When Golf Wagers Go Beyond Friendly

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, October 17th, 2014
Categories: GolfHackersMiscellaneous

GolfBet_MoneyMost 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.

One problem.

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.

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