To Give or Not to Give

That is the question I’ve been pondering ever since I read a post from the guys at Your Golf Travel last month on the the subject of Gimmies in Golf.

It sparked quite a bit of commentary on their Facebook Page and I was rather surprised at how many golfers were adamant that every putt should be holed out.

I play a lot of golf (mostly badly ;)) and often at different courses since I don’t have a membership anywhere.  Most days I am paired with strangers, but I have yet to play a round of friendly golf where a gimmie was not offered by someone in the foursome.

I guess I’m more of a enthusiastic golfer than a die-hard purist, so that’s probaby why I think gimmies are good for your average weekend warrior.  Here are my top 3 reasons why gimmies are good for golf.

1. Gimmies speed up pace of play.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stood in the fairway watching the group in front of me putt like they were playing in a US Open.  While we’re young people!!

Pace of play is almost an epidemic on public courses in North America and although the industry has been trying to promote faster play, little progress has been made to date.

Gimmies can cut minutes off of every hole; so if you’re inside a foot, do us all a favor — Pick up your ball and pick up the pace.

2. Gimmies help grow the game.

According to the National Golf Foundation’s report, Golf Participation in America, 2010-2020, the number of people playing golf in the US plateaued at the turn of the century and has been slowly declining ever since.

In Canada, the National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA) reports that the number of people entering the sport is equal to the number of people exiting. And even more disturbing is the fact that women are entering and leaving the game at a much higher rate than men.

Growing the game of golf is a real challenge.

Although time and expense are two contributors to people leaving the sport, another significant reason people give up on golf is that learning it can frustrating and even embarrassing to beginners.

Gimmies help keep beginners in the game, rewarding them for “getting close” and making them feel good about their small successes and helping them have more fun.

So do your part and help grow the game of golf — Give the gift of a gimme to those who need it.

3.  If it’s good enough for Match Play…

….then it’s good enough for a friendly game between golf buddies, IMHO.  It’s one thing to be competitive, but is that $2 Nassau really worth the stress and frustration you feel trying to hole out every putt?

My friend Susanne says, “Golf is a game for all but the pros.” and I agree with her. Games are meant to be played, so just go play and have more fun.

They say, “It’s better to give than to receive“.  So if you’re hooked on holing out, then play your own game and respectfully decline gimmies offered.  No one will care.

But don’t let the “rules police” in you stop you from being a generous and encouraging playing partner for those of us who just want to have fun.


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  1. Gimmes should be required in a recreational round! How about the player who refuses a gimme and instead marks her ball with a 2-inch piece of bling that is now right on your line, so she has to span the marker for you to putt, then span it back. I have taken to simply moving my ball in a recreational round to avoid this waste of time.

  2. I agree with Susan. Probably there should be a new rule regarding gimmies. What do you think?

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