Thinking about 'gimmees'
Do you always hole out every putt? I mean even the shortest ones, under a foot? Should you?

We had an incident at a club tournament this weekend that caused quite a flap. Even though it was a tournament, Day 1 was a two-man scramble so teams were “giving’ putts of sure-fire length. Well, apparently one team took it up with another that they hadn’t really finished a hole, even though they had given putts to each other up to that point. It caused quite a flap, which could have been totally avoided had everyone just finished each hole according to the rules.

That got me thinking about how many holes in the typical round of golf with my friends that I really do finish. By that, I mean how many holes do I actually hear and experience the ball drop into the hole. In “Getting Up and Down”, one of my favorite short game books, Tom Watson says he always finishes the hole by hearing the ball drop, as anything less seems like unfinished business. He explains that his dad started him in golf on the putting green and told him to make the ball go in the hole. And to this day, that this part of each hole has always been his favorite. How many of us think that way? Not too many, I would guess.

This all got me thinking about how much longer it would really take if you just finished each hole by tapping in. Hearing the ball drop. Really finishing each hole you started. I’m going to experiment with that a while and ask my buddies not to knock the ball back to me when I get it in “the leather”.

And what is a “gimmee” anyway? You’ve seen it many times, a golfer puts his putter head into the hole to measure whether a putt is a “good” or not. Like there’s some law to define it. What’s that really about? And does the long/belly putter user get more freebies than I do, with my 32” putter? Wouldn’t it be easier if we all just holed out?

If you research it, I believe you’ll find that “in the leather” originally meant inside the length of the grip on the putter, not the distance from the putter head to the bottom of the grip. That would make “gimmees” something under a foot in length, which might not be too bad.

But my new approach is to hole out everything, even if just a few inches. I’m going to see if that doesn’t bring a new feeling of completion to each hole in the round. And to each round itself.

What do you guys think?
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[ comments ]
bobburke50 says:
Yes I putt out every hole. I also post every rould. It's in the rule book!
CN_Roger says:
He gives it I take it, same with me I give it he takes it. If your in a tournament thats different then every shot counts. It isn't to go faster, even if he would miss it it wont make my score lower or higher. I play for fun not to presshure my self...
hawaiiangolfer808 says:
Unless Im a pro I'll play everything by the book... I follow the important rules like OB and Hazards ...but shhiisshhh unless Im gambling on a hole...We have to putt if not...if its 1-2 feet usually a gimme...
For me and my playing partners in friendly games we normally give it each the putt, if its 1-2ft but still putt out for practice which does two things, first you get the practice you need without the nerves and more importantly it emphasises how many putts you actually miss in the "gimme range"....which reminds you that you use your putter more than any other club in your bag
vidling says:
Until the ball drops into the cup the hole is not finished so I would prefer to putt out every time
bigdaddy2564 says:
There is no such thing as a "gimme" in true golf. In match play a putt can be conceded by your opponent but one cannot declare a "gimme" regardless of how close you are to the cup. Who cares what you do if you are playing for fun and not posting a score for handicap, playing in a tournament or playing for money. In that case take all the gimmes and mulligans you want to in a goofy golf game.
johnrbutler says:
I play with a group that plays "within the leather". I prefer to play out ever hole until the ball goes into the cup except pick up on double boggy so that the game goes faster. That is the way we all should play if we are going to actually play golf.
Willie47 says:
Stoke Play the ball must hit th botton of the cup on all 18 holes or the competitor is disqualified. ( Rule 3-2 )
Match Play a playermay conced his opponent's next stroke at any time Provided the ball is at rest. The opponent is considered to have holed out with his next stroke. ( Rule 2-4 )

Note: For a true handicap the ball must hit the botton of the cup.
G.C. says:
In a forum post, someone asked "what's a gimme ?" i.e. what's the distance that should be a gimme and the reply was "cheating".

If you're putting in your score, putt it out.

If it's a social game, it's whatever one of the others will give you.
tm1221 says:
I've seen many putts of "gimme" length missed in tournament play. Finish the hole.
EZrider says:
Set the rules before the round and adhere to them. If its just a fun outing among friends, just have fun and get over it. A bunny hop (scramble) normally does not give the first putt, because that would be your actual score, by rule. In tournaments, you play by the rules of the USGA. Period.
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