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When Inside The Leather Starts To Grow

So how do you define a gimme? Here is a pretty good definition from the internet: “In golf, a gimme is a shot that the other players agree can count automatically, without being actually played. When a player has only a very short putt left to play, other players may grant a gimme (i.e. one stroke is counted), but the ball is not actually played.”

The problem is that if you play in a group with multiple teams, and your competing with those teams, the guys giving the putts are your team mates. In order to protect the field we adopt certain rules for gimmes. Inside the leather is a common method used to determine if a putt is good; that is when a ball lies inside the distance of the hole and the start of your putter grip.

We even named our golf group ITL (Inside The Leather) to enshrine that our gimmes must be inside the leather; but because some players have a wider field of vision than others, all too often inside the leather became “looks good to me.” As with most groups, we do have some players who are way too generous in both the putts they take and those they give, and we’ve struggled with this dilemma for quite some time.

The obvious answer to this dilemma is to make everyone putt everything out. And one season we tried that. However, it wasn’t long before everyone started complaining that it was taking too much time and we should go back to inside the leather, and so we did, but alas some slipped back into their old ways.

In trying to find a solution for this problem we turned to our lady golfer groups, because we know lady golfers are much more strict in enforcing the rules they play by. This one group of ladies came up with this intriguing idea to incentivize players to stick to the gimme rules. They added a side bet, in addition to the regular bet for the game, where there would be one winner for the player with the fewest number of putts taken in the round, across all teams.

So yesterday we played our first game that included a pot for fewest putts. We had five foursomes playing and the feedback I got was that it worked; only inside the leather putts were given, or taken, and we had 2 winners tied at 30 putts. However, it did take a marginally longer time to play, but I am hopeful that once the group is accustomed to the game the time will return to normal. If you know how others have dealt with this problem please leave a comment below.


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