in-the-count corn bags.
2. The points of the lowest scoring contestant for hole-in corn
bags are subtracted from the points of the highest scoring
contestant for hole-in corn bags. The result is the hole-in
score for the highest scoring contestant. The hole-in score for
the lowest scoring contestant is zero.
3. The points of the lowest scoring contestant for in-the-count
corn bags are subtracted from the points of the highest scoring
contestant for in-the-count corn bags. The result is the
in-the-count score for the highest scoring contestant. The
in-the-count score for the lowest scoring contestant is zero.
3. The hole-in score for each contestant is added to the
in-the-count score for each contestant to derive the recorded
score for the inning.
4. In this manner hole-in and in-the–count corn bags from each
contestant or team of contestants are cancelled out and only non
cancelled corn bags are counted in the score.
Section C. Individual Hole-In Percentage Scoring (HI%) -
For purposes of calculating individual Cornhole / Corn Toss
Hole-In percentages (see Rule 9 below) that is reported to ACA
by members for purposes of ACA ranking and awards, ALL corn bags
pitched in-the-hole are included in the total used to derive
these percentages including those that would be eliminated under
cancellation scoring rules. Only corn bags determined to be foul
would be excluded from the individual statistical scoring.
Section D. Recording The Score - In tournament play, the
score sheet shall be the official record of the game and will be
used to submit the Official Tournament Scoring Summaries to the
ACA (see Rule 9 below). Contestants are encouraged to pay close
attention to the score at all times. It is highly recommended
that visible scoreboard (that all contestants can review and
verify for accuracy) be used to keep score during tournament
play. If a question or discrepancy occurs regarding the correct
score, the contestant(s) may approach the scorer between innings
to rectify the situation. If the discrepancy cannot be corrected
to the satisfaction of both contestants, a tournament judge
shall be called to make the final decision.
RULE 8 - APPROPRIATE ACA MEMBER CONDUCT
Section A. On The Courts - An ACA
member, while in competition, shall make no disturbing noises or
movements that would distract the opponent or competitors on
adjacent courts. The first offense shall call for a warning from
the judge or tournament official. A second offense shall call
for a forfeiture of the game being played. Any further offenses
shall call for a forfeiture of all games.
Section B. Off The Courts - Any ACA member who indulges
in heckling, unfair rooting, or any other form of
unsportsmanlike conduct toward any ACA member or tournament
official, shall be subject to expulsion from the tournament and
the tournament site. This covers any inappropriate behavior
(including profane or abusive language) in, or around, the court
area. The member shall also be subject to a one year suspension
from the ACA.
RULE 9 – ACA RANKING AND AWARDS
Section A. ACA Rankings And Awards
- The ACA shall track and report the Cornhole / Corn Toss
results of all members that report their scores from ACA
sanctioned tournaments. From these statistical results, the ACA
shall select and sponsor the Cornholer of the Year award
to be presented to the best ACA member Cornhole player relative
to all other members around the country.
Section B. Basis For ACA Rankings And Awards - The ACA
uses the Hole-In Percentage (HI%)as a basis for comparative
rankings and awards.
The Hole-In percentage is calculated as follows:
# corn bags in the hole / (# Innings Pitched * 4)
The ACA Cornholer of the Year will be selected and posted on the
ACA web site each Labor Day base on play for the previous 12
Section C. Reporting To The ACA - Members hosting ACA
sanctioned tournaments will be responsible for submitting ACA
Official Tournament Scoring Summaries to the ACA at the
completion of every ACA sanctioned tournament. The scoring
summaries set forth the names and ACA membership ID numbers for
each contestant, the number of innings pitched and the number of
hole-ins pitched for the tournament.
Download copy of the
Scoring Sheets and the ACA Tournament Scoring Summary.
Section D. Updating And Reporting - The official rankings
will be updated and published on a monthly basis. Monthly and
cumulative to date HI% statistics will be reported for each ACA
member that authorizes the release of this information in their
membership application. ACA Official Statistical Reporting
Summaries received by the 25th of each month will be included in
that months updated results. Scoring summaries received after
that date will be included in the next months results.
RULE 10 – ACA SANCTIONED TOURNAMENT
Section A. Hosting An ACA sanctioned
1. Any member of the ACA may host an ACA sanctioned Cornhole /
Corn Toss tournament.
2. Responsibilities Of Hosting. The ACA hosting member is
responsible for making sure that the equipment meets all ACA
standards and that ACA rules of play are enforced during the
tournament. The hosting member should also act as judge in
resolving any ruling issues at the tournament.
3. Reporting Results. The Hosting member is required to submit
the ACA Official Statistical Reporting Summary for all ACA
members competing in the tournament within two weeks of the
completion of play. For a downloadable copy of the
Section B. Tournament Play - The standard method of play
for an ACA sanctioned tournament is double elimination seated
bracket style tournament play. For smaller tournaments
round-robin play may be used where each contestant plays every
other contestant. At the end of round-robin play, winners shall
be determined by win-loss records or hole-in percentage. If ties
occur, they shall be settled by playoff, who-beat-whom or one of
the other methods that was not used to determine the winner.
Download copy of
Section C. Publicity For Your Tournament - All ACA
sanctioned Cornhole / Corn Toss tournaments will be posted on
our up-coming tournaments list on the ACA web site. The ACA will
also post your results, pictures and comments requested by any
Section D. Handicapping - Handicapping may be used in
open tournaments and league play. The amount of the handicap
shall be determined by the tournament host or Judge.