Measure for a Gimme

There seem to be a few questions about “Gimmes”. Here is an effort to provide some generally accepted information describing “Gimmes” and how to play them. The word originates as a contraction of the phrase “give me”.

A “Gimme” is a short putt waived by opponents during an informal round of golf. While “Gimmes” are not allowed in competitive tournaments governed by USGA Rules of Golf, some golf event committees incorporate use of "Gimmes" in local rules of play. The purpose of allowing “Gimmes” is to speed up play as many players take too much time trying to line up every putt, looking at it from all angles, taking many practice swings then putting. Essentially, we take for granted that the player would not miss such a short putt. The ball is not actually played and one stroke is counted. Many leagues consider inside 2 feet an acceptable distance.

A “Gimme” should not be confused with a “conceded stroke”, an option allowed only in Match Play and recognized in the Rules of Golf as follows:

A player may concede his opponent’s next stroke at any time(any location), provided the opponent’s ball is at rest. The opponent is considered to have holed out with his next stroke, the stroke is counted and the ball may be removed by either side.

So how do we measure a “Gimme”? Many experienced players agree to the following description and measurement procedure.

“Hook’em” or “Gimmes Inside the leather”– To measure "inside the leather", place the putter club head inside the cup on the green. Lay the putter flat on the putting surface, extending back toward the ball. If the ball is between the cup and the bottom of the grip (i.e., if the ball lies next to the shaft part of the putter), the putt is said to be "inside the leather" and, therefore, within the "gimme"distance. (Be careful not to damage the edges of the hole when doing this.)

Shown in the pictures below, the ball’s distance from the hole must be inside the distance between the head of the player’s putter and the leather grip. The whole ball must lie inside this distance.

Yes, there will be some differences in the “Hook’em” range afforded by different putters. Each golfer is to measure for a gimme using their own putter. A putter borrowed from another player can not be used. The rules of golf in 4-4 b. may be misleading. Please read below: Sharing Golf Clubs by Barry Rhodes.

From the USGA:

4-4. Maximum Of Fourteen Clubs

a. Selection and Addition of Clubs

The player must not start a stipulated round with more than fourteen clubs. He is limited to the clubs thus selected for that round, except that if he started with fewer than fourteen clubs, he may add any number, provided his total number does not exceed fourteen. The addition of a club or clubs must not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7) and the player must not add or borrow any club selected for play by any other person playing on the course or by assembling components carried by or for the player during the stipulated round.

b. Partners May Share Clubs

Partners may share clubs, provided that the total number of clubs carried by the partners so sharing does not exceed fourteen.

From Barry Rhodes:

Rules of Golf: Sharing Golf Clubs
Apr 22, 2010

Please don't misunderstand Rule 4-4b. It does not permit you to borrow or lend a club during a round. It only applies to partners who do not have more than 14 clubs between them. Learn the Rules and love the game, ...