Golf is a game of gentlemen and ladies who display class and dignity (if anyone is watching). Part of that civilized behavior is granting mercy and allowing your follow golfer not to have to sink a short putt. You extend a “gimme putt” and spare them the embarrassment of missing an easy putt. There is a lot of grey in the font of the word gimme so let us look at the how, where, and why a gimme putt comes into to play.
What Constitutes a Gimme Putt
Gimme putts are defined by allowing the player to pick up a putt and given them credit for sinking it. (yes, you count a stroke for the putt you didn’t take). The factors in making this decision are but not limited to a player’s putting skills and consistency. If your fellow players/opponent has been a sniper all day, it is okay to grant them that one foot putt and except the inevitable of the ball hitting the bottom of the cup.
Distance is a factor in the equation of a gimme putt. How far away is a gimme? Using your putter as a standard measurement, you can look at three measurements:
Anything longer than a putter cannot be considered a gimme. This includes chest putters or the flag itself.
When to Offer a Gimme Putt
Gimme putts are offered when there is no advantage of making the opponent putt. The main instance is when there is no money on the line. Here are some examples in casual competitive play:
- The hole is a push.
- You lost the hole 3 strokes ago.
- You lost the round 3 holes ago.
When to Ask for a Gimme Putt
It is a tricky thing to ask for a gimme putt. Are you showing weakness? Are you bragging that the putt is unmissable? If you ask, be ready for the possible rejection like asking a girl to the middle school dance.
The Give Back of a Gimme Putt
If you or your opponent offers a gimme, it is common courtesy to expect restitution in the future. If you get a gimme on the front nine, you can expect your opponent to look up for their par tap in with puppy dog eyes asking silent for your offer of a gimme. So careful when offered, when you take a gimme and save a stroke from an embarassing easy putt missed but your opponent has you in their pocket with their tees and ball mark repair tool.
To see the best example of generous gimme putt, please what this helpful ad for Michelob Beer from 1996: