The Bye Golf Bet Explained

Imagine you are playing a match with money on the line. But it hasn't been your day, and your opponent beats you, 6 and 5. The match is over, yet there are five holes on the golf course you haven't yet played. Do you just walk in to the clubhouse? Wouldn't you rather go ahead and play those remaining holes — and with a chance to win back at least part of the betting amount you just lost to the opponent who beat you 6 and 5?

That is the Bye bet: It's a bet between two golfers or two sides whose primary match was over with holes still remaining on the golf course. The Bye bet covers those remaining holes only, and gives the losing side from the initial match at least a shot at earning back a little that they just lost.

The "rules" of the Bye bet are entirely up to the golfers involved. If you have a regular group you play with, perhaps you'll also have agreed-upon rules for the Bye — you might even make it automatic (an automatic Bye bet is also called a Closeout). If it is automatic, the Bye kicks in as soon as the primary match ends, and, typically (but it's up to you), is worth half the original bet.

But you can negotiate an amount each time, based on how many holes are left — higher amounts with more holes, lower amounts with fewer holes. Some golfers play out the left-over holes of a match with nothing more on the line than who buys drinks in the clubhouse, and that is a perfectly acceptable Bye bet. (And that version is often called the Buy bet.)

And, obviously, if you are the loser you might not want to put more money on the line! Maybe you are playing lousy, or up against a clearly superior player, and don't want to risk losing even more. Unless you've already agreed before the match to play a Bye if the match doesn't reach the 18th, or unless your group uses automatic Byes, you don't have to initiate a Bye bet.

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