Cornhole Court Dimensions and Proper Set Up


Cornhole is a very fun summer game to play with friends and family and learning the proper court setup and dimensions can up the fun. Most people just take out their cornhole game, put the cornhole boards a guesstimated distance apart, and start playing. But, having an actual court setup will make it all the more fun!

So, are you looking to up your cornhole game and play like the professionals? Do you want to create a cornhole court at home that will be fun for the whole family? Do you have a bar and want to spice it up with something for your customers to play? Whatever the case may be, creating a court by the rules below will make the great game of cornhole even more fun.

The Cornhole Court According to ACA Rules

If you are reading this article, I am sure you have played cornhole in the past few years and loved it. Whether you were introduced to it at a tailgate, a party, a family gathering, or at a campus event, you probably fell in love with it from the first bean bag toss.

Maybe you are tired of those casual games, though, and want a bigger challenge. Well, if that is the case, here is the way to set up a professional cornhole court according to the American Cornhole Association (ACA).

Set Up a Designated Corn Hole Space

Before you even begin setting up the court, you need to make sure that you have enough space for your court, as they require a large amount of space.

According to the ACA, first, you need to make sure that you are playing on a level space. That way, neither side is given an unfair advantage. Next, you need to make a rectangular play area that is 40 to 45 feet in length by 8 to 10 feet in width.

Also, if you are inside, make sure you have at least 12 feet of vertical space.

Create a Pitcher’s Box for Each Team

The Official Rules of the game also have regulations of the Pitcher’s box. That is the area where you are allowed to throw the bean bags.

The pitcher’s box should be 4 feet long by 3 feet wide, with the inner edge being right against the cornhole board. There should be a pitcher’s box on both of the (long) sides of the board.

This diagram shows the player position and the court layout.

Mark the Foul Lines for Each Team

The foul lines, that is the distance between the boards, differ depending on who is playing.

For adults, that is anyone 13 and older, the foul lines should be set, “27 feet between the front of each board.” The foul lines on each side should also be parallel. As a side note, you do not need to mark out the foul line, as it is an imaginary line. Just remember to not step out in front of the board.

The junior setup, people 12 and under, the imaginary foul line should be, “12 to 15 feet between the front of each board.”

So, essentially, for adults the boards are further away from each other and, for the juniors, the boards will be closer to each other.

We use this Inverted Marking PaintOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon) to mark the foul lines and pitcher boxes. It’s cheap and can spray upside down.

Setting Up the Game

Now that you have all the dimensions and measurements, it is time to set up the game. Remember, it is not absolutely required that you set the game up with these dimensions; guesstimates are fine for casual games. But, if you are setting up for a tournament, or training for one, you will want to follow the above dimensions to a T.

Check for Even Terrain and Obstacles

The first thing you will want to do, like noted above, is to make sure that your play area is flat, or at the very least as flat as possible. You don’t want any uneven dips, as that could give one side an advantage or disadvantage, depending on where their board is.

It is also noted that you will want to remove any obstacles from the court. In a professional match, you will not be allowed to clear the court after the game has begun.

Measure and Place the Corn Hole Boards

Next, you will want to measure out the dimensions of the court, the best way to do this would be to use a tape measure, or a yardstick if a tape measure is not available. Place the front edge of the cornhole boards 27 feet apart.

To make sure you stay in the pitcher’s box, you can use tape or a mat that is in the correct dimensions. This is not necessary though.

When laying down the boards, make sure they are parallel with each other. If it helps, you can use the tape measure to make sure the corners line up with each other.

Also, if you have multiple games going at once, they need to be 10-12 feet apart from each other.

I should note too that the rules state that a dry towel can be used to wipe down the board prior to the game.

Here’s a quick video showing the cornhole court layout in action.

https://youtu.be/R3P4mep75NQ

Use the Correct Corn Hole Bags

The ACA also has rules on the bean bags you use. Per their rules:

  • The bags themselves need to be made of fabric squares that are “6.25 inches by 6.25 inches with a 0.25-inch seam”
  • The bags need to be filled with two cups of feed corn or all-weather pellets.
  • A finished bag should be “6 square inches and weigh 14-16 ounces.”

Buying a Board

If you don’t already have a cornhole board and are new to the game, you may be unsure of where to get your own board. Rest assured though, there are many places where you can get quality cornhole boards to bring to your next tailgate.

There are some highly-rated boards on Amazon that include:

But, how do you make sure that you are really getting a regulation-sized board?

Sizing Up a Board

To make sure that you get a regulation-sized board, you will need to follow these guidelines as set out by the ACA. Also, keep in mind that you will want to get a wooden board. Even if a plastic board is regulation size, it still would need to be wood to be considered a fully regulation board.

The board should be 48 inches long by 24 inches wide. The hole in the center of the board should be 6 inches in diameter. The center of said hole should be 9 inches from the back of the board. The center of the circle should also be 12 inches from the side of the board.

The front of the board should be 4 inches high, while the back, elevated, part of the board should be 12 inches off of the ground.

Also, make sure that the surface does not have any blemishes such as large scratches, bumps, dents, etc. as this could interfere with the game-play.

You can always make your own, use our How To Make A Cornhole Board Guide for the step by step instructions and materials list to make the cornhole boards yourself. It’s a lot cheaper than buying them, and can be done in an afternoon.

Although it may take some time, making your board has a big advantage. With your own board, you can customize it however you like with your own design. You can rep your college alum, create a board with your company’s logo, and many other things when your custom make your own cornhole boards.

Get the Cornhole Extras

If you are going to buy a cornhole board, then you may also want to consider getting some additional pieces that can spice up the game a bit.

On websites such as amazon, there are LED light attachments that you can get for your board, so you can continue playing even when the sun has set. One example that has very positive reviews is the Frienda Cornhole LightsOpens in a new tab..

One of the easiest issues to run into when playing cornhole is keeping track of the score. Unless you are playing in a professional game, there’s a good chance you won’t have anything on hand to keep track of the score.

But, there are products that have got you covered, and you will never lose track of the score again.

If that’s the case, something like a Score TowerOpens in a new tab. is a great option! You can just stick it into the ground somewhere near the game and still easily keep score. Another advantage is that there are attached cup holders, so you don’t have to worry about your ice-cold drink being spilled by a bean bag.

If you are on the go and want to take cornhole with you, there are cornhole carrying cases such as this one made by GoSportsOpens in a new tab.. Some cornhole sets already come with a carrying case though, so you may not need to get this accessory.

There are also Cornhole Wall MountsOpens in a new tab. that help keep your boards out of the way, as they can take up lots of space on the ground. This is a great option for people who have limited space, but still are interested in getting a cornhole set.

Cornhole Scoring According to ACA Regulations

One of the things that I and many others get the most confused about is how to score the game. It seems like everyone scores it slightly differently, which makes it confusing when you play it with lots of different people.

Unsurprisingly, the ACA has actual scoring rules that will easily help clear up any arguments over how to score the game. There are a few different results that could happen with each throw, and each result is scored differently.

Here’s some of the most common rules that need to be pointed out. For a full run-down check out our How To Play Cornhole Complete Guide.

A Woody

One possible result is that the bag could land on the board. In the cornhole community, this is called a “Woody.” If your bag just lands on the board, then this is scored a one single point.

Getting It in the Hole

Another possibility is that the bag could go into the hole. This is, ironically, called a cornhole! Whether the bag drops right in or slides across the board and falls in, a cornhole will give you three points on the scoreboard!

When the Bag Doesn’t Land on the Board

If a bag lands somewhere in the court, between the boards, then that no point is scored for that bean bag.

Fouls in Cornhole

It is also possible to toss a foul bag. It is up to the players, or a judge, to decide if a bag is a foul. The ACA notes that a bag that is a fouled must be removed from the court before the game starts again.

  1. One type of foul is a bag that makes contact with or goes over the foul line.
  2. Another one is a bag that someone pitched while overstepping the pitcher’s box.
  3. If a player takes more than 20 seconds to pitch the bag, that results in a foul.
  4. If you don’t stay in the same lane and throw from a different pitcher’s box, that is a foul.
  5. Contrary to how most people play, a bag that bounces off the ground and lands on the board is a foul.
  6. If a bag that is pitched bounces off an obstacle such as a tree, that is also a foul.
  7. You also cannot take a bag off the board before it is scored. If someone touches said bag, they forfeit their remaining bags and only count those that have already been thrown. The non-offending team gets 12 points.
  8. There are also some things that do not result in a foul
  9. If a bag leaves a player’s hand once the final forward swing of the delivery process has started shall count as a pitched bag.
  10. If a bag is accidentally dropped before the player makes the final forward motion of the swing, it is NOT a foul.

Different Rules for Singles and Doubles Matches

In a singles match, the first rule that they note is that players must stay in their lane this means that you cannot switch to the other side of the board once the game starts. They also note that players alternate their throws. So, no one is supposed to throw all their bags in one go.

After both people have thrown all four bags, you need to switch to the other cornhole board. Remember, when going to the other side, you need to stay in your lane. This is especially important if you are playing in an official cornhole competition. Once you switch sides, you collect your bags and the game resumes.

One interesting thing that many probably do not know is that cornhole has innings. According to the official rules, the top of the inning is completed, “when the first person pitches all their bags. The bottom if the inning is when the second player pitches all their bags.”

Whoever scores higher is the first one to throw in the next round. If no one scored higher, then whoever threw first before throws first again. The winner is determined by whoever reaches 21 points, or more, first.

Doubles matches follow pretty much the same rules as singles with some differences. When throwing the bags, only one player from each team (who stands at the headboard) pitches, while someone else from each team stands at the footboard and keeps score. You should alternate who throws in each round.

Also, the top of the inning is done when both players at the headboard pitch all the bags. The bottom of an inning is done when, the other players, “pitching from the footboard pitch all four bags.”

The goal of a doubles match, similar to singles, is to reach 21 points or more.

ACL Cornhole Tournaments

After years of practice, have you gotten so good at cornhole that normal games no longer cut it? Do you want something that will challenge you while you play a fun game of cornhole? Well, if that is the case, then you should join a league!

Yes, that is right, there are actual cornhole leagues you can join!

The American Cornhole League (ACLOpens in a new tab.) is one such group that treats cornhole as a legitimate sport. They have several different leagues under their wind:

  • ACL Pro- This is not just some backyard contest put together by cornhole lovers. It is a legitimate sporting event that is broadcast by ESPN. There is also prize money on the line for the players!
  • ACL Championship- This is a more casual league that accepts players of all skill levels. So, even if you can barely get a bag on the board, you can still join up if you are looking for something fun to do on the weekends. Under this group, they also have a women’s league for those that want to just hang with the girls.

There is also a junior league. So, you don’t have to feel bad about leaving your kid out! They can join a league themselves and have tons of fun playing cornhole with people their own age!

  • ACL College- believe it or not, there is actually a National College Cornhole Championship! They are a great intermural or club sport to have at your college!

This league encapsulates both current college students and alumni teams. They also note that no matter the size of your college, you can still make a team that can compete! The winners get benefits such as scholarship money, and alumni teams can have donations sent to booster clubs.

Final Thoughts

Cornhole is a great sport that anyone can play! Its low monetary bar for entry makes it easy for most people to get a cornhole board. The fact that you don’t really need to build a court (like you would need to do for something like outdoor bowling or bocce ball) means that you will be saving both time and money. Also, its ease of transport means that it can be taken virtually anywhere.

Whether you are a pro cornhole player or a tailgate tosser, cornhole will bring people together and bring memories that last a lifetime. And, it never hurts to set up the court according to regulation, that added challenge can make the game even more exciting!

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Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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