When was cornhole invented? History and origin of the game

When was cornhole invented? History and origin of the game

Lenah Ann
June 19, 2023 at 3:23 PM

Cornhole is one of the many sports that have risen in popularity over the past few decades, especially in North America. The sport is considered a lawn game, and it is played by throwing fabric bean bags at a raised angle board with a hole in its far end. Some new fans and newbies have time and again asked when was cornhole invented and who invented it.

When was cornhole invented
Spectators play cornhole prior to the Major League Rugby match between the New England Free Jacks and the NOLA Gold at Veterans Memorial Stadium on 2 April 2022 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Photo: Kathryn Riley
Source: Getty Images

Although the game has existed for centuries, its popularity rose about two decades ago in Cincinnati, the United States of America. Since many people see it as one of the best activities for passing the time, especially when waiting for their favourite matches. Find more details about when cornhole was invented, its history, and its origin.

Profile summary

Full name



Baggo, dad hole, sacks, beans, beanbag, bean in the hole, ramps, bean bags, bean bag toss, dummy boards, doghouse

Year invented

Around the 14th century in Germany




Singles or doubles teams

Type of sport


Most famous country

United States of America

Famous region

North America

Governing body

The American Cornhole Organisation

History of cornhole

Although the sport's history is mysterious, some credible sources have tried to explain its origin and invention. While other sources credit its origin to be in Germany around the 14th century, others say it was invented 15 years ago in modern-day Ohio and Cincinnati in the United States of America.

Who invented cornhole?
A Boston College Eagles cornhole board before the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Alumni Stadium on 9 September 2017 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Photo: Omar Rawlings
Source: Getty Images

That said, the game has risen in popularity over the past few years and is now among the most famous sports in the North American region. Currently, the game is played professionally on ESPN, governed by the American Cornhole Organisation.

Who invented cornhole?

Since the sport's origin is a mystery composed of myths and legends, some sources have credited the game's invention to a Mr Matthias Kuepermann, a cabinet maker. He came up with the game after he saw children throwing and tossing rocks onto a groundhog's hole.

However, due to his concern for the safety of the children, the legendary inventor went on to build a safer and more enjoyable type of sport using his carpentry designs and skills. He encouraged the use of corn since it was safer, readily available, and had an incredible weight.

Where was the cornhole invented?
Higgins (L) and Wade Miley (R) of the Chicago Cubs play corn hole at the Field of Dreams movie site prior to the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Field of Dreams on 11 August 2022 in Dyersville, Iowa. Photo:Michael Reaves
Source: Getty Images

Where was the cornhole invented?

Most sports have debatable histories concerning their actual origins, and cornhole is no different. The recreational sport has several claims about where and when it was invented, and here are some thoughts from various online sources.

North American region, the United States of America

Some sources claim that the sport was invented by the Native Americans when filling their animals' bladders with dried beans for the game's sake.

Other sources have credited the sport's origin to a farmer who was based in Kentucky by the name of Jebediah McGillicuddy. It is believed that the farmer developed the game to help keep family and friends entertained during gatherings and parties.

The last American theory stipulates that the sport came to be in Cincinnati 15 years ago as a pastime activity, and in doing so, it became popular. The Cincinnati's are believed to have started the game using filled bags that were tossed in turns into a plywood hole.

The European region, Germany

History of cornhole
Fans play the sport in the parking lot prior to game one of the National League Division Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park on 1 October 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Jared Wickerham
Source: Getty Images

Some sources have claimed that the sport came to light in Germany around the 14th century when a carpenter named Matthias Kuepermann saw the need to create a safer game for the children using his designs and skills.

The thought came to him after he saw children throwing stones into a nearby groundhog's hole. Instead of the hog's hole, he made a wooden plywood with a hole and encouraged the kids to use dried corn instead of stones for safety.

Other claims about the sport's origin

As mysterious as it is, the sport also has some theories that have been put forward, such as the following:

Beanbag Bull's-eye and Chicago

The theory claims that the game was invented in the 70s and 80s and became popular due to a Mechanics article.

The Heyliger Adams De Windt pattern

The claims detail a game that has similar features to the modern-day cornhole. The theory dates back to 1883, and although Adams received a patent for the game, it is still being determined if the sport was the one we know today.

How to play cornhole

Cornhole bags
Fans compete in a cornhole tournament before watching the Daytona 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on 26 February 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo: Cooper Neill
Source: Getty Images

It is simple to play the game since like any other sport, teams are needed. Teams can be a group of twos or fours who take turns tossing the bags into the opponent's hole platform with the aim of scoring.

How are points scored in cornhole?

Points are scored when the cornhole bags rest entirely inside the platform, and as a result, three points are awarded. On the other hand, one point is given when players miss the hole but land the corn into the cornhole boards.

The first group or individual player to score 21 points wins the match and thus takes home the stipulated price in cases of competitive tournaments. Remember, there are two types of cornhole scoring points; the game and match points.

Cornhole rules

Like most sports with rules to ensure fairness and a smooth game flow, cornhole is no different. The sport has rules and regulations governed by the American Cornhole Organisation. Here are some of the rules:

  • The cornhole distance should be 27 feet from the cornhole boards on both athletes' sides.
  • The sports court should be 8-10 feet wide with a minimum length of 40-45 feet.
  • The boards should have a length of 47.5-48 inches and a width of 23.5 to 24 inches made of plywood with a minimum thickness of a half inch.
  • The holes should have a diameter of 6 inches.
  • Each front of the boards should measure between 3 and 4 inches from the bottom.
  • The back of the board should measure 12 inches from level ground to the deck's highest point.
  • The board should be coarse textured towards a smooth texture with no blemish on the surface.
Where was the cornhole invented?
Contestants warm up at the Craig Campbell 2013 celebrity cornhole challenge at Public Square on 4 June 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Erika Goldring
Source: Getty Images
  • The bags should be made from two squares of durable fabric measuring 6.25 by 6.25 inches.
  • The bag's thickness should be one inch.
  • Each bag should be filled with either plastic pellets or corn to a weight of 14 to 16.25 ounces.
  • Players should stay on their sides till the end of the sport.

Why is cornhole so popular?

The sport is popular since it is friendly and has no age limit. It is a recreational sport for everyone that feels the need to engage in it, whether young or old and in addition, it has helped to bring families and friends together by acting as a common course in gatherings.

The question about when cornhole was invented and who came up with it has now been put to rest. The sport has seen significant success in the United States, and from the looks of things, it will soon spread to other regions since it is age-friendly. With its rising popularity and evolution over the past few years, it is without a doubt that cornhole will be among the most famous sports worldwide, which families and friends from all races can enjoy.

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Lenah Ann photo
Lenah Ann
Sports Facts Writer