Pencil-Whipped: Explaining the Golf Lingo

What does it mean when one golfer says another got "pencil-whipped"? It means the golfer being talked about just lost a bet on the golf course, and lost it because he or she did a lousy job of negotiating the terms of the bet.

A golfer who has been pencil-whipped has been outsmarted when the terms of the bet were laid out, and/or outnegotiated when the golfers involved in the bet were haggling over the details.

Let's take a basic example: negotiating handicap strokes. Golfer A and Golfer B are behind the first tee, waiting on their tee time, and start discussing a wager for their coming match. Golfer A asks B for three strokes per side, B only offers A two strokes per side. B knows how good A is, and knows that two strokes per side is very fair for their relative skill levels. But as they negotiate, A wears down B, and B eventually agrees to give A three strokes per side. Golfer B just got pencil-whipped.

Another example. Two golfers are hashing out the particulars of a Garbage game (also called Junk or Trash: those catch-all games that combine many different side bets). Hector knows that he's a bit wild off the tee but terrific at recovery shots, and also knows that Mary is a very straight driver but weak out of the rough. So Hector convinces Mary to include Arnies, barkies and scuffies in the Garbage game. Mary just got pencil-whipped.

Of course the phrase originates from the little golf pencils that are ubiquitous at golf courses everywhere.

Photo credit: "Golf Pencils" by bradleypjohnson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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