In a perfect world there would be a place for gimmes in golf. Sadly it’s not and there isn’t. Try as we might to find an acceptable length to just concede a putt, the very phrase inside the leather shows just how long we’ve been trying to give each other a knee-knocker, but we still haven’t managed it.
Golf – and life – would be much simpler if we just did away with them and the few seconds it saves in earth time it only adds on in terms of bitterness, resentment, and outright loathing.
Here are 10 reasons to get behind the doing away with one of golf’s affectations…
1. Short putting is a skill
Let me introduce you to Uncle Ron who isn’t a relation of mine but is someone I happened across on a stag do a few years ago.
Ron played off 9, maybe missed one fairway in six rounds, and was the most feisty opponent I’ve ever met.
The one thing that Ron couldn’t do is hole out from very short range and so, in the first couple of holes, he would play out a pantomime where he couldn’t wait to give you a putt of basically any length in the hope that you would follow suit.
Thankfully he was the sort of character who you could happily tell that there won’t be many gimmes today because he knew, and I knew and everyone on the trip knew, that Ron had the worst case of the yips ever born to man.
It was possibly the most painful thing I’ve ever witnessed on a course, to watch someone hit maybe 12 greens a round but was then unable to even catch a slice of the lip from 18 inches.
But there you go, life’s tough and Ron, deep down, wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. The general lack of dignity
I hate the way gimmes in golf make all of us act. Even if you mark it and get out the way there’s a sense of taking the moral high ground. I’m above all of this, we tell ourselves, so am more than happy to putt out.
Generally speaking though it just lends itself to pathetic, whimpering looks and noises, a snail-like move towards your ball all in the hope that someone is going to take pity on you and tell you to pick it up.
The joy of putting your ball in your pocket is short-lived, easily swamped by the self-loathing that quickly follows. You talk too much and get a bit giggly, it’s all very unbecoming.
3. The faux concede
In the depths of my exhaustive research a friend sent me the following which sums up the shambles that often plays out on various putting surfaces up around the world:
On the 12th hole in the junior club matchplay I putted from about 30 feet up to six inches. The lad I was playing said ‘that’s good’ so I thanked him and picked up my ball.
“He then said he had only been commenting on the quality of my approach putt and wasn’t in fact conceding the putt and claimed the hole. I went on to lose the match as I was so wound up and promptly unravelled.
“I did have the last laugh though as he wet himself on my stag do.
This story is pretty much the norm, other than the last part. Gimmes are awkward, rarely clear and it leaves too much room for some horrific behaviour.
4. Those three little words
Generally speaking most of us behave quite well on the course, we don’t look for silly drops and we don’t try to find small gains whenever possible.
But then we leave ourselves a putt that we don’t really fancy and out comes those dreaded words:
Is that OK?
Given nobody has conceded anything in the tortuous walk to the hole side then you can safely assume that nobody is happy with you bringing the curtain down on your hole quite yet.
By then saying anything you shift everything on to your opponents and they then half mumble something about it being OK, given your pathetic pressuring of the situation, or, ideally, just say no.
Which leads to…
5. The posturing
This is a really grim practice to have to witness. Just because you’ve seen someone do it at the Ryder Cup, either hilariously lying down their putter to fake measure their putt or making some snide comment in front of everyone, or holding out their hands to signify how short the putt was, it doesn’t mean you have to act the tour pro.
You’ll have heard this before but if it’s that short, just knock it in. Just put the ball down where your marker was, as you do in any medal or Stableford competition, and put the ball in the hole and carry on as usual. By doing this you will have preserved your dignity, not sunk to the usual lows and most likely have won the hole.
Still not convinced there is no place for gimmes in golf? Read on to the next page where we discuss the merits of the quick rake, the tiresome mind games, and how a gimme made a mockery of the Solheim Cup…
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?