Explaining the 'Air Press' in Golf

The "air press" is a wager between golfers in a group that can be automatically invoked by a golfer who has not yet played his or her tee shot — and can only be invoked while another golfer's shot is still in the air.

Air presses, therefore, are essentially one-hole bets between individuals within a group, and, again, must be called while a golf ball is still in the air.

Let's say on the first tee, Golfer A steps up and hits a drive and, uh-oh, it looks like that drive is heading into the rough. So Golfer B yells out, "Air press!" before A's ball lands. That initiates the bet. What B is betting is that he can beat A on that hole.

Now B steps to the tee. Golfer A has the option, while B's ball is in the air, to double the bet — called "re-pressing" or "pressing back." But Golfer A must call that air press while B's ball is still in the air.

Air presses can only be called by a player who has not yet hit on a hole (thereby ensuring that the opponent has the option to double the bet).

Whether there is any re-pressing or not, once an air press is in place, the golfers involved are playing for money. (You agreed on how much money each air press is worth before the round started, right?)

If Golfer B (from the example above) does go on to score better on the hole than Golfer A, B wins the bet. But A wins the bet if she or she beats B on the hole.

What happens if the golfers tie? Many groups prefer to cancel the bet in that case. But some groups like to play air presses this way: If the golfer who called the air press doesn't win the hole, then that golfer loses money. They lose the full amount of the bet if they lose the hole, or half the amount of the bet if the hole is halved. This stipulation, if you choose to use it, can keep the number of air presses called during a round from getting out of hand.

Then again, if you set the bet amount low, you can yell out as many air presses as you and your buddies like and not have to worry about the total amounts of money involved becoming too large.

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