Most golfers like to have “friendly” wagers against their playing partners on the course. There are hundreds of different golf betting games for said friendly wagers, and perhaps someday I’ll post them here as a fun resource for golfers. It would take quite a while.
I’ve been involved in many “money” games over the years and had some crazy situations arise when emotions and tempers flare up. Golf can do that, and in the heat of the moment we can make dumb choices. For me a typical friendly bet is a $2 nassau, $1-$5 skins, and maybe a $5-10 overall low (net or gross) score wager. With those numbers one might win a few bucks when playing well, or lose just a few when not playing well.
There is a point at which a friendly bet becomes not-so-friendly. That’s the point where the money becomes the focus, rather than a friendly golf game with your buddies. Putts which would normally be in the “friendship zone” and called good in match play are suddenly not good and must be putted out. That’s a point in time where players can become irritated that their putts were not called good, and tempers can flare.
A friendly game is not one in which the losers go home pissed off at their friends because their round cost them too much money. If that’s the case, the bets are too high or there have been too many presses. When my friends play well to beat me, I have no problem shaking their hand, patting them on the back, and giving them their $4.00. But if I have to hand over $50, along with green fees, I’m looking at $100 day. That isn’t exaclty fun.
I’ve had some crazy bets and scenarios happen in my day, below are a couple of the most memorable.
Winning $150 with my pants down
A guy I used to play regularly loved to double the bet when he was down. It would start at a $1 per hole, then $2, then $5… $10 etc. On the 17th hole I was beating the guy so bad he threw his putter about 40 feet up into a pine tree and had to climb up and get it. He owed me $50 at that point. By the 18th tee he was so mad after climbing the tree that he wanted to bet me $100. I agreed to the bet figuring at the worst I’d lose $50 and as mad as he was, I’d probably win the hole.
I duffed my tee shot on the short par-4 though, and it didn’t make it past the ladies’ tee. Back then we strictly enforced the pants down rule if one’s tee shot didn’t make it past the ladies’ tee. With my pants down I crushed a 3-wood and though the finishing hole was uphill, I reached the green. Naturally (pun intended), with my pants down, I drained the birdie putt to win the hole.
Total take $150 and one pissed off former friend.
The bet too big to collect
Years ago on the driving range with a buddy we started a contest. A quarter to each player on the range who could hit the targets out there. This range had 50 gallon drums, old cars, and all sorts of targets. We went back and forth hitting targets and betting. Soon we started to do double-or-nothing bets.
The game moved to the practice putting green where it started at $1 per hole. I started to win holes and my opponent doubled up the bet each time, figuring he would eventually win. He didn’t. The bets started to get out of hand. $25, $50 etc… It got to the point where the guy owed me $250.
“Double or nothing,” he said when down $250. I told him that the game got out of control and I was not going to let it go any farther. I was done. He begged for one more bet, so I begrudgingly agreed and picked a hole some 100 feet away to insure we would both 2-putt and be done.
I made the putt.
I never collected the $500 from that day’s crazy practice bets. I told the guy to forget it. I can only hope he would have done the same for me, but I suspect he would have insisted on collecting.
This year I’ve paid close attention to where the ball is impacting the club face, especially on my driver. Despite lining up the ball on the center, when I actually hit the ball the mark is about a half inch toward the toe, and sometimes even farther. This kills distance big and decreases accuracy as well. Consistency? Forget it.
I told my good buddy and playing partner of many years that I keep hitting my driver on the toe. His comment was so dead-on and made so much sense that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first. He simply said, “move closer.” So sensible! Since then I’ve been lining up the ball about half way between the driver’s center and the shaft. I’ve found the sweet spot more times this year than in many, many years. One big difference between really good golfers and higher handicaps is proximity to the center of the club face.
My distance is increasing more and more with the same clubs and same balls. This isn’t the technology people. It is simply making sure the ball is hitting the club at the perfect place. Yesterday I had several drives over 300 yards in my round, with an 86% fairway percentage.
In short? Don’t over-analyze. If you hit the toe of the club, move closer. If you consistently miss right, aim left!
Sunday’s round was one to remember with all sorts of excellent bounces and good breaks. The round was capped off by my holing out a 7-iron from 173 for eagle on the final hole at Bonneville Golf Course to shoot even par (and collect on all sorts of bets with presses!!). That was hands down the shot of the year for me and I doubt I’ll top it for some time.
Thanks to Game Golf, the GPS golf shot tracking system I reviewed a few posts back. They awarded that 7-iron the Game Golf shot of the week! I’m kinda famous now…
Many times I’ve used this golf blog to vent my frustrations with the game of golf. I do admit I’ve done my fair share of whining and snivelling about my scores and my short game. Golf is hard. Golf is frustrating. It is a game that cannot be mastered, yet I still do it and often wonder why.
Yesterday I apparently had some positive credit with the golf gods. I was the beneficiary of two crazy breaks, which both resulted in birdie.
First break was on the 7th hole at Bonneville here in Salt Lake. That hole parallels a busy street and the green sits next to a fence bordering the street. Any pulled shot left of the green could hit a car. I hit a wild drive into the right treeline. From 130 or so out, I punched a pitching wedge at the pin, but hit it way too hard. The ball bounced off the fence and settled to about two feet from the hole. I made the birdie putt.
The second break was on the very long par-3 15th. I hit a hybrid from 235 but hit a bit of an inside the club face thin shot which resulted in a low power fade. Not my intended shot. The ball rolled onto the green and settled about 15 inches from the cup, nearly going in. I made the birdie putt.
Finally the golf gods rewarded a good shot on the 18th hole. 18 at Bonneville is a 470 yard par-4 where the second shot is over a ravine (image below).
18th Hole – Bonneville Golf Course
After a 300 yard drive I sat at 173. I hit a 100% pure 7-iron on the exact line I visualized before the shot. The flight was nice and high with a tiny draw. It hit short-right of the pin and followed the green’s contour right into the hole for EAGLE. I was +2 on the round going into the final hole so the eagle got me back to even par 72 on the day, a tie for my best score of the season.
It seems like the ball bounces negatively more in golf than it does positively. Yesterday though, it was all positive and for that I’m thankful. Next time I’m out I fix a few more ball marks and fill in a few more divots. Need to keep making deposits into the golf karma kitty.
Yesterday I was the guest of a relative at the swankiest private course in town. I get to play there perhaps once per year and always look forward to it. I don’t typically play well there and I’m not a big fan of the architecture of the course. Maybe if I played better there I’d be a fan of the course design, but that’s a discussion for another day.
My cart partner was a 2nd cousin, a solid 9-handicap who hits the ball quite well. Unfortunately this poor chap is cursed with the yips.
What is the yips?
Yips or the yips is the apparent loss of fine motor skills without apparent explanation, in one of a number of different sports. The technical term is focal dystonia.
What this translates into for golf is the inability for the golfer to control the putter, especially on short putts.
It was very difficult to watch my 2nd cousin putt. Even if he was putting for birdie from five feet, he would three putt. The first putt would miss by a foot or so, and he would badly miss the one-footer. On one hole he actually double-hit a two foot putt. I’ve never seen anyone double-hit a putt and I hope I never see it again!
Eventually the group was giving him putts, saying “that’s good” in order to not have to watch him miss putts that were even under 10 inches.
He asked me for advice and the best I could come up with was to swing the putter with his shoulders, keeping the hands and wrists quiet. It seemed his hands and wrists would twerk, jerk, flip, and spazz out on those short putts. Either the advice didn’t work, or he chose not to try it during the round as the yips and putt problems lasted all day.
I thought perhaps I had the chip-yips because my short game is so bad. I realized that I don’t have the chip-yips after yesterday. I’m actually in control of my shots. I hit the chips and pitches solid and crisp, as I intend. My issue is not having a feel for distance control.
I feel bad for ANYONE who has the yips. This is the first time I have witnessed the yips. I’ve heard about it before, but seeing it in person left me (as they say in the UK) gobsmacked.