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How to deal with a golfer who cheats – part four

cheat4“In golf, as in no other sport, your principal opponent is yourself.” – Herbert Warren Wind

By Ian Hardie

So far in this series of articles, I have talked about three of the most common types of golf cheats that are, unfortunately, found in every country around the world

Before I go any further though, I would like to make it clear that even though cheating at golf does seem to be a global issue – I’m glad to be able to say that the percentage of golfers who do actually cheat – is actually pretty small

In fact, it’s probably around 1% of the golfers around the world who do things like:

Trying to get away with putting down a lower score than they actually had – as I covered in How to deal with a golfer who cheats

Using their ‘foot-wedge’ to give them a better lie in the rough or allow themselves to have a clear shot past a tree rather than being behind it – as I covered in How to deal with a golfer who cheats – part two

Never losing a golf ball despite hitting it in plenty of places that they could by always having one or two extra golf balls in their pocket while they play which allows them to always ‘find’ their golf ball – as I covered in How to deal with a golfer who cheats – part three

Now, while each of those different ways of cheating are as equally as frustrating to the golfers that become aware of them happening on the golf course – they are all able to be dealt with and to a certain degree – ‘stamped out’ by firstly observing the cheat’s golf game more closely so that they can be seen doing those things, then most importantly

Having the courage to actually ‘call the cheat out’ which will make them and the other golfers you are with aware of what’s going on or if it’s really bad possibly even an official of some sort at the golf course you are playing at can deal with it after the game

As I said earlier though, I estimate that possibly only 1% of golfers around the world do such things – so in reality, depending on who you play golf with

You may never have cause to do anything like that on the golf course

The type of cheater I want to take a look at today though, is a lot more common and to be honest, I have no idea how you can catch them or even deal with them in any way

This is because their ‘cheating’ could only be found out by figuring out exactly what it is that is going on inside their brain while they are playing each game – something that is way beyond most of us

I am of course referring to those golfers who artificially ‘manage’ their golf handicaps over non-competition rounds who then suddenly ‘have a really good day’ when it comes time to play in a tournament or when their side bet gets sufficiently enticing for them to show their true skill at the game

Known in most parts of the world as a ‘sandbagger’ these golfers are actually cheating by holding out to be worse golfers than they really are for the bulk of the time

I’m guessing that you possibly know or at least suspect one or two of them yourself

However, as I said earlier – it’s almost impossible to catch these golfers or confront them about your suspicions – due to the fact that there is no way to ascertain whether they are purposely throwing shots in their ‘poor rounds’

It may well be that they don’t focus that much while playing a round that doesn’t count for anything and then have the ability to get into a much better state which enables them to really focus while playing an important round

That is a possible explanation but at the same time it’s also highly unlikely

As the simple truth is that most golfers around the world will tend to have a higher score in an important event or tournament due to factors like the course being made harder, the effect of nerves on the golfer before, during and at the end of the round, playing with other golfers they don’t know as opposed to their friends……………………….

I could go on to make a fairly long list there but as you have probably found from personal experience

The reality is, that most golfers play worse when things get tougher – not better

Of course, there are exceptions to that but when you consider that most ‘sandbaggers’ will tend to have handicaps higher than single figures – it starts to become even less plausible

Especially, if they do one of the most common ‘sandbagger’ tricks which is to not put their scorecards in for handicap purposes each time they play a game of golf – they will no doubt give you some lame excuse as to why they aren’t doing that – if you ask them

Fear not though, as that sort of pattern of missing scorecards is one of the things that the various governing bodies of the game of golf use to trigger the limited mechanisms that are in their handicapping systems that are designed to catch these ‘sandbaggers’

However, as we can never really know just exactly what is going on in the brains of these golfers – those mechanisms remain only marginally effective and never really catch the hard core ‘sandbaggers’

Which is why I pointed out earlier that I really have no idea how we can deal with this worldwide problem – a problem which I would suggest

Sees more golfers ‘sandbagging’ than cheating in ways that are easily caught

Now, you might be thinking “So what, it doesn’t affect me if other golfer’s do that” and you’d be right that most of the time it probably doesn’t but let’s just imagine a scenario when it might………………………

As an honest golfer, you try your best on every shot, every hole and every round you play – regardless of the weather, the importance of the round or the day of the week – making sure that you put every scorecard in and that as a result

Your handicap index really does truly reflect your current level of skill at the game

Then one day you enter a competition and have ‘one of those days’ where you can do nothing wrong – nearly every shot you hit goes well, you get a good break on those that don’t, you chip everything close and can’t miss with your putter

You finish your round, ecstatic that you have had your best round ever – everyone that you know is congratulating you as they all know that you have had the round of your life – being aware of your usual level of play

As the time for the presentation of prizes draws near, you feel sure that you are finally going to actually win something for the first time

The speeches start

The results of your part of the competition are about to be announced

You start getting ready to stand up to claim that prize you feel sure you are going get as that was the game of golf you have ever played

Then suddenly, some other golfers name is called out instead of yours

A golfer who everyone else suspects of being a ‘sandbagger’ but no one can catch has beaten you by a single shot

Now tell me, if that really did happen to you…………………….

Would you still have the opinion that ‘sandbaggers’ don’t affect you at all?

I’m going to leave it there for now but as I pointed out earlier – I have no idea how you can successfully catch or even deal with ‘sandbaggers’ in any way – so if you have some good advice that you can share about this problem

I’d like you to share it by either commenting below, on Facebook or emailing me with your solution or story – that way I can possibly suggest a solution or two for this problem in ‘How to deal with a golfer who cheats – part five’

Please make sure that you don’t use any real names, dates, places or events though – as I don’t want to cause any problems – just a summary of what went on is all I’m looking for!

Until then

Play well


Related Posts

How to deal with a golfer who cheats

How to deal with a golfer who cheats – part two

How to deal with a golfer who cheats – part three

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