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Short Putts

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:30 am
by legitimatebeef
Been wanting to have a discussion on this for the longest time. To be completely honest it is a topic that I am a little afraid of, for fear of hurting feelings. But it came up again last week when I played golf with my old high school friend. Early in the round I left about a five footer and he said to me that I "could have it" if I wanted it. I chuckled internally and didn't say anything, but it definitely got me thinking about the issue and the rather complicated, convoluted and quite frankly pitiful psychology associated with it.

Most of you probably know where I stand (I putt everything in the hole, always, no exceptions, ever). But what I'm interested in right now is what other people do when their ball comes to rest within, say four feet of the hole, and the motivations behind these actions.

I used to be a little bit militant about it. Ideological even. Nowadays, while I still putt everything out, there is no underlying reason except that I like doing it. Feels weird to even describe it like that. No, it's not exactly that I like doing it. I just do it because it's an inexorable feature of the game. I.e. putting the ball in the hole it is essential to which we call golf. It is the essence of golf. I.e. if you're not actively trying to get a ball into a hole, then what are you doing? Not golf IMO. If a ball didn't go in the hole I'd feel incomplete and then it would nag at me. Why would I bring that upon myself?

Here is my question to you. When you are playing a non-competitive, non-tournament round of golf, and your ball comes to rest within four feet of the hole... how do you proceed and how do you justify the behavior? No judging here, just would like to have a frank discussion. (Nowadays when stupid randoms try to "give" me putts, I don't even react I just calmly replace the ball and go about putting it--turns out is very effective at stifling this nonsense behavior btw.)

Re: Short Putts

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:51 am
by jasonfish11
4' is a really long "gimmie"

For me I putt everything out unless it's a virtual tap in or I'm just incredibly pissed at the hole. My "tap ins" are less than a 1 foot. I do this because I can easily "scoop" the ball up with the back of my putter and I don't have to bend down. So it's purely out of laziness.

The pissed off scoop and move on is when I've really botched a hole, multiple penalties, multiple chips, running a 3' putt for double/triple 6' past or some combination of them all. In all of the "pissed off" cases my score from an ESC standpoint wouldn't have been any different if I made the putt or if I had 4 putted. When i do this I normally just mark it as a 2-putt for gamegolf statistics. So I'm sure I'm partially messing up my stats by marking every 8' triple bogey+ putt as a missed putt, but why was I putting for a 7 is more of a concern than if I made the 8'er anyways.

But more often than not I'm actually hitting extra putts. I play a lot by myself, so I'm waiting on the group in front. In order to not be right on their heels I tend to chip/putt around the green I just finished while letting them gain some distance. This is assuming no one is behind me.

Re: Short Putts

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:50 am
Agree that 4' is a long "gimmie". On my Saturday morning group it depends on what the guys give you - usually 4' is a no, 2' is a yes, 3' is a maybe. Of course that may change depending on whether the hole is over and difficultly of the putt and generosity rises when someone has a rough hole. But generally your opponents decide. After all, we have big money on the match. You can lose up to $5 a round.

When playing outside my regular group or by myself my decision rules are similar. 4' needs to be putted, generally 2' is in unless there is something unusual about the putt. 3' will depend on situation - am I concerned about pace of play, is it a difficult putt, etc. On my NJ courses a 3' uphill is going to be in so I will often take it to speed things up and I often find that I'm the one in a group trying to push pace of play so I'll take a lot of those and move on. But if the putt is difficult and time isn't an issue, I will usually putt.

BTW, this was my big concern when I played in a tournament last year - that I don't take enough 3 footers. When I was prepping for the tournament and in the rounds themselves, I found that my make on 3 footers was sufficiently high if I take the time to read and assess so I don't feel guilty when I take an easy 3'.

Re: Short Putts

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:55 am
by legitimatebeef
Agree that giving yourself putts is probably statistically insignificant and especially since I am statistically apathetic, I cannot fairly use statistics as a justification.

When I practice chipping, I play a certain kind of "game" with myself and compulsively I force myself to "win" a game before I can leave. I think it's a kind of OCD behavior; there is no logical, rational reason for doing so. I just feel kind of weird and uneasy if I don't. I think it's a similar compulsion that dictates my short putting obsession.

Re: Short Putts

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:25 pm
by legitimatebeef
I missed a couple around three feet. One was nasty, the other, I don't know what happened. But it reminded me of why people give themselves putts. This shit will drive you mad. I get it, most people simply are not as mentally tough as the beefster.

Re: Short Putts

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:03 am
by DougE
legitimatebeef wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:30 am
Here is my question to you. When you are playing a non-competitive, non-tournament round of golf, and your ball comes to rest within four feet of the hole... how do you proceed and how do you justify the behavior?
Playing with a regular golf buddy, we do not give 3 or 4 footers to each other, since our greens have lots of slope in them pretty much everywhere and they are so slick that there is definitely some amount of break in virtually every 3' putt. Getting that combination of break and speed right is not all that "given." We do, however, typically give each other 1 footers, but I still like to putt them out, just to feel complete.

When I play alone, I don't always putt everything out because I can't post the score anyway. If I'm inside 3 feet, I am more likely to rake one up. On the other hand, if I am out there alone playing a practice round, where trying different shots is part of the practice plan, whether off the tee, approaches, chips or putts, I typically will attempt those shorties. And, if I miss, I will drop another and another and another and make that putt 3Xs before I leave the green to make sure I know why I missed the first one and reinforce what I need to do to make it right next time I have that little putt. I hate missing short putts. I am sure I am not alone in that contempt.

I have played in many tournaments and unless it is a match play event (where gimmes are a normal and expected part of the format), obviously 1 inch putts are mandatory. So, I like to putt pretty much everything out when playing with others to make sure I am comfortable under the pressure when it counts.

Re: Short Putts

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:14 am
by legitimatebeef
DougE wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:03 am
I hate missing short putts. I am sure I am not alone in that contempt.
Obviously not. The way I see it, the hatred for the missed putt is merely the flip side, the yin to the yang, of your deep abiding love for golf in general. Cannot have one without the other. In other words if the missed putt did not anger you then you probably don't love golf that much. Tao Te Ching motherfuckers.

Re: Short Putts

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:10 pm
by bkuehn1952
I think we all agree that in a tournament or where something is on the line and there is an agreement to putt out, we all putt out.

We have a regular twilight round on Tuesdays. It is virtually a practice round as the other guys move the ball, hit 2nd balls, etc... We try to move fast, jump around, etc... I typically try to "play the ball down" and putt anything that I know I have a chance of missing more than 1-2 times out of 100. I'll post those scores to my handicap. Sometimes the need for speed trumps the rules and in those instances I don't worry about putting short putts and don't post the score. I do put the data into SkyGolf as I don't consider the SG handicap as my real one.

Most other accompanied rounds are played within the Rules and putts are putted out except for ones in the 2 foot or less range. I know I have flinched and missed putts 2-3 feet long so I really try to putt them. At times group pressure forces one to go along with the gimmee's. I try to never putt a gimmee. I don't want to confirm that in fact I could miss it. If the putt is good, I pick it up or knock it away.

A couple things I dislike (but don't get my shorts too tied up in knots over):
1. I attempt to putt a short one and the other guy(s) tell me, "Oh, we gave that to you." Sorry, men, I missed that mother f-----n' putt so I am counting it.
2. Guys in the group casually backhanding a 3 1/2 foot putt, missing, then raking it back, setting up properly and then make it. Hey, pick it up if you are taking a gimmee or putt the thing seriously the first time. Doing it over doesn't make it legit.
3. The occasional golf partner (often a random pairing) who decides to not so secretly compete against me. So they butcher a hole and they give themselves that 5-footer for "7" so they don't fall too far behind me, their "secret opponent." C'mon friend, we all know you are trying to beat my score. Do it legitimately or I am going to get annoyed with your asking me what I had on the last hole.

Re: Short Putts

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:26 pm
by DougE
bkuehn1952 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:10 pm
I do put the data into SkyGolf as I don't consider the SG handicap as my real one.
I do the same as you. It's why my SG360 handicap presently shows 6.4, when my official index is over 7, and probably going up a tenth or two of a stroke on Friday when the updates come out. I count everything for my GHIN. Vanity handicaps are difficult to win with.