The 'Foot Wedges' Golf Game (Portuguese Caddie)

There is a class of side game in golf in which golfers are given permission to relocate their golf ball a certain number of times per round. The game that goes by the name Foot Wedges is one of those games. And as you might guess, in Foot Wedges golfers are allowed to kick their ball out of trouble a few times per round.

"Foot wedge" is a slang term in golf that refers to the act of kicking, or nudging with one's foot, the golf ball when others in your group aren't watching. Normally, foot wedges are bad things. But in the Foot Wedges game, they are allowed — they are, in fact, the whole point of the game.

The Foot Wedges game begins with the golfers in your group agreeing on how many times each golfer gets to use their foot wedge. Let's say your group agrees on five times each.

And let's further say that on the very first hole, your drive winds up two feet into the left rough, just off the fairway. Do you want to use your foot wedge here to get the ball into the fairway? In this game, you can do so without the need to hide it from anyone. Kick that ball back into the fairway if you want — now, given that your group gave five foot wedges to each golfer, you have four left for the rest of the round.

In the Foot Wedges game, your foot wedges should only be used to get out of trouble. Most groups stipulate that you cannot, for example, simply kick the ball up the fairway as hard as you want. Nor can you ever attempt to kick your ball into the hole. Most groups agree that the foot wedges cannot be employed on the tees, fairways and greens. But if you are in the rough, or in a bunker, or behind a tree, or in water, you can break out that foot wedge and try to kick the ball into a better spot.

In groups where the golfers are all roughly the same skill level, it is common for all golfers to get the same number of foot wedges to use. If your group includes golfers of widely varying skill levels, you can negotiate different numbers of foot wedges for different players (the lower-handicap players getting fewer, the higher-handicap player getting more).

A common alternate name for this format is Portuguese Caddie.

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