Cornhole is a lot of fun but it’s honestly even funner when you know how the rules work so that you can turn a casual backyard game into something a little bit more competitive. Part of knowing the rules is understanding how the cornhole court should be set up. Here’s everything you need to know about cornhole courts.  

Why does it matter?

Some folks like to just whip out their cornhole boards and start tossing bags out by the grill without thinking twice. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I think it’s a good idea to take a short amount of time to learn how to set up a court for a couple reasons.

For one, if you consistently set up your court the same way, you’ll get more accustomed to the game and you’ll be able to improve your tossing skills over time (no matter how bad you might think you suck right now). If you’re constantly playing at different distances, it will be hard to get down the form and develop the touch that will make you a better player.

Second, while cornhole is all about having fun, sometimes it’s funner to follow at least some of the rules. Have you ever played a game of pool where the other person doesn’t follow basic game rules? It’s not very fun because it’s not competitive. By getting to know the cornhole rules a little bit better, you can create a more competitive atmosphere which makes the game a lot funner.

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What is a cornhole court?

A cornhole court is the total playing area surrounding the cornhole boards and pitch boxes.

A regulation size cornhole court is 8 feet wide and 40 feet long and should have a vertical clearance of at least twelve feet high. Here’s a diagram showing you what it should look like.

cornhole court dimensions

This is the size for a cornhole court based on the standards issued by the ACA (the American Cornhole Organization). So for example, if you were to sign up for one of their tournaments, this is what you would expect to find.

If you’re playing in backyard or elsewhere you don’t have to have this much space to play cornhole (read more below about the recommended distance between boards for backyard play).

Cornhole boards in the backyard.
Cornhole court in the backyard.

On a standard cornhole court, you’ll find two cornhole boards and then four total pitcher boxes.

The cornhole board

The cornhole board need to met certain specifications.  I’ll go into more detail later about the corn board specifications but here are the basic requirements for a cornhole board:

  •  The board should be a hardwood plywood playing surface with a minimum thickness of 1/2″.
  • The board should be smooth but not so slick that the bean bags slide off.
  • The board should measure:  47.5” to 48” x 23.5” to 24” and should weigh no less than 25 lbs.
  • Each hole should have a  6” diameter, centered 9” from the top of the board and centered 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.

So as you can see even the official guidelines from the ACO allow for a little bit of leeway for the size of your cornhole board. If you want to find  boards that meet ACO certified standards, you can always go to Amazon and do a search and you should be able to find some.

The pitcher boxes

The pitcher boxes (sometimes called throwing spaces) look just like batters boxes in baseball. Except, in cornhole, you’re not allowed to step over the line when you release your bean bags.

These pitchers  boxes are three feet by four feet and there’s an imaginary line that runs parallel with the front of the cornhole board that makes up the foul line.

How far away should the cornhole boards be?

According to ACA standards, the cornhole boards should be 27 feet apart from each other, measuring the distance from the front edge of one cornhole board to the front edge of another. You can see how the distance is measured in the diagram below.

Keep in mind that when it comes to playing in the backyard or perhaps when tailgating, it’s common for people to play 24 feet from edge to edge. In that case you would only need about 32 feet for the length of the court, which isn’t so bad.

Also, juniors usually only stand about 21 feet away from the edge.

Multiple cornhole courts?

Sometimes you might be at a tailgate party or at a competition where there are many people playing cornhole. In this case, there may be many different cornhole boards set up.

If that is the case, then you want to make sure that you have plenty of space between the boards so that nobody gets distracted.

Most recommend at least 10 feet between cornhole boards although many prefer you to be twelve feet apart.

Final word on cornehole courts

Cornhole courts don’t always have to adhere to the official guidelines, especially if you’re keeping it casual in the backyard or out tailgating. But it’s a good idea to know generally how these courts are set up so you can have consistent play and get better over time (and thus have more fun).

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