What are ‘gamblers’ rules’ in golf? 1 pro gambler explains the craziness

Sure, you’ve probably heard of alternate shot, scrambles and shambles, but there’s a good chance you and your buddies have yet to play a round using “gambler’s rules.”

If you’re not even sure what that is, we have an expert here to help. Ben Lamb, a professional gambler and avid golfer, was the guest on this week’s Subpar Podcast, and he discussed playing big-money games, his pro-am round with Tiger Woods and more. He also explained “gambler’s rules.”

“Basically, you don’t move the ball,” he said. “If your ball is on the cart path, it’s not a free drop. You play it from there. If it’s in the crack of a cart path, you move it to another part of the cart path.”

Lamb said the only exception is if a ball would be by, say, the root of a tree. That can be moved a few inches to prevent a potential injury. He said not every big-money match uses these rules, and he only plays this way with one of his regular golf buddies.

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“The rules exist so there’s no arguments,” he said. “It’s very easy — you can’t move your ball. And if you want, you can beg me to move your ball, and I can move it from the crack [of a cart path] to the other part of the cart path, but I have to move your ball.”

Lamb also broke down what “greasing” means in the world of golf gambling.

“So what’s commonly referred to as grease is basically just like Vaseline or chapstick, and if you put it on the face of your driver or really any club, I mean, it will go straight, high, long,” he said. “If you hit a 30-yard cut or slice, it will be like a five-yard cut now and it will go high and tower, go straight, it rolls out.”

Lamb said he only started using this because all of the gambling buddies he played with did as well. (A lot of these games also included players using up to 22 clubs. Lamb said he had a whole second bag on his cart filled with only wedges.)

“I was like, we are gambling for this much money and [greasing] helps you,” he said. “It definitely makes golf way easier. I’m like, I’m going to use it too. But then you don’t learn how to actually play golf. Every drive you are trying to hit was like a 30-yard slice and it goes straight-ish. You can swing out of your shoes and it doesn’t matter, it’s going to go straight.”

Lamb, however, is out of the greasing game. He said he’s been “cured” of it for about 10 years. One reason why is because he started playing more with others who weren’t doing it (like Subpar co-host Colt Knost). Suddenly he was the abnormal one.

“I was a 7 or 8 [handicap] with the grease,” Lamb said. “If I lose the grease, I’m a 9 or 10.”

“I think I made you a better person because of this,” Knost said.

“I’ve gotten much better at golf obviously in the last 10 years, and I don’t think I would have gotten better with this stuff,” Lamb said. “It’s just a crutch. You really don’t learn much about the golf swing.”

You can listen to Lamb’s full Subpar episode below.

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