How many times have you taken a putt? You know, when you miss your first attempt and walk up a pick your ball up. I have for sure over the years, but I like to think that I have a maximum distance before picking up my ball. Before you give me the lazy eye, I know we have all done it without any regrets.
In the big scheme of things, I do not sweat picking up the odd putt in the course of several rounds, yet I have to wonder if this is really helping my game. Of course the real answer is that it does hurt my game when I need to putt everything, yet sometimes I do not care and just want to have fun playing.
There is no real rules or etiquette to taking a gimmie, well there is a rule and it states we have to play everything out, but that is just a minor detail. A gimmie that is used to speed up play in friendly is great. However a gimmie used in a match play is used to disarm and lull your opponent into making a mistake. It really is a matter of perspective.
During a normal round with the guys, I am not afraid to take a gimmie now and again. If I do, it must meet several criteria as to not affect my overall score. Here is how I judge a gimmie:
- it is not longer than my putter grip
- it is not on a steep side slope
- it is not a severe downhill putt
- it is not for birdie or eagle
- my score is not under par
That is my criteria is hard fast except for the times that I do not follow it. But we do not want to discuss those times because it usually is accompanied with frustration and disappointment.
Using a gimmie in a match play is completely different beast! I use gimmies as a tool gain any advantage I can over my opponent. My strategy is proven and effective most of the time. I figure it gains me at least two holes during the match because my opponent misses a putt or two. My strategy goes like this:
- in the first six holes give a couple 4 footers so they do not practice short ones
- if they get it within a putter grip on a lag putt, make them putt it out
- in the middle 6 holes, give them one longer putt around 6 feet or so to through them off
- in the last 6 holes, they have to putt everything. If they miss their first 4 footer, their confidence is shaken and it makes these putts seem much longer
One point, I never give a putt if I am going to lose the hole because of the gimmie. That just does not make sense. I ensure my opponent wins every hole.
I have a few other tricks up my sleeve, but I cannot share everything. We might be playing against one another some day. Gimmies are an important part of the unwritten rules and if used properly does have a place in golf. What do you think?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!