Golf is just like any other sport or recreational activity; eventually, you’ll end up playing with someone who cheats. There are several reasons why someone may cheat at golf, and they get downright devious in their cheating methods.
Unfortunately, someone cheating at golf doesn’t just ruin a great game for themselves; they’re ruining it for the people they’re playing with as well. By cheating, you’re taking away the opportunity you have to improve your golf game by learning from your mistakes.
If you choose to cheat at golf and you’re caught doing it, your reputation is going to suffer. After all, no one wants to play with a cheater, and you can quickly find yourself without any golf partners. If you’re a member of a Golf Club, you may even have your membership revoked if you’re caught cheating.
Common Cheaters You Can Find on the Golf Course
There is an old golf saying, “Beware any golfer who has an eraser on his pencil,” and this rings true. The Eraser will take his or her scorecard and literally erase a stoke here and a stroke there to give themselves a better score.
Chances are, you’ve played with an Eraser. They’ll hit into the rough and take three or four shots to get out of a bunker, and when you ask them what they got, they’ll tell you they got a bogey.
If you intentionally play worse than you are to inflate your score and increase your handicap index, you’re a Sandbagger. This common cheat can be invaluable in golf tournaments because someone with a higher handicap index will get more strokes to play each hole without being penalized.
This usually doesn’t apply to recreational golf games with friends, but if you do have a handicap to play you have to report accurate and honest scores, or you’re cheating.
If you’ve ever bumped or unfairly moved your golf ball to a more desirable position, you’re cheating, and this is known as being a Bumper. You can use your hand, foot, or golf club to adjust your ball slightly to give yourself a better advantage.
For example, say you hit the ball, and it ends up just behind a tree. You go to retrieve your ball and give it a small bump to get it out from behind the tree and give yourself a clear shot.
You’ll typically see a Ball Dropper wandering around between shots looking for their lost golf ball. When they’re sure no one is looking, they’ll drop one of their hidden golf balls in the general vicinity of their lost golf ball and claimed they found the original ball. This ball tends to miraculously fall into a better location than the original ball was in.
While many Ball Droppers just store extra in their pockets, more devious ones cut holes in the inside of their pockets and let the ball slide down the inside of their pants leg and out to be ‘found.’
This cheat has been around for years, and it’s a little more difficult to spot than some of the cheats we’ve mentioned. A Greaser will put grease on the front of their golf club’s face. In theory, this tactic is supposed to reduce your golf ball’s spin and make you take less wayward shots. In turn, this can increase how well you play throughout the golf game.
The Non-Conformer will attempt to purchase and play with clubs that are illegal. Most Clubs and courses have regulations for how large your golf club faces can be and trying to play with a larger club or one that is outside of the normal standards is cheating. This practice can give you an unfair advantage while you play.
Why Do People Cheat at Golf?
Maybe they have talked for ages how great they are at golf, and they’ve built up this reputation. Now, if they’re not that great at golf, they’ll have to protect this reputation. Cheating is one easy way to ensure their reputation stays intact and pristine while they play.
Improve the Handicap
While this doesn’t necessarily apply to friendly rounds of golf, in tournaments their handicap can be critical to how well they play because they have more strokes allowed per hole. By cheating, they can play worse than they actually are and inflate their handicap index. In turn, this increases their chances of doing better in a golf tournament. It’s a long con.
Some golfers who find themselves routinely cheating may have a hard time admitting they’re simply not as good at golf as they believe they are. So they cheat to improve their scores and make themselves believe that they’re as good as they say they are. Cheating provides an easy way to accomplish this goal by taking a few strokes off each hole or game they play.
No matter how you want to try and justify it, cheating is cheating. While you may be able to get away with more in friendly rounds of golf, tournaments are very strict, and they won’t hesitate to disqualify you if you’re caught. You want to save your reputation and have fun while you’re playing, and you can do this by playing your rounds of golf honestly and fairly.