Gimme a break

The ‘gimme’ is unique to the game of golf. In no other sport can a player can concede something to the opposition as an act of goodwill. It can be used to speed up play and spare us the sick feeling of watching a short putt missed or worse still, missing it yourself. It is worse than the nausea evoked when listening to the commentary of Jim Nantz or the sight of John Daly’s pants.
The ‘gimme’ can been used as a form of psychological warfare on the golf course. Walter Hagen reportedly would concede many putts early in a matchplay round only to disallow ‘gimme’s’ late in the match to an opponent now lacking any short-putt confidence.
More often than not it is used as a goodwill gesture but it cannot be used during any form of competition golf except for matchplay. If you pick up your ball in this situation you must replace it under the penalty of a shot. If not, the penalty is two strokes.

The ‘gimme’ is being abused.

I understand it may be nice to appear gracious and charitable to your fellow golfer but unlike social rounds or matchplay, you and your partner are playing against a full field of other golfers out on course. The has not deterred some golfers from using it on the golf course in competition rounds and it must stop. I find it difficult to explain and police this rule to new golfers. I don’t want to discourage them from the game but it is necessary to keep a level competition playing field. 

Don’t be charitable to a fellow golfer during a competition round and don’t concede ‘gimme’ putts!

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The unfriendly greenskeeper
The extreme 19th hole

2 thoughts on “Gimme a break

  • The gimmie is something between golfers who play together on a regular basis, who know each other’s game inside and out and just allows the game to get along. The only other reasons is friendly courtesy and politeness, just to put the poor bastard out of his misery or in match play, where it is a part of the game.

    The easiest way to prevent the unwarranted use is to declare at the beginning of the match that every player MUST putt out.

    Of course, you then must be ready for the more than four hour round as every player lines them up from four angles, plumb-bobs and then misses.

    But slow play is a whole ‘nother issue, right?


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