The ever debated “gimme”…. While not necessarily rocket science, there is more strategy to it than meets the eye. You won’t see it at the U.S. Open or The Masters, but giving putts is a pretty significant act of diplomacy in non-professional golf. It might seem simple. Give your opponents putts if they’re close to the hole. Here are a few key tactics to use the classic “gimme” to your advantage.
1. Be Generous Early
It’s the same concept as buying the first round of beers at the bar. It pays dividends. Giving a few generous putts in the first few holes establishes that you’ve been a good guy, and obligates others to give you putts later on. What kind of jerk is given a 5-foot putt on the first green, and doesn’t return the favor?
The key here is that you’ve gotten the kindness out of the way. Later on, when the match is on the line, you can be stingy as hell. MAKE THEM PUTT IT OUT.
2. Don’t Show Weakness
If you miss a few stupid putts off the bat, you’re in for a long day. It sets the tone, and doesn’t create much incentive for you to be given putts. A lion will never show weakness, and neither should you. Focus on the first few and make them.
3. Size Up the Playing Field
Know thy enemy. If you’re playing gamers, or if someone is draining everything, there’s no sense causing contention by making them putt those 2 ½ footers. If someone is missing absolutely everything, it’s a different story.
4. If You’re Losing Badly, There Are No Rules. This. Is. War.
Friends having the round of their lives? Drank one too many brewskies on the front nine? Forget any and all tactics. Whatever your reasoning for being five down on the back nine, literally all gimme etiquette goes out the window. You have to salvage the precarious situation you’ve put yourself in. institute a scorched earth policy and give absolutely nothing.
Disclosure: All gimme tactics should be used lightheartedly. Winning is awesome, but golf should be fun. You should weigh the impact that the scorched earth policy could have on one’s friendships. Are you really going to make a comeback? If not, don’t be a dick.