Ah, the beautiful gimme. That most wonderful of golfing traditions. As a golfer, you've probably heard the term "gimme" thrown around quite a bit. But what does it actually mean? The term "gimme" comes from the informal contraction of "give me".
A "gimme" is a situation in which the player gives a putt to his opponent, usually of a very short distance (around 2 feet or less). This can be done for any reason - to speed up play, because the putt is almost impossible to miss, or simply as a gesture of good sportsmanship. When conceding a putt this way, the player merely acknowledges that his opponent will make the putt and does not have to put it out.
But when should you offer a gimme? And can you ask for a gimme? What about the gimme rules of etiquette? Let's explore.
When to Offer a Gimme
The Two-Foot Rule (or is it Three-Feet ;)
One of the most common scenarios in which a gimme is used is when the ball is within two to three feet of the hole. if it's clear that somebody is going to make a putt, there's no need to wait around for them to actually do it. This can be especially useful when playing with beginners, who often take much longer than experienced golfers to make their shots.
In general, a gimme is given if the ball is "inside the leather" - closer to the hole than either the length of your putter grip (old school definition) or the length of your putter from putting head to the end of the grip (modern definition).
Finally, sometimes players will give their opponents gimmes as a gesture of good sportsmanship. If somebody has been playing well all day or if they're having an off day, giving them a break on a short putt can be a nice way to show that you're paying attention and that you're enjoying yourself.
So if you're standing over a two-foot putt, there's a good chance your playing partner will just wave it off and say "gimme." Of course, this isn't always the case - some players are sticklers for the rules and won't take anything less than an actually made putt. But in general, two feet or less is considered a gimme.
Another common scenario in which a gimme may be used is when the putt is simply impossible to miss. This might be due to the fact that the golf ball is inches from the hole. If you find yourself in this situation, there's no shame in taking the gimme - after all, how could you possibly miss the putt?
According to the rules of golf, gimmes are not allowed in tournament stroke play. However, in match play you may concede a putt or hole at any time.
When you Shouldn't Give a Gimme
Of course, there are also times when you shouldn't use a gimme. If you're playing in a competitive setting - whether it's against strangers at your local course or in an actual tournament - then it's generally best to forego the gimmes. This is because they can give your opponents an unfair advantage, and no one wants to win by default! So while gimmes can be fun and helpful in certain situations, be sure to use them sparingly if you want to keep things fair. Or at the very least define the gimme rules before the start of the round so that everybody is on the same page.
The Unwritten Rules of Gimme Etiquette
- If you have to ask for a gimme then you probably don't deserve it.
- If you are putting for birdie or to win the hole or the match you should putt out.
- If your opponent is blowing up on a hole give him a gimme.
- You should never give your own partner a gimme if you're playing team golf.
- Don't waste time placing your ball marker on the green hoping that your opponent will call out the gimme
- If you and your opponent have almost identical short putts with no skin in the game give each other a gimme.
- It's okay to decline a gimme, especially if it's a little longer or maybe for par or you're playing to hole everything out.
- If you're doing business on the course or playing with your boss don't get carried away offering up gimmess at will.
- If it's short but tricky make them putt.
In conclusion, a gimme is a putt that is given to the opponent by the player. This is usually done when the putt is very short or when the player knows that the opponent will make the putt. So next time you're on the green and your opponent has a surefire make, don't hesitate to give him a gimme!
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