The Bridgee (or Bridges) Bet in Golf

Bridge at Forest Creek Golf Course in Round Rock Texas

Have you ever caught a lucky break when your golf ball appeared headed for the water but instead bounced over a bridge, or ricocheted off a bridge and onto dry land? If you were playing the golf side bet called Bridgee or Bridges, you'd then have a chance to win some money.

(Note: Don't confuse the Bridgee/Bridges side bet with the very different format known as Bridge.)

There's a story about legendary Canadian shotmaker Moe Norman playing an exhibition with Sam Snead in the 1960s. On a par-4 hole, a creek cut across the fairway at about 240 yards. When Snead saw Norman pull driver, the Slammer cautioned him: "This is a layup hole, Moe, you can't carry that creek." "Not trying to," Norman replied, "I'm playing for the bridge."

And Norman then proceeded to land his drive short of the creek, his ball rolling onto and across a bridge that spanned the creek.

If you or I hit a golf course bridge, it is almost always by accident, and more often than not (or so it seems) the bounces are bad. But Bridgee rewards a golfer who bounces a ball off of or rolls a ball across a bridge — accidentally or otherwise — and then still makes par or better.

If you set the value of the Bridgee bet at $1, then your golf ball hits a bridge and you still make par on the hole, you win that amount from each of the other golfers who are playing. If you hit a bridge and make birdie, you win double. And if your ball comes to rest on a bridge, you play a shot off the bridge, and then make birdie, you win triple.

Now, you might be wondering something: How often does the Bridges bet even come into play? Probably not very often! Most rounds played with the Bridges side game in effect will result in no payouts. It's just one of those little side bets that you can add to lots of other similar games (such as Greenies, Appearances, Nicklauses, Hogans, Woodies, Splashies and many more) to create a side-game filled round with your buddies.

Some groups stipulate that only bridges that actually cross a body of watch count for Bridgee. We think that's silly, since this is a game in which payouts are rare to start with. Apply to any bridge anywhere on the golf course: over water or not, over ravines or barrancas, over little ditches, big gulleys or giant gulches; even to bridges that are there only as decoration pieces.

If the golf courses you are playing have no bridges, then, obviously, there's no point in talking with your buddies about Bridgee. If you regularly play a course or courses where bridges are common, then Bridgee might actually pay out from time to time. And sometimes, every once in a while, you even be able to intentionally roll your ball across or bounce a short shot off of a bridge in attempt to win a Bridgee.

Photo credit: "Forest Creek Golf Course" by cityofroundrock is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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