By Mark Wehrman
If you’ve ever played golf, you’re probably familiar with the term “gimme.” If not, a gimme refers to a putt that’s very close to the hole and is considered to be made without actually having to putt it into the hole.
That all sounds very harmless, but when it comes to posting a score, it’ll hurt you in the long run. Gimmes are fun to accept and will make you believe you’re scoring better than you really are. But, if you’ve ever played in any tournaments where you have to putt everything out, you know how difficult some of those 1- to 3-foot putts can be, especially under pressure.
I’m not going to lie to you and say I’ve never accepted a gimme from a playing partner. When the ball is less than a foot away from the hole, the probability of missing it is pretty low, so accepting the gimme will help keep the pace of play moving fast—and I’m all for anything that helps speed up the game.
But outside of that 1 foot, circumstances change drastically. When the pressure is there and it’s required to hole every putt out, that 1- to 3-foot putt can appear to be much more than it is.
There are positives that come out of holing every putt. Psychologically, hearing the ball hit the bottom of the cup on every hole is a huge confidence booster. It was said to me earlier this year from a playing partner who putted every ball in the hole. When I tried to give him a gimme, he said, “That is the sound I pay for.”
That statement has stuck with me this year and I’ve now been putting everything out. I truly believe that the more of those short putts you make, the more confident you’ll be standing over them. Like the old saying goes, “practice makes permanent.”
Mark Wehrman is the PGA Head Professional at the Big Sky Golf Course.