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Gimmies: When Should You Hand Them Out?

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gimmie puttFor many weekend golf warriors, gimmies are as much a part of the game as golf balls and cart paths. Unless otherwise stated before the round, everyone in your foursome knows that gimmies will be handed out that day like presents on Christmas morning. But is there a tried and true "method" or "rule of thumb" to follow when awarding your playing partner a gimmie? Should gimmies be granted at all?

Our friends over at YourGolfTravel.com wrote an interesting piece on this subject recently. As one would suspect, not all golfers understand -- let alone agree -- on what constitutes a gimmie and what does not. Is any putt inside three feet considered "gimmie-worthy"? Two feet? One foot, you stingy bastards?

In my foursome, the "inside the leather" rule applies more often than not; that is, a putt of any length that is no longer than the length of the grip on the player's putter (I've also seen a version of this rule that takes the entire length of the putter into account, which is overly generous in my opinion). This becomes more difficult when someone is using a long- or belly-putter, but for the most part we stay consistent with the enforcement of this rule. Most of the time.

I've also played in groups where no gimmies are given, especially when playing for money or drinks after the round. Not only are these rounds much more stressful, but I'd even say much less enjoyable. Nothing drives me more insane than missing a two-foot tap-in because of a sudden rush of nerves during a $5 Nassau.

I can hear some of you now. "That's the whole point of not granting gimmies! You might miss that two-footer! Nothing is a sure thing."

Whatever. Go play on Tour, hot shot.

Over the years I have come to the realization that I will never play competitive golf, at least to the degree or frequency that would make me care about holing out each putt. Sure, I might play in a club championship or local amateur event, but 98 percent of my golf rounds are going to include me, my friends, and a tanker full of booze. It will also include plenty of gimmies.

Call me crazy, but I prefer to have fun on the golf course.

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