Betting on Golf

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  • Betting on Golf

    For my screenplay set in the 1920s, I have a short scene on a golf course during an informal game among friends--or, more accurately, supposed friends. I want to get across to the audience in this and a progression of similar scenes that the others are taking advantage of the protagonist's trust and good nature.

    Thus I was thinking of having one of the bad guys (or perhaps two working in tandem) propose such a convoluted wager on the outcome of play on the next hole that the protagonist would lose the bet no matter the outcome. Sort of a "Heads I win, tails you lose" scenario translated into golf terms.

    While my real-life historical protagonist played and bet on a lot of golf in his spare time and I feel obligated to include at least this one brief scene, I do not know enough about the ins and outs of the game, much less betting on it, to feel comfortable coming up with an elaborate wager on my own. (Also, unsure how much golf lingo has changed since the 1920s.)

    If anyone here can come up with something I can use, even just a betting scenario, not the actual dialogue, I would be happy to see that that individual receives a "Special Thanks" credit should my script ever see the light of day as a movie. The entire two-page scene has been blocked out and filled in save for the proposed wager. I would rather not post the pages here, in order to protect my overall story idea, but I can message them to anyone willing to help.
    HOLLY
    What do you do, anyway?

    PAUL
    I'm a writer, I guess.

    HOLLY
    You guess? Don't you know?

    PAUL
    OK, positive statement. Ringing affirmative. I'm a writer.

  • #2
    Re: Betting on Golf

    Bets over a water hazard (hitting it over a lake/pond vs laying up and taking an extra stroke), hitting a putt, etc. As for a no win situation the only thing I can think of is a bet that he can't hit it over a water hazard vs. taking an extra shot and going around. Either way the person playing adds a stroke or two to their total, which is bad for their score.

    Good luck.
    You know Jill you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

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    • #3
      Re: Betting on Golf

      i can't think of an unloseable golf bet proposition off the top of my head. the way most casual players bet in their regular foursomes is to divide into teams of two players. then each team can win all, some, or none of: (1) each of the 18 holes; (2) the front and back 9s; and (3) the overall match, aka a "Nassau" game

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassau_(bet)

      as the article mentions, things usually get most interesting toward the 9th and 18th holes, when the side(s) and/or the match can be up for grabs. if you're down against the side, or the match, you can "press" to try and go double or nothing on a hole to get back to even.

      and if you're playing with handicaps, each golfer may be entitled to strokes on a given hole (depending on their handicap) that further evens out the relative skill levels

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      • #4
        Re: Betting on Golf

        Golf lingo has changed somewhat as well as things about the game since the 1920s. For instance, no one used tees in the 1920s, that is to tee the ball up to drive it. They would have extra dirt on a tee box and you would make a little tee mound for yourself. Clubs had lots of different names, "mashies and niblicks." You might also have something called a track iron, which was an iron that could hit out of the track made my horse and track drawn mowers. Not the kind of mowers we have today. Not sure how much any of this matters for the story, but what you see today about golf is much different.

        As for the wager, that is a tough one. If the character is trusting and naive that is one thing, but I don't think, if he knew anything about golf and was confident about wagering on it, he would go for a convoluted scenario that would be impossible to win.

        There's that old golf situation when macho guys are playing with each other that if you fail to hit it past the women's tees you have to play the rest of the hole with your you know what hanging out of your pants (though I have never seen anyone held to it). So maybe they could hold him to that kind of thing. They could say, looking at each other in knowing fashion, "at this club that rule is strictly enforced."
        Quato Lives!

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        • #5
          Re: Betting on Golf

          Originally posted by EddieCoyle View Post
          Golf lingo has changed somewhat as well as things about the game since the 1920s. For instance, no one used tees in the 1920s, that is to tee the ball up to drive it. They would have extra dirt on a tee box and you would make a little tee mound for yourself.
          I take it that they would still say they "teed off" (the verb) at the start of each hole, especially if they made and used a tee mound in a tee box instead of a (not yet existent) tee.

          Thank you for your help.
          HOLLY
          What do you do, anyway?

          PAUL
          I'm a writer, I guess.

          HOLLY
          You guess? Don't you know?

          PAUL
          OK, positive statement. Ringing affirmative. I'm a writer.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Betting on Golf

            Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
            i can't think of an unloseable golf bet proposition off the top of my head. the way most casual players bet in their regular foursomes is to divide into teams of two players. then each team can win all, some, or none of: (1) each of the 18 holes; (2) the front and back 9s; and (3) the overall match, aka a "Nassau" game

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassau_(bet)

            as the article mentions, things usually get most interesting toward the 9th and 18th holes, when the side(s) and/or the match can be up for grabs. if you're down against the side, or the match, you can "press" to try and go double or nothing on a hole to get back to even.

            and if you're playing with handicaps, each golfer may be entitled to strokes on a given hole (depending on their handicap) that further evens out the relative skill levels
            According to my primary source, my protagonist did like to wager with his friends using the Nassau system. But they also liked to make all sorts of side bets over the course of the eighteen holes, such that it became almost impossible for his bodyguard, who was keeping track of his boss's wagers with various parties, to sort things out in the end. It would get to the point where "sometimes he was betting against himself." I had taken that last bit to mean that, in the confusion of all the bets placed, his opponent bet that the protagonist would win some proposition, and the latter took the opposite side, that he himself would lose. In which case, all the opponent would have to do is deliberately lose whatever the proposition was in order to win on the bet. I was thinking that if the terms of the proposition were confusing enough, my protagonist might not realize which side of the bet he should be on.

            My protagonist was not the brightest bulb, though not completely stupid either. More like too trusting and good-natured for his line of work.

            I may need to rethink this scene a bit, to see if it can be made to work. If any other ideas come to you, feel free to leave them here. Thank you for your help on this.

            SHOULD ADD TO ABOVE: The protagonist would never consider deliberately throwing a game to collect on a bet even if he belatedly recognized the situation being stacked against him playing it straight. He plays everything in life straight and naively assumes his "friends" do too.
            Last edited by Paul Varjak; 12-30-2016, 07:51 PM.
            HOLLY
            What do you do, anyway?

            PAUL
            I'm a writer, I guess.

            HOLLY
            You guess? Don't you know?

            PAUL
            OK, positive statement. Ringing affirmative. I'm a writer.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Betting on Golf

              Originally posted by EddieCoyle View Post
              There's that old golf situation when macho guys are playing with each other that if you fail to hit it past the women's tees you have to play the rest of the hole with your you know what hanging out of your pants (though I have never seen anyone held to it). So maybe they could hold him to that kind of thing. They could say, looking at each other in knowing fashion, "at this club that rule is strictly enforced."
              Pardon the pun, but I think we will try to avoid going for a Hard "R" rating for this project.
              HOLLY
              What do you do, anyway?

              PAUL
              I'm a writer, I guess.

              HOLLY
              You guess? Don't you know?

              PAUL
              OK, positive statement. Ringing affirmative. I'm a writer.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Betting on Golf

                I'm not sure if the mound of dirt was called a tee or not. That I doubt would raise any cries of inaccuracy, nor would anyone notice if they used a wooden or plastic tee as we do today. But golf in the 1920s was a lot different. Just depends on how important it is for you to get it very accurate, or just enough to maintain believability. If they are wearing knickers that's probably enough.

                As for the rating, I completely understand. I still would find it hard for a character who has some experience with the game to be fooled into a bet he knows he cannot win. There was that great scene in TIN CUP where the Don Johnson character says whoever hits the 7-iron farthest wins. Kevin Costner eagerly accepts it and scorches one on the range almost 200 yards. DJ smiles turns around to face the other way and aims his shot at the paved road to the clubhouse. The ball then rolls half a mile down the pavement after his shot. So he cleverly won the bet using the character's weakness (pride) against him. That was a nice little sequence if you have not seen it.
                Quato Lives!

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                • #9
                  Re: Betting on Golf

                  p.s. a lot of side bets in golf today are things like "sandies" (if you hit into a sand trap next to the green and then go up and down from there you get extra $) "greenies" (hitting the green on a par three and being closest to the pin) and then there are all sorts of little variations of things like these. Sometimes, depending upon whom you are playing with and for how much, scoring a sandy on a par three is more valuable than a birdie. So maybe you could use something like that. Quickly found this link with a lot of formats and bets at the bottom: http://www.insidegolf.com.au/19thhol...s-and-formats/
                  Quato Lives!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Betting on Golf

                    Originally posted by EddieCoyle View Post
                    I'm not sure if the mound of dirt was called a tee or not. That I doubt would raise any cries of inaccuracy, nor would anyone notice if they used a wooden or plastic tee as we do today. But golf in the 1920s was a lot different. Just depends on how important it is for you to get it very accurate, or just enough to maintain believability. If they are wearing knickers that's probably enough.

                    As for the rating, I completely understand. I still would find it hard for a character who has some experience with the game to be fooled into a bet he knows he cannot win. There was that great scene in TIN CUP where the Don Johnson character says whoever hits the 7-iron farthest wins. Kevin Costner eagerly accepts it and scorches one on the range almost 200 yards. DJ smiles turns around to face the other way and aims his shot at the paved road to the clubhouse. The ball then rolls half a mile down the pavement after his shot. So he cleverly won the bet using the character's weakness (pride) against him. That was a nice little sequence if you have not seen it.
                    I'm grateful that you told me that golfers back then teed off from mini dirt/sand piles they built themselves. I had seen mention of a tee box in photo captions of golfing in the twenties. Initially, I took this to mean that the course provided complimentary wooden tees, not sand. This sort of period detail will help build interest in my script--similar enough to the present day to be mostly recognizable, yet somewhat different.

                    Now, on to the hard part of concocting a convoluted enough wager on golf to confuse the protagonist into (almost) betting against himself. I will consult the links that you and the others provided, along with what I have found. It may take me a while, but when I do come up with something, I may post it here to see if it passes the plausibility test.

                    BTW, your movie-inspired handle is a good one. Mitch got robbed of at least an Oscar nomination, if not a win, for that one!
                    HOLLY
                    What do you do, anyway?

                    PAUL
                    I'm a writer, I guess.

                    HOLLY
                    You guess? Don't you know?

                    PAUL
                    OK, positive statement. Ringing affirmative. I'm a writer.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Betting on Golf

                      Would enjoy reading a golf scene if ever you want to share. As I said, you only need capture the spirit of golf in the 1920s, not every detail. But it would be fun to see someone making a tee of dirt in the scene and surely would make it unique.

                      I once played with a guy who said he and his friends had all sorts of mini bets on every hole. Sandies, greenies, and a few other things. He rattled off everything that could happen, and it was definitely confusing. Someone with a bogey could well beat another player who straight parred or birdied because they met one of the side bets.

                      The Friends of EC great movie and novel. Too often lost in the glut of other Boston material with higher profiles.
                      Quato Lives!

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