Explaining the Bisque Stroke in Golf

A "Bisque Stroke" is an extra handicap stroke given by one golfer to another as an enticement into a match or bet. The Bisque Stroke is in addition to the receiving golfer's full allotment of handicap strokes.

Let's say Player A is a 3-handicap and Player B is a 10-handicap. If they play each other, Player B will get seven strokes.

But maybe Player B thinks that's not enough strokes to go up against Player A. So Player A says, "Tell you what, Player B, I'll give you a Bisque Stroke. You can have one more handicap stroke, and you can use it on any hole on the course."

Player B's allotment of 7 handicap strokes must be allocated in the normal way (based on the handicap ranking of the holes on the course). But the additional Bisque Stroke can be used on any hole.

However, there is a bit of a catch in using a Bisque Stroke: The hole on which the Bisque Stroke will be used must be determined before the match begins.

So, in our example, if Player B accepts the Bisque Stroke and the challenge of playing Player A, he must tell Player A before the match begins, "I'll use the extra stroke on Hole X."

How did the word "bisque" acquire this golf meaning? One of the dictionary definitions of "bisque" is "an extra turn, point, or stroke allowed to a weaker player in croquet or court tennis." It's of French origin, and this usage dates back centuries. Golfers simply adapted it to our own game.

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