Gimmie Putts, Are they a Thing?

Gimmie putts are a thing. Regardless of who we are playing with, we have told our playing partners to pick up their ball. Sometimes it is a mercy gimmie and sometimes it is for strategy, but gimmies are an unofficial part of golf. Last year, I played over 80 rounds of golf and except for tournaments, I will pick up my ball from time to time when playing. Is this fair, probably not, but it is a reality of modern golf.

Putting from any distance can be a challenge. And because of that, a gimmie is something that will lower your score initially, but in the long run will cause damage to your game. We have all missed that short putt because of inattention, it hit a ball mark or the hole was not round. And as such, our actions prove that a gimmie does not reinforce the positive action of finishing a golf hole.

I offer gimmies all the time. Most are from 1-3 feet in cases where my playing partner needs a break because they are struggling. Most of the time they take it, but occasionally, they putt out to reinforce the act of finishing. Regardless, I am not fussed whether they take it or not. Additionally, regardless of the distance, if the person is on their 4th putt, I suggest they pick it up so we can move on; of course all of this is predicated on the fact we are not in a competition.

I recently asked what distance players offer gimmies and this is what they said:

As you can see, most people are apt to offer a distance of 1-3 feet. Personally, I think that is reasonable as long as it is not every hole. I suggest no more that 2 gimmies a round is reasonable because most of those will be within a foot of so. I have played with on gentleman last year that putted everything out, it is a great habit and one I should adopt, but we all know that is not going to happen. Balls on the lip of the hole can be picked up as far as I am concerned.

I also have limitations on gimmies. The better I play, the less likely I will accept a gimmie. No sense entering a score of even par…..with 5 gimmies! I kind of takes away from the low score. That is my rule, but I do not apply that to my playing partners. After all this talk, I will say that I offer far more gimmies than I accept, but of course it should be that way, right?

Gimmies are part of amateur golf. Whether we like it or not, it is here to stay. I am not sure I want the rules to change to incorporate gimmies, but I think it is important that we acknowledge that gimmies are here to stay.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Written by Jim Burton from The Grateful Golfer blog.

10 thoughts on “Gimmie Putts, Are they a Thing?

  1. To me it all depends on the game that day. What are the stakes, what group are you playing with etc. On some days this means you’ll putt everything out and on others it means you’ll rake on from 4 feet. Life is short, have fun and do whatever makes everyone comfortable. The most important lesson though is clarify it all on the first tee 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jimmy

      Absolutely. I play with the same group most of the time so we understand each other. Generally, if I am playing with a new group, I do not offer gimmies until after the 2nd or 3rd hole. I have to get a feel for the group first. You are right thar having fun is paramount; also being grateful helps.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi jim
    I am not really a big fan of the Gimme putt. The one where your playing partner says”pick it up …you’ll make it” I never take it on a par or better,I feel like work was unfinished and it wasn’t earned.
    I have accepted the charity putt. There are holes I’ve just finished hacking up the countryside on and realize that the foursome behind me is starting to doze off. Then I will to pick up and run away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that never taking a gimmie on a birdie or lowe putt. I will.take a par putt if it is within a foot. It does speed up the game for sure. I too will pick up if I just hacked my way down the hole, our frusration level can only go so high! 😂



  3. I’m happy to give a 1-3 foot gimme, but I don’t generally take one unless it’s less than a foot now. I used to, but I get more satisfaction from dropping them myself.

    I used to miss those little putts often enough to almost fear them but now I find they just give a tiny boost to my confidence each time one drops.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let me add that I don’t compete against the rest of the people I might be playing with. I compete against the course and my own past games. If someone wants to take a 15 foot gimme, I’m not going to have a care in the world over it. It’s their game and up to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The rough rule often applied is the distance wrist to elbow on your arm which works pretty well. How competitive things are is a factor: my son will rarely offer a gimmie in our Dad vs Tristan matches! Cheers, Rob.

    Liked by 1 person

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