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May the best man win...

Reddit golfer shares fascinating, high-stakes handicap bet that you might want to try with your golf pals

February 02, 2024

Ted Levine

The beauty of golf's handicap system is that a pair of golfers can play a competitive match no matter how different their handicaps are. Although, as we saw on Thursday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, that never stops people from complaining about how many strokes they're getting or giving. Even living legends like Tom Brady.

But the matchup we're intrigued by today doesn't involve any strokes. And it should be a fascinating experiment between two golf buddies.

Thanks to Reddit user u/HenryRoengardner for posting (and to our pals at ForePlay for finding) the following high-stakes, longterm bet he made with his friend, emphasis on LONG.

OK, so here are the highlights. Both guys are 36, but one is a 3-handicap, while the other is a 16. The 16 has only been playing for a couple years and he is described as having a "vanity" handicap. Ouch. But he has 30 years to beat the (much) better friend straight up for one round of golf. And there is $5,000 on the line between the two.

Again, fascinating stuff. It's tough to handicap this, um, handicap bet. I mean, the guy has three DECADES to beat his buddy one time. They will be Bernhard Langer's age by the time this bet is over! We don't know how often they play together, but we're assuming its fairly regularly. And he just has to have everything to line up for him once in the next 30 years.

That being said, as someone who has fluctuated around a 4-to-7 handicap and who plays often with a guy who is a 11-14 for the past 15 years, I will say this. In the hundreds of rounds we've played, he's never beaten me straight up. Not once. Although there was one time where I had to chip in on the final hole to nip him by one. Phew, that was close.

Point is, as all golfers know, there is a HUGE gap between a 3 and a 16. But again, the guy has 30 years to get better. And as someone who also went through a golf "transformation" at 40, I know how hard it is to shave strokes off your handicap once you're past your mid-thirties. So again, what a fascinating bet. And possibly a fun one to try, especially if it motivates you or your friends to get better.

Also, it's not like you have to wager that much on it. Although, I'm not an expert at math or inflation, but in 30 years, that $5K won't be nearly as big of a hit to the wallet for whomever loses. In any event, may the best man win!