Gambling - Does It Improve Your Game ?

Started by : Carl T |

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Carl T


Got another topic that is similar  to my last one one on gambling while playing golf. I will tell you straight up I really do not enjoy playing golf and gambling no matter how little the stakes. I do gamble occasionally just to appease a couple of golfers who can't play the game unless something is on the line because I enjoy their company on the course. I get talked into their game with their line that you become a better player when money is on the line. They say that when the pressure is on you concentrate better and try harder so you won't lose the bet. I say that playing golf in it's self creates enough pressure just to try to beat old man par. I will admit I am probably even from the times I have won vs the times that I lose but I will also say that when I lose money because I played poorly it is adding insult to injury to have to fork over hard earned dollars in addition to feeling bad because of poor play that day. I also do not get that much joy as more relief that I do not have to fork over any hard earned money when I win. Personally I have found that my concentration on playing poorly or good has absolutely nothing to do with gambling other than I get a little nervous and shaky when I'm putting to keep from losing some money. I also have found that I experience this same nervous energy when I play with strangers when there is no betting. After a couple of holes I settle into my game and what happens happen. I also think the longer I play this game and the older I get that a lot of golfers who bet only do so because they think that is the only way to stay in the circle of players that they enjoy playing with. I would say that most golfers that really love to gamble are good players who want to take advantage of their skills over less talented players to feed their egos or players who think they are good but are really just average hackers. I feel the majority of players who gamble are like me who do it to just to be social to a certain few who really would not even play golf if it were not for the gambling. One more note and I will stop my rambling. On the rare occasion I do gamble I prefer games where a set amount of money is determined to be won or lost. I hate games where at the start the bet is only a couple of dollars but then as there are the "sandies, greenies, birdies, automatic presses, etc." that can add up to a considerable amount more than "playing for a couple of bucks."

Brian D


Similar to what Cathi replied to, we play a 2 best ball of a 4some or sometimes a 5some for $15 per man.  $5 fron, back, and nassua.  Nothing too big, but to throw a twist in and count all birdies too!

Josh G


I enjoy a little action.   I love playing $1 a person per hole skins or match play.  Even if we're playing for the first round at the 19th I think it makes me play better, focus more, and take it more seriously.  As long as I'm comfortable losing the money (I don't play to lose, but you never know) I would rather play for a couple of bucks.

A lot of action can bring the worst out of everyone. If I can lose more than I'll spend at the 19th hole I think the competitiveness turns into being a jerk-ness.

Lou G


I don't really like gambling on the golf course because the point for me is to relax (and I play better that way).  

Playing dollar Nassau or front 9 for lunch is OK.  Playing Beer Nassau is almost like a $5+ bet these days.

Even 25c per stroke or per point adds up.  Considering basic points are  1 for par, 2 for birdie, 3 for eagle, 5 for albatross, 6 for hole in one.  Then we have the incentive points - holing out (birdies and eagles other than par 3s), sneakies (pars) , sandies.   Someone could score 11 points (5 for the albatross and 6 for the hole in one) for getting a hole in one on a short par 4 or 5 points for an eagle from a bunker (1 point for holing out, 1 point for the sandy and 3 points for the eagle). 

eagle3


We don't because it usually ends up with hard feelings as some of us are better than others in our group and it is hard to balance things out to everyone's satisfaction. What we will do on occasion is put two or three teams together by drawing straws and kicking in a dollar each and play best ball. Team with lowest raw score wins.

James B


I would have to say YES, it does get me into a more focused mode even if it's just for drinks after the round. Don't really gamble or bet money but, I will buy the drinks after the round if I loose the hole or round.

 

PDADoc


I don't believe in gambling for philosophical reasons.  That, plus I work too hard for my money, LOL!  Seriously though, I really don't believe in gambling myself, and not for any religious reasons, either.

As far as golf goes, some of my worst moments on a course have been behind a group of guys who were ostensibly gambling and here in the NYC area, it tends to be a cultural habit among some groups (won't name any, don't want to offend anyone).  I personally can't see how it would improve my game, I'd be thinking too much about the money.

Lou G


Lou G

I don't really like gambling on the golf course because the point for me is to relax (and I play better that way).  

Playing dollar Nassau or front 9 for lunch is OK.  Playing Beer Nassau is almost like a $5+ bet these days.

Even 25c per stroke or per point adds up.  Considering basic points are  1 for par, 2 for birdie, 3 for eagle, 5 for albatross, 6 for hole in one.  Then we have the incentive points - holing out (birdies and eagles other than par 3s), sneakies (pars) , sandies.   Someone could score 11 points (5 for the albatross and 6 for the hole in one) for getting a hole in one on a short par 4 or 5 points for an eagle from a bunker (1 point for holing out, 1 point for the sandy and 3 points for the eagle). 

Harmless bets are fine (such as the loser buying lunch at the halfway house or a round at the 19th hole and this can be a skins game also).  

Pls refresh my memory of golfspeak...... what is "bingo bango bongo?" 

Carl T


Cathi, Titleist Club Concierge

Just a thought - when we play on the weekends, we usually play 2 best balls out of the foursome against the other foursome (no strokes unless handicap is much higher) so everyone gets involved and we play just for "bragging rights" at breakfast. 

I like Cathi's method. My regular non gambling group play for the honors on the next tee box. When you are the first one to tee off for several holes it sends a message to the rest of the group they had better start playing better. When you are the last one to tee off you have some work to do. At the end of the round we head for the grill and there is no talk about the game just played other than maybe a remark on how well someone played today. No money is exchanged and scores are put into the machine for handicap purposes for when you play in organized events. Thats how I like to play.

Don O


Most of my life I ran cross country on a solitary basis.  My efforts and success were for me.  If I can't get an eagle on a par 5 and someone in the group does - I can live vicariously through them.  I can't see betting so that someone else's failure is my reward.  I like playing closest to the pin or longest drive - I can still compete on the hole on my own merits and still applaud their efforts. 

Carl T


PDADoc

I don't believe in gambling for philosophical reasons.  That, plus I work too hard for my money, LOL!  Seriously though, I really don't believe in gambling myself, and not for any religious reasons, either.

As far as golf goes, some of my worst moments on a course have been behind a group of guys who were ostensibly gambling and here in the NYC area, it tends to be a cultural habit among some groups (won't name any, don't want to offend anyone).  I personally can't see how it would improve my game, I'd be thinking too much about the money.

That is exactly how I feel. Well put. I play occasionally with a golfer who gambles when he plays with a certain group. I asked him how much was the most he has lost playing with this group and he said around $60. At our club a half a cart with tax is around $20. That would be 3 rounds of golf for me blown on a stupid gambling game. I just don't see how that could be fun. I played awful today and will blame it on the heat (107 degree heat index). I cannot imagine paying somebody anything from $1 to $60 for poor play like I did today. It would really make me actually not play golf if I had to gamble every time I played. No way would gambling make me play better today with the heat and humidity that we are experiencing now.

Lou G


PDADoc

I don't believe in gambling for philosophical reasons.  That, plus I work too hard for my money, LOL!  Seriously though, I really don't believe in gambling myself, and not for any religious reasons, either.

As far as golf goes, some of my worst moments on a course have been behind a group of guys who were ostensibly gambling and here in the NYC area, it tends to be a cultural habit among some groups (won't name any, don't want to offend anyone).  I personally can't see how it would improve my game, I'd be thinking too much about the money.

And these boneheads slow up play a bit.   They spend more time talking trash instead of playing golf.

 

Josh G


There's a couple of fun betting games where you don't have to make birdies to win.

Bingo, Bango, Bongo is a points game.  Bingo is one point and is the first one on the green.  Bango is a point and is the closest to the hole after all players are on the green.  Bongo is the first player in the hole and is also one point.  Get all three and you get 6 points.  In high school I played with a kid who got a D1 scholarship, played on the buy.com tour, and was downright better than anyone we played with.  Bingo Bango Bongo worked well.

You can also play matches in 6 hole increments and mix up the teams.  Assuming you're in carts, play lowest score with:  Drivers vs Drivers, Driver and opposite passenger, and then cart vs cart.  Unless one person is far and away better (if there is make them tee up from the champion tees and everyone else plays from the white), it usually ends up fair,

Lou G


Josh G

There's a couple of fun betting games where you don't have to make birdies to win.

Bingo, Bango, Bongo is a points game.  Bingo is one point and is the first one on the green.  Bango is a point and is the closest to the hole after all players are on the green.  Bongo is the first player in the hole and is also one point.  Get all three and you get 6 points.  In high school I played with a kid who got a D1 scholarship, played on the buy.com tour, and was downright better than anyone we played with.  Bingo Bango Bongo worked well.

You can also play matches in 6 hole increments and mix up the teams.  Assuming you're in carts, play lowest score with:  Drivers vs Drivers, Driver and opposite passenger, and then cart vs cart.  Unless one person is far and away better (if there is make them tee up from the champion tees and everyone else plays from the white), it usually ends up fair,

My stepmother (who is 78 and shoots in the mid 90s) said she used to play it. 

I also have this standing joke with one of my golf friends - we call each other "Howie" because of my experience in the caddyshack (it seemed at least one person in any given foursome at the country club was named Howard).   Ironic thing is one of my coworkers (who is actually named Howard) joined us as a walk on a few months ago.   Howard was even calling Wayne "Howie".  I told Howard at work the following week about why Wayne and I called each other that name. 

 

JPHB


I would say an unequivocal yes, it would improve one's game.  My regular group plays a season-long tournament called "The Fed-Up Cup" based on a point system.  This also includes a closest to the pin contest on one par three every round.  We played one season together without this tournament and it is clear that we all play better when we're engaged in this friendly competition.   For me personally, it makes me practice more, has caused me to make better course management decisions, and has intensified my focus on the game in general. 

We have a little money riding on it, winner takes all, but it's certainly not enough for anyone to get upset about.  Plus we are all happy for each other when someone is playing well.  I enjoy it, and if one of the guys outplays the rest of us and wins, good for him.  

 

Patrick N


I regularly play with my dad and his friend and we play $1 a hole skins with carryover im a 7 index my dad is a 22 and his friend is a 16.

My dad is the only one who gets strokes 5 of them 3 he can call on any of the front nine holes and 2 he can call on any of the back nine holes before any tees off.

I play the  back tees and they play the men's tees.

My game doesnt really change when we play this way but they seem to focus more and play closer to my level then they would without betting those 2ft putts with 4 hole carry over do become alot harder   and it always ends up being close at the end of the day for who wins the most money.

I can really tell that my dad and his best friend really enjoy playing this way   

 

PDADoc


I've played with friends who gamble, but my money stays in my pocket.  I don't interfere with their wagers, nor do I fall for their baiting tactics trying to get me to join in on the betting. I'd rather spend that money on my swing coach or buying golf balls.

I'm not looking down on anyone who chooses to do this, just as they should respect my reasons for not doing it.

memphisunited


My group likes to have a little wager every round.  The bets won't cause you to miss paying your mortgage, but it's amazing what a few bucks will do to make you focus on hitting good shots, especially short putts.  And, grinding over those 3 foot putts every weekend helps me when I'm playing in tournaments.  

Carl T


I have done the same. The other side of the coin is some of these gambling groups who seem to have nice guys and all don't want you to play with them unless you are going to gamble. I know one guy that says he would not even play golf if it was not for the gambling. I am glad that I have found enough golfers to find a game who do not care about gambling.

PDADoc


Carl T

I have done the same. The other side of the coin is some of these gambling groups who seem to have nice guys and all don't want you to play with them unless you are going to gamble. I know one guy that says he would not even play golf if it was not for the gambling. I am glad that I have found enough golfers to find a game who do not care about gambling.

Carl, it's funny you mention this, because this has happened to me on a couple of occasions.  Like I said, I don't care what they do, as I stick to my game and keep my mouth shut, but some people think there's something wrong with you if you don't want to place a little wager.  I make no judgments on them, but I seem to be on the receiving end of negative judgments from many gambling golfers I'm acquainted with, as though it was a character deficiency on my part, it's amazing.

T.Tiger


memphisunited

My group likes to have a little wager every round.  The bets won't cause you to miss paying your mortgage, but it's amazing what a few bucks will do to make you focus on hitting good shots, especially short putts.  And, grinding over those 3 foot putts every weekend helps me when I'm playing in tournaments.  

Like Scott our group has regular bets and money games.  We all usually put in $15 for skins/greenies and then have any and all side bets for the day.  It's rare to lose $20.  I feel it keeps me focused and grinding and helps me in tournaments.

TT

Carl T


For those who feel like gambling helps them focus and play better more power to you. For me gambling just does the opposite. I have found over the years that my golf scores are cyclic. In other words let's say that my average round is 88. I will shoot anywhere from the mid 70's to the mid 90's on any given day. Whether I am playing for money or not has nothing to do with my focus or concentration. Weather has more influence than anything on my scoring. When it is brutally hot my scoring is usually up and when the weather is in the mid 70's to mid 80's I play better. Wind usually hurts my score, calm usually helps my score. I play year around as do the gamblers at my club. I try to play my best no matter what and gambling does not improve a thing. It only makes me mad when I have one of those days where I shoot a higher than normal score and to add insult to injury, fork over hard earned dollars for playing badly that day is beyond my comprehension so that why I try to avoid playing for money. I like what the doc said about some gamblers think you have a character flaw if you don't gamble when playing golf. I think that if you can't play golf without gambling you have an addiction to gambling. I guess what it comes down to is that if you feel like you play better golf gambling and loosing money when you don't play as well as your opponents and forking it over and hope you can get it back next game is OK but my opponent is old man par and when I loose to him I feel good that I gave it my best and hopefully I will have tomorrow to try to beat him. When I do beat him I don't have to have some poor sap handing over dollars to me to feel good about my game that day. If I'm going to gamble I just as well would go down into the cart garage and get in a dice game with the cart boys and then when I'm done go play golf.

Carl T


Well, I played in a gambling game today because one of my regular partners who plays in a weekly Robin game volunteered me for a regular gambler player who could not play. The Robin game as most here knows Is a foursome who changes partners every 6 holes. Best ball of the teams is scored. The game consist of $3 a robin, automatic press if a team is 2 down and if a team is 1 down going into the last hole it is optional if they want to press or not. Then there is the side bets of skins at 50 cents a skin, double skin if won with a birdie with no carry overs. Got it. One more thing about this game. Double bogey and you just pick up. You lay 3 on a par 4 and your partner birdies the hole and you just pick up because you can't beat the score. If the other twosome cannot beat a 3 they just pick up and everyone moves to the next hole. Anyone see something wrong here ? Scores posted in this manner falsely lowers your true handicap allowing you to post a lower score than you might not have made if you would have holed out. Of course this is just the opposite of sandbagging but unfortunately these false lower handicaps might come back to haunt you when you are playing in a monthly members golf match where a computer picks an A, B, C and D player for each team. Your A or B player that you get on your team turns out in reality to be a C or D player. Hard to beat other teams if you get these players on your team.( I went ahead and holed out and kept my own score which was higher than the gambler scoring method.) What was weird about this whole deal was that I ended up as the big winner even though I had the third highest score out of the 4 players. I played on all 3 winning Robins and was the skin leader with 4 ! Did I take the money ? You bet but really I would have had just as good a time if there was no betting. I shot below my handicap and beat old man par with a net score which just made my day. The guy that lost the most money was mad and was not a happy camper although he did win a double skin on the last hole and kept me on the third winning team today.

Carl T


Another note on why I don't care to gamble. Today I played with the same group of gamblers as I did last week and there was some controversy that led to some hard feelings. We were playing the Robin game with automatic presses if you got two holes down and you can call for a press on the last hole if you are down. Here is the scenario. My team was up two holes on the fourth hole. My team won the fifth hole. Now we were up 3 holes on the original bet and one hole on the automatic press. The loosing team called for a third press on the last hole but we did not hear them say press. All we heard on the sixth tee box was that the score 3 -1-0. Not being savvy to gambler lingo neither I or my partner understood that they were calling a third press. They won the sixth hole and said that made us all even and no body won anything on that robin. Not being gamblers we did not understand and one of the players thought we were accusing them of cheating. This is where the game went south. A thunder storm came up and the game ended after 13 holes with no winners or loosers. I think this is a good time for me to bow out if I am ever invited again to play with this group. If we were just playing golf like I usually do instead of playing some silly game for money this would have never happened. I have seen other people get in arguments after a gambling game and now it has happened to me. Play with fire and get burned once, shame on you. Play with fire and get burned twice, shame on me.

Deno


Golf games and gambling are not my cup of tea.   I like to enjoy the concentration and tranquility on the course.   Especially all the added bets, greenies, presses and such.  I don't mind playing a round for lunch or a bar tab, but hole by hole accounting is not relaxing to me.

Carl T


I have found the best of all worlds with gambling and non gambling. While I still feel that gambling does not make me a better player I do enjoy playing with a variety of players at my club. Unfortunately it seems that the majority of players have to gamble when they play. I joined a large group who play twice a week in a $2 game. Groups divide up into foursomes and best two balls determine score for each hole. You play with 80% of your handicap. If there is a odd number of players and a team is a threesome, they get 100 % of their handicap plus 1 stroke. No presses or greenies or any other little gambling games. You either win $2 or lose $2. Teams are made up of balls thrown up in the air and the closest groups are team mates. The other days that the group does not play, I play with those players who do not gamble or just practice. This has worked out well. The players in the $2 game are all good players and I do play better when I play with players who are better than me most of the time. I still get calls from the other gambler groups but I do not play with them as their $3 game can end up costing you as much as $12 -$15 or more after they add up all of the extra little side bets like presses, sandies, greenies, etc. I have finally come to the conclusion that you can't hardly play golf without gambling which is beyond me. I guess the though of loosing $2 is no big deal (cheaper than playing for coke in today's world) but the thought of loosing $10 or more just turns me off.

Jim G


We play for the first round in the clubhouse. It makes it competitive without breaking the bank. Basically the loser buys the winner a beer and all others in between are on their own. I personally don't mind betting a little, but I don't want it to double the price of the round.

Carl T


Jim G
We play for the first round in the clubhouse. It makes it competitive without breaking the bank. Basically the loser buys the winner a beer and all others in between are on their own. I personally don't mind betting a little, but I don't want it to double the price of the round.

Have you played an impromptu round with someone and in the middle of the round where you are not writing down scores but just keeping your on score in your head, just enjoying the game and the day when your partner says, "let's play the last three holes for $5' or something to that effect. Are these type just compulsive gamblers or what ? I know a person who is a really likeable guy but he told me if it was not for gambling he would not even play golf. I just don't understand the addiction of having to go through life gambling and having to win some money from their peers. I'm not talking about playing for a drink or a couple of bucks but the more they win the better they feel. A lot of the guys I know do not stop at golf. They have regular poker games, camp out at the horse race track when in season and the meca of all trips, go to Vegus. They take pride and bask in their glory if they win several hundred or more if it is thousands. If they lose you will never hear a peep. Yet, they want to convert you over as one of their buddies hoping they have a new potential pigeon who they can take money from. If this is not the case, I wish someone could really give me the perspective and why the compulsion to gamble and if more than a couple of bucks are at stake why do they act hurt and wonder why you will not want to play with them and think you are the one with some kind of character flaw.

Tyson F


Every weekend I play Saturday and Sunday morning, with the same group of guys, about 4-10, depending on who is able to play.  We have the same wager every round.  It about takes and accountant to figure it all out, but, everyone in the group is game for it and able to compete.  We play " Hawk " which, we play for 2-3$ per hole per man, which sounds like it could end up being alot, but, each hole isn't always won.  We rotate teeing off in a certain order, first man gets to pick his partner right after the partners tee shot, except for par 3's and you pick your partner blind.  Or, you " Hawk " it, which means you against the rest.  Very Very rarely does a par win a hole, it 98% of the times takes birdie to win, and even that can be tied.  It's just a 1 best ball for each hole, and partners change each hole, unless picked by the next person hole.  Its an agressive play bet.  We have a 2 person 1 best ball if we have 2 or more groups, .50 cent carry over skins / cp's.  And most all of us have a weekly side game with another.  I have a beer bucket wager with the same person weekly, simple match play that the loser buys a bucket, ( 6 pack ) and both drink 3 each.  The up advantage is always adjusted by the outcome to keep it close.  We have 1-18 marked on tee's that we draw out before the round starts, and we call it the birdie hole.  Birdie that exact hole that day, win 5$ a man from everyone that showed up.  It also doesn't always get hit, but you can play badly, hit that one and win some cash.  The winnings and losses are pretty even normally, might win today, lose tomorrow, law of averages keeps things close.  We have a " rabbit ", most birds that day, 2$ a man, and net low 2$ a man, with two tie all tie in everything.  The group ranges from a 0 hdcp to a 10, everyone else in between.  We play back tee's, ball as it lies, as close to rules of golf as we can.  I'm not going to say it helps focus, but it certainly does not hinder it.  It does get the juices flowing when 6 ft putt for bird can win the hole and 14 carry over's, lol.  A bad $ day, would be around 30$ loss, but that's not common, but does happen.  Generally the bad beat is around 15$ and the winner winner chicken dinner is 25$.  Who then turns and buys the beverages afterwards while we talk the trash about that day.