What to do when a betting game goes bad.

It is often said that matches are decided on the first tee, before the opening shots are struck. We’ve all been part of such lopsided affairs, when it quickly becomes clear that one side simply doesn’t stand a chance. In poker, that’s what’s known as “drawing dead.” No one wants to draw dead on the course.

As a precaution, when playing matches against people outside his usual group, have some outs agreed to.

  • Opt-out clause. At any time during the round, after the completion of a hole, the white flag can be waved, ending the match with current money owed.
  • Recalibrate the game rules.
  • Change partners – balance the handicaps.
  • Start a new game more suited to the balance of skill.

For example, if you have a mix of low handicappers and high handicappers you don’t want to play a skills game.  Games awarding points for birdies, sandies, KPs, etc will not be equitable.   Same with a game like Animals, where you owe points for bad performance.

One game I like to play when there are a variety of handicaps in the group is Sixes.  It’s a team match play game using full handicaps and changing partners every 6 holes.  Perfect balance and fairness.