Recently updated on July 16th, 2024

Close-up view of a cornhole board and 2 bean bags.

Cornhole is a popular summertime lawn game that’s easy to learn and fun for everyone in the family to play.

All you need is a pair of cornhole boards and beanbags to play. They come in a few forms and sizes, some you can find at your local Ocean State Job Lot. But once you get them, you’re probably asking yourself this: how do we play? Well, let us take you through the easy steps.

Two cornhole boards on a stadium field.

Understanding Cornhole Regulations

A regulation “court” is 40 feet long and 8 feet wide. It is usually made up of two boards, positioned 27 feet apart from front edge to front edge, made of wood with one 6 inch hole. We say “court” because there is no official boundary laid out, just a general area for you to play against your opponent.

The American Cornhole Association (ACA) regulates the dimensions of cornhole boards:

  • They should be: 48 inches (1.22 m) long and 24 inches (61 cm) wide
  • The top platform should be between 12 and 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) off the ground.
  • Bags are typically filled with corn and measure 6″ by 6″.

Games are usually played with teams of 2, alternating throws until each throws all 4 bags. Points are scored for bags on the board (1 point) and in the hole (3 points). Canceling out opponents’ bags with yours is strategic. Fouls like stepping over the line or throwing overhand can result in bag removal. The winner is the first team that gets to 21 points!

An extended measuring tape on grass.

Measuring the Distance Between Cornhole Boards

How far apart should the boards be? Well, some people aren’t that particular about it as long as it’s a good distance for a good, decent throw.

For kids, seniors, and first timers, you could adjust the distance to make things a bit easier. A good distance of about 12-15 feet should suffice and then bring the boards out further each time you play.

Tools and Techniques for Accurate Measurement

  • Tape Measure: The most basic and accurate way to measure is using a tape measure. Ideally, find a flat surface and stretch the tape from the front edge of one board to the front edge of the other.
  • Pacing: If you don’t have a tape measure, you can try pacing the distance. However, this method is less accurate and depends on your stride length and foot size.
  • Specialized Tools: There are cornhole-specific tools available that measure the exact distance, like the “regulator” which attaches to a board and extends out to 27 feet.
  • Carpenter’s Square: A carpenter’s square can be helpful to ensure that the corners of the board are completely square.

Tips

  • Mark the spot with a shoe, cup, or other object if you need to move the boards after measuring.
  • Remember, slight variations for casual games aren’t a big deal, but adhering to the official distance is ideal for competitive play or for those who are sticklers for the rules.
A grassy yard with cornhole boards and bags set up.

Tips for Setting Up Your Cornhole Area

Location, Location, Location

Find flat, level ground: This is crucial for a fair and fun game. If you have slopes or hills, you may have unwanted slants or rolls that affect the game. Avoid slopes or uneven surfaces that could change the way the bags slide on the board. Playing on grass is ideal.

Pick a spacious spot: You’ll need an area of about 10 feet by 45 feet to allow for the cornhole boards themselves, as well as enough room for players to stand comfortably and throw the bags without feeling cramped.

Beware of obstacles: Make sure there’s a clear path for both teams to toss their bags. That means you’re going to want to watch out for trees, rocks, sprinklers, or any other objects that could get in the way of throws or players, including running children, too!

Extras

Consider cornhole mats: These mats can lay under the boards and define the throwing area or pitcher’s boxes for each player. They can also add a decorative touch.

Lighting for night games: If you plan on playing at night, consider adding some outdoor lighting to keep the fun going for you and your guests.

Seating for spectators: Cornhole is a social game! Having some comfortable chairs around the playing area is a nice touch for people who aren’t playing.

Two people playing cornhole.

Let the best team win!

By following these tips, you can set up a cornhole area that’s perfect for hours of backyard fun! You might want to even add a scoreboard to keep track of who’s winning!