It’s a common term, but what does ‘gimme’ really mean in golf?

Glossary_Gimme_dreamstime-150x150ALTHOUGH A COMMON TERM in life and a common practice in golf, the gimme — a putt so close that it is deemed unnecessary to hole — has no place in the Rules of Golf.

Yes, it is true that in match play a putt may be conceded. But the player whose responsibility it is to make that putt has the obligation to refrain from batting her eyelashes, putting her hands together in prayer or taking any other action that could be construed as begging or asking “Gimme?”

On the other hand, a recreational round of golf often includes putts that are agreed to be gimmes, or that for purposes of pace of play the group simply expects one to pick up on her own and move along. In these cases we decide on our own the definition of “gimme.”

In a casual competition with friends, it is not improper to beg for a gimme. The size of the wager may dictate the length of putt accepted as a gimme, and also what extreme the begging may take. High stakes and empty wallet? Take a knee.

In an official by-the-rules match between two players or teams, how does an opponent concede a putt? With the two words a GottaGoGolfer most longs to hear — even better than “good shot.”

“That’s good.”

Hear it? Say thank you, pick up your ball, and move along.

This article first appeared in the June 2011 edition of GottaGoGolf Magazine.

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