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The Wedge Guy: Thinking about gimmees

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Do you always hole out every putt? I mean even the shortest ones, under a foot? Should you?

Or do you play the way the vast majority of recreational golfers do . . . and “give” your buddies putts deemed “sure thing”. I’ve seen groups that give nothing, and others that are overly generous, knocking back 3- and 4-footers. Whatever floats your boat is fine, but let me offer another idea for you to consider.

In his wonderful book about the short game and scoring – “Getting Up and Down” – Tom Watson wrote that he always finishes the hole by hearing the ball drop, as anything less seems like unfinished business. He explains that his dad started him in golf on the putting green and told him to make the ball go in the hole. And to this day, that this part of each hole has always been his favorite.

How many of us think that way? Not too many, I would guess.

That, of course, gets you thinking about how much longer it would really take if you just finished each hole by tapping in. Hearing the ball drop. Really finishing each hole you started. It would certainly eliminate any discussion or disagreement of just what length putt warrants a knock-back and “That’s good” from you or your golf buddies, wouldn’t it?

And what is a “gimmee” anyway? You’ve seen it many times, a golfer puts his putter head into the hole to measure whether a putt is a “good” or not. If the ball lies in between the hole and the bottom of the grip, that’s generally considered “good”, right? But there really isn’t any law to define it.

And does guy with the long/belly putter get more freebies than the player with a 32” putter? Or a golfer using one of these extended long putter grips?

Wouldn’t it be easier if we all just holed out?

A bit of research into the notion of a “gimmee” reveals that “in the leather” originally meant inside the length of the grip on the putter, not the distance from the putter head to the bottom of the grip. That would make “gimmees” something under a foot in length, which might not be too bad.
But I’m going to take a fresh new approach and begin to hole out everything, even if just a few inches . . . and even if I’m out by myself practice/playing. I’m guessing this is going to bring a new feeling of completion to each hole in the round. And to each round itself.

What do you guys think?

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Terry Koehler is a fourth generation Texan, a native of a small South Texas town and a graduate of Texas A&M University. He has had a most interesting 40-year career in the golf industry. He has created five start-up companies, ranging from advertising agencies to golf equipment companies. You might remember Reid Lockhart, EIDOLON, SCOR, or his leadership of the reintroduction of Ben Hogan to the golf equipment industry in 2014. For almost 25 years, his wedge designs have stimulated other companies to slightly raise the CG and improve wedge performance. He has just announced the formation of Edison Golf Company and the new Edison Forged wedges, which have been robotically proven to significantly raise the bar for wedge performance. Terry serves as Chairman and Director of Innovation for Edison Golf, which can be seen at www.EdisonWedges.com. Terry has been a prolific equipment designer of over 100 putters and several irons, but many know Koehler as simply “The Wedge Guy”, as he authored over 700 articles on his blog by that name from 2003-2010.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Radim Pavlicek

    May 22, 2021 at 7:30 am

    Gimmy is inside 1 foot.

  2. Joey5Picks

    May 19, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Do this in match play when your opponent has a short putt: Ask “can you make that?” If there’s anything other than a firm, affirmative response, make him putt it. There’s doubt in his mind.

  3. MarkM

    May 19, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    I play a lot of club tournaments that require you to hole all putts, so when I play with friends or practice rounds I try to putt out everything to keep that part of my game sharp.
    Regarding the Snead gimmee approach: In match play my strategy is to make an opponent putt their first 2-3 footer and see their reaction, and how confident they stroke it. If they waiver at all I’m not giving ANYTHING for the rest of the match.

  4. R.D. O’Reilly

    May 19, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    RE: The Wedge Guy: Thinking about Gimmees
    I remember how Sam Snead use to tell the stories about how he handle gimmees in match play…early in the round he would give them freely, even on longer difficult breaking putts, then later in the round he would go silent and give absolutely nothing….so coming on down to finishing holes his opponent would have zero round experience on some shorter knee shaking putts and inevitably miss them…..

  5. Chuck

    May 19, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    I believe that it was Bobby Jones who advised that all young golfers should hole out every putt, all the time. Make it a rule with your kids; hole everything.
    I think that’s good advice.
    Also; Nicklaus’ routine before competition was to hit a bunch of 5-foot putts, making them all. He would not have been getting the best feel for green speeds or break by doing that. But what was important was the idea of making everything.
    Personally, I hole out everything with two exceptions; formal match play particularly foursomes, and when absolutely necessary for pace of play.

  6. Chipster

    May 19, 2021 at 11:32 am

    I played for years in an amateur tournament series and could immediately tell who the new people on the tour were. They would invariably miss a number of short putts in each round – including one footers with a bit of break. Incidentally, these were reasonably good players (4 to 8 handicaps). I personally attribute that to not getting in the habit of making these putts during casual play. Anyone that has a tournament or outing planned where all putts need to be made should get into the routine of making all putts ASAP – as long as they do it quickly (continuous putting).

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Back from vacation! Nikon Coolshot 50i and Tour Edge C721 irons review!

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I was off last week and didn’t get a show recorded, I am sorry for that. But back this week with some club tinkering and course play talk. Then I review the new Nikon Coolshot 50i laser rangefinder. I started to really miss the red LCD display, just so easy to read. Tour Edge’s Exotics C721 irons are super forgiving and really long, but have such a soft feel and sound to them. The 4-iron has crept into my bag quietly as well.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: The quest for removing the ego

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If Mike Tyson was more worried about what it looked like for him to get hit than actually focusing on the task at hand there is no way he would have the record he has today. The ego is the enemy of performance.

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Opinion & Analysis

A golfing memoir in monthly tokens: July

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As some might say, if you don’t take the plunge, you can’t taste the brine. Others might not say such a thing. I’m taking the plunge, because I want to taste the brine. Here you’ll find the seventh installment of “A Golfing Memoir” as we trace a year in the life of Flip Hedgebow, itinerant teacher of golf. For January, click here. For February, click here. For March, click here. For April and May, click here. For June, click here.

“What do you think of weddings?”

“How comfortable is your room?”

The first question was offered by Grace Éimí Seáin. After he escorted her and sundry to her room via golf cart, they made plans to meet in the lodge for dinner. She had taken note of the path he chose to deliver her to her lodging house, and informed him of the time of her arrival to sup. Yes, he had offered to retrieve her in the same cart, as he should, and yes, he had nodded when she told him that it would be unnecessary.

The second question was posed by cirE “Flip” Hedgebow, itinerant golf instructor and relationship tyro. In anticipation of her arrival, he had checked the status of the newly-acquired guest house on the hill overlooking the seventh hole. When he realized that it had not been rented for the first two weeks of her stay, he sped up the work order on the landscaping and outside trim, so that it would be rentable no longer. Once that part of the plot was detailed, he let the crew know that he would text them each morning of their required, on-site hours.

The reason for the questions, was to re-break the ice. The two had not seen each other since Florida, and flowers need time to transition from bud to leaf. Flip had suggested that Grace ask him a question, to place her in a position of advantage. She acquiesced, but only after securing the contractual agreement that he would ask a subsequent one of her. His nod was his signature. In the large room down the hall from their table, a nuptial reception was in full roar. Sisters danced on tables, brothers shuffled with collars loosened and ties rakishly draped around necks.

“What do you think of weddings?”

He explained that he was of two minds: professional and personal. From the standpoint of his job, wedding receptions brought in lots of money to offset unforeseen expenses at the resort. The wait staff loved them, as ebullient parents showered servers and associates with healthy tips. Only rarely did guests lose so much control that damage ensued. Those matters were resolved efficiently. Flip also confessed that the energy that flowed from a reception resembled the type emitted by a waterfall, like the natural one behind the sixth green. The optimism of new life together, the rekindling of family ties, all generated a temporary but powerful élan, a brio that courses through the entirety of the space and inhabitants.

From personal experience, he had much less to offer. He could count on two hands the number of weddings he had attended as an invited guest. Not to say that he had few friends, but proximity and responsibility had kept him from more than a handful of receptions. Flip valued the uniqueness of each ceremony, be it religious or civil, and the measured opulence of the decor. It was hoped that it would once in a lifetime, after all, so why not go all out? For himself, he offered, should he ever take that step with someone, the decisions would be mutual and planned. No knee-jerk for him.

Three public-access buildings comprised the resort. The first was the lodge, which held the pro shop and offices on the first floor, along with a seldom-used locker room in the back. On floor the second, the combined bar and dining room sat to the north, while the banquet hall was on the southerly side. Adjacent to both lodge and first tee was the hotel, made up of two wings of rooms. The older wing was less ample but wider, and held all of the smaller rooms. For families, the new wing was deeper, and allowed for greater per-room occupancy. The final building was the aforementioned and still-unnamed guest house, away from resort-center. When the house went on the market, the heirs to Klifzota, in their German and Polish logic, moved quickly. The resort needed a space for large parties who wanted a bit of separation. An opportunity to steal some cash from Airbnb, especially during the seasons when the hotel sold out all of its rooms.

Flip knew how well-appointed the interior of the guest house was. He had worked with the marketing people to select fixtures, bed frames and other furniture, and had watched in solemn reverence as PR team matched shams and sheets to wall colors and lighting. The final product was understated and comfortable; not in the least bit intimidating. He suspected that Grace would be happy there, but wanted her own confirmation, which she gave.

July was always a rambunctious month at Klifzota. Across the rural highway, a music jamboree attracted tens of thousands for a display of patriotism and calamity. The celebration was enjoyed by aficionados of country music, as well as newcomers to that brand of song. Flip had been to so many renditions of the Vale Slam, as it was called by venue veterans, that he knew what to expect and how much to imbibe. Until the first day of the festival, he had no idea that Grace had keen insight into the genre.

It’s a classic case of wild child meets wayward boy, then grandmother steps in. My mother was a classical singer as a teenager, but she had an ear for all styles. She appreciated genius, no matter the rhythm, color, or duration. She met my father, a fiddler in a bluegrass band, and they had some times together. I was the product of one of those times. My grandmother, uncertain as to whether she would ever collect her daughter, offered to take me in for a spell. That spell became forever. I know that my mother and father are out there, somewhere in the universe. I hope that they are together and happy. I don’t begrudge them most days. Now you know why I was introduced as Agnes Porter the younger. Someday, you might learn about Agnes Porter the elder.

cirE “Flip” Hedgebow stared at her, words absent. She took his hand and away they walked, through the admission gate. What’s on your mind now? she inquired. Johnny Farrell and Willie Macfarlane, he muttered.

Those names caught her by surprise, unknown and disconnected. In the August incalescence, both persons would come to understand their kinship. Catching him as much by surprise was her follow-up question, completely unrelated to Farrell and Macfarlane: Is it all right if he comes and stays a few weeks?

 

Artwork by JaeB

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