By bkuehn1952 on 11/15/11
The man needs no introduction by now, but at oob we believe those who deserve to be recognized should be recognized. Therefore, it's is my greatest pleasure to share with you Brian "bkuehn1952" Kuehn's latest submission. And in case you missed any of his 28 previous posts, I've linked them out here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Enjoy!

I was interested in the results of an Oob poll a while back where well over 50% of the respondents indicated they would be willing to bet $500 on holing a 5-foot putt. Some of the positive answers probably assumed a level and straight putt across a perfect green. Certainly one would expect to make that putt more than 50% of the time but there is no way I would personally wager $500. Mind you, I have no problem with a little gambling on the golf course. I have, however, a few guidelines before I plunk down any cash.

First, before I am willing to make any sort of wager on the golf course, I want to understand the bet. Being a pessimist, I typically evaluate the maximum possible loss as well as the probable result. For me, losing $20 is about the limit. So if you want to play a skins game for $1 a hole or a $5 Nassau that is fine by me. My thought would be that I probably wouldn’t lose every hole and even if I did, the most I could lose is still relatively nominal. Start throwing in presses or other methods of upping the ante, count me out; the more complex and expensive the game, the less interest there is on my part.

Next, I need to know my opponent(s). Gambling with strangers is asking for trouble. Considering all the people running around with anger management issues and concealed weapons, who needs the stress of wondering how the other guy is going to react to losing 10 & 8. Or worse, experience the sinking feeling of doling out $20 after getting worked over by an octogenarian claiming to be a 27-handicapper.

Another requirement is to understand all the “rules”. Strictly USGA? Then don’t get caught rolling the ball or expect me to bend a rule. You want some special accommodation like a “mulligan” a side or “gimmee inside the leather”? Be prepared to agree on what constitutes “inside the leather” or how and when a “mulligan” can be used. The middle of a match is no time to start hashing out the details.

Finally, I like to be familiar with my opponent’s game. Several of my buddies sport a 12 handicap but play to a 5 when money is on the line. On paper they may deserve a stroke per nine from me but there is no way they are getting them. In fact the whole issue of getting strokes or using handicaps can get rather testy. I have known a few players that felt it was unmanly to accept strokes and always insisted on playing even. As long as you have a legitimate handicap AND it is higher than mine, playing even is fine with me.

So let’s go back to that $500 bet on making a 5-footer. What if I tell you it involves a left to right slider on a recently large-tine aerated green with the wind blowing 30 mph? Still interested? No? I thought as much.

Share your thoughts on gambling & golf. What’s the most anyone has ever won or lost playing golf? Any interesting gambling stories to tell? When do you hold’em and when do you fold’em? Let’s hear from you!

This was written by Brian Kuehn, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

photo by by Alex Bellink

[ comments ]
Beekeeper45 says:
bkuehn1952, this is well written!! My year is coming to a close here in the midwest. This is what I ran into during the second nine round after first nine league play, joined the new foursome and after the first hole in which I double bogied, two of the gentlemen wanted to know if I would be interested in a little skins game,at first I had declined and then they said its only a quarter a hole and then the other guy said well if ya do we will spot you one stroke on EVERY hole!! I gave in, and told them sure and that I did tell them that this nine is usually pretty good side for me and that they didnt need to spot me the extra stroke, they both laughed and said no thats alright young man..anyway back in the club house I thanked them both for round and the extra 2 bucks!! As far as the money goes, I would rather play for a soda, burger or a beer, and if I hadnt golfed with either one of them before the money would have been clear out of the picture....justsayin
mmontisano says:
as soon as money is involved in any sport for me, I choke. so I tend to not gamble on the course. the most i've lost is $20.
jpjeffery says:
I play golf to hit the ball as well as I can with as few strokes as possible. Gambling would just change the whole thing (for the worse).
dartboss04 says:
I've never played for big money, but I think it's fun to play for a six pack or something like that among friends. I've only really played with people I know, so we all know each others skill set.
CeeBee says:
Several years ago, me and 3 buddies took a trip to Florida to play some golf. Every round we had some sort of little wager going. Closest to pin, 6-6-6, snake, whatever. Couple bucks. No big deal. The last day one of the guys(18 hndper)throws down the gaunlet and calls me out. Match play. I had no interest but he was insistant.
Knowing he was perfectly capable of a good amount of pars and even an occasional bird AND a good amount of "blow-up" holes, I told him I would give him 12 strokes aside. It's on. Hole #1 was a par 5. I put mine in fairway. He proceeded to hit his first four tee shots out of play. Teed nine before we got started. I took a birdie while he made 14 on hole. I was well on my way. Only $5 a side.
tartantoml says:
Sometimes its a godd way to test handicaps and enforce the rules.
Banker85 says:
never played for money but i look forward to trying out some skin games next season!
mjaber says:
I've never played for money, though I've thought about setting something up with a couple friends. If a random person were to offer to play for x/hole, or something along those lines, it would depend on my mood and my perception of the player. If the value of "x", above, was high, I would put in a stipulation of a simple foot race after the round, double or nothing. My reasoning behind that is that I know I'm faster than most people, and it would insure that I didn't get hustled.
Dusty23 says:
my regular group doesn't play for money very often, we do however have a pink pom-pom headcover that the the guy who loses has to put on his driver until he can not finish last in the group. have played a few $2 nassaus, skins and wolf games but those are usually only a few times a year
falcon50driver says:
I got matched up with 3 guys in Las Vegas who asked me if I wanted in on their game for a quarter a hole. I agreed because I wanted to see how I fared against the other guys. If there's no money involved , you hate to ask someone what they had on a hole. Anyway, toward the end the guy keeping score said to me "looks like you're down $275.00" I said " What? How can that be at a quarter a hole"
He says " Yeah buddy, this is Vegas. Everybody knows a quarter is $25.00" Well, when we rounded the cartpath toward the clubhouse there was a taxi parked in front so I tossed my bag in it and left the cart in the driveway. So long suckas!
hp says:
I've been playing a par 5 and par 3 bet recently. If you par all the par 5's for the round, everyone in the bet owes you 5 bucks. If you par all the par 3's in the round, then everyone owes you 20 bucks.

Another fun bet is the last person or persons to 3 putt in the round owes everyone drinks. You can have 5 three putts in the round but as long as you aren't the last one to 3 putt, you are in the clear. It's good for a lot of laughs on the 18th green.

Otherwise the only other bet I can really be talked into is rotating best ball team skins with full handicaps with people I know. You switch partners every 6 holes.
Matt McGee says:
Three friends and I have a match play bet with presses. We negotiate for strokes before the round, and everyone is more than happy to point out any rules violations. It's rare that anyone loses more than about $10, but we put a lot of pressure on each other. Winning a buck from one of these guys is more fun than winning ten from a stranger.
This sort of game among friends now and then seems to help me to stay calm and focused in tournaments & other higher pressure situations. It also serves to keep us all aware of the rules - especially the ones that we might be in a habit of breaking when we play by ourselves, like moving a pine needle from under your ball that causes it to move, tapping that last 6-inch putt into your hand inside the cup instead of letting it drop, etc.
FallOfTim says:
We play a few games for money from time to time. One of the funnest ones is all on putting. Basically, everyone starts out with 2 playing cards, randomly delt after shuffling. You are already expected a 2 putt. If you 1 putt, you recieve a playing card. If you 3 putt or worse you put $1 into the pot. The person with the best poker hand at the end of 18 wins the pot. Easy, harmless, won't mess up your golf game, no "rules" to hash out (unless fringe is considered a putt), and it's fairly inexpensive.
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