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Why Cheat? Campaign To Do The Total Opposite To Improve Your Handicap


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I do not see the point in cheating.  You can get caught, and improving your score through dishonest means will give you a false indication of how good you really are.  Yes, it makes you feel good to tell others that you shot 75, but the adage that "seeing is believing" is paramount to anything you purport, so let your clubs do the talking.  I submit that golfers should do the opposite of cheating: reverse cheating.  By this I mean playing every shot as it lies, dropping the ball properly, playing provisional balls, never taking a mulligan, applying the unplayable-lie options by the book, adhering to all penalties strictly by the Rules, and calling penalties on yourself as often as possible.  Yes, this practice will result in higher scores, but if you think about it, it will be to your benefit by indicating a more reliable handicap which you can use against future opponents.

 

This requires a change in attitude toward score.  Forsake your ego to brag about your low handicap and embrace every opportunity to make your score higher.  If your ball is in a divot hole, don't roll it out--play it!  If your ball is under a tree branch don't do what Judge Smails would do; resist the temptation to cheat and play for bogey.  That bogey would be far more valuable than a par you cheated for.  The thought in your mind should not be, If I cheat I will improve my score, but Hooray! An opportunity to raise my handicap!

 

In no uncertain terms do I advocate sandbagging.  Sandbagging means deliberately posting falsely overstated scores (e.g., posting an 82 when you actually shot 77).  If you go out of bounds and subsequently made par, you made a double on that hole, not a mulligan par.  Especially when it comes to actual play you should adhere strictly to the Rules.  Shady is applying non-playing penalties (e.g., advice rule for two strokes, fifteen clubs for a maximum of four strokes during a round, etc.), and if the golfer is deliberately committing those penalties to improve his handicap, that should be deemed sandbagging.  I am talking about applying every possible penalty that is related to a stroke on the ball--apply them, and every one of them.

 

Give it a try, guys.  So what if your handicap changes from 6 to 13--you were never a 6 to begin with.  It might hurt your ego, but it will help you when you get more strokes.  You may be accused of being a sandbagger, but it is far better to be accused of being a sandbagger than a cheater or a vanity cap.

Edited by EmperorPenguin
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I do not see the point in cheating.  You can get caught, and improving your score through dishonest means will give you a false indication of how good you really are.  Yes, it makes you feel good to t

You don't think that subject is (1) well discussed in at least two threads not even halfway down the front page, and (2) covered constantly?  What's new here?   And if folks choose to roll t

I disagree, it is HARD to do (or at least harder). Learning/using the ROG takes extra effort I am not sure the average golfer wants to put into the hobby they do to relax. Playing by the rules makes a

You don't think that subject is (1) well discussed in at least two threads not even halfway down the front page, and (2) covered constantly?  What's new here?

 

And if folks choose to roll their ball, take mulligans, etc. they aren't playing by the rules anyway, and generally don't purport to, so why the cheating stuff?  They aren't "cheaters". 

 

Like you advocate for the golf ball, just let it lie. 

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3 hours ago, Augster said:

I play every single round by the ROG as you advocate. Really, as the rules advocate. It’s really not that hard to do. 

 

I disagree, it is HARD to do (or at least harder). Learning/using the ROG takes extra effort I am not sure the average golfer wants to put into the hobby they do to relax. Playing by the rules makes a hard game even harder and potentially less fun.

 

I think the rules are fun, I think playing by the rules is a challenge I enjoy, I like to play in competitive events,  but I get the true average golfer does not. Keep in mind the average golfer plays a few times per year and could not break 100 on their best day. 

 

Edited by 2bGood
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I'm still working on my CPG punchout from the living room.  I have no time to play by the rules.

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I agree with @2bGood on this. I play with two kinds of golfers- those in league who for the most part play by the ROG. Then when I visit my old buddies in SoCal and play with them it’s a completely different mindset. They never post scores or enter competitions other than charity scrambles but have a great time on the course. They have a basic knowledge of the rules but I’ve never seen them hit out of divot or drive back back to the tee. It’s 4 hours of fun and diversion for them and I don’t think they have any interest in changing anything. 

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3 minutes ago, Sean2 said:

How can I get an accurate assessment of my HI if I don't follow the rules? By cheating, you just short change yourself. 

 

You can't, if you maintain one and of course you short change yourself if you intend to play by the ROG and don't.  

 

But it's kind of obvious for just about anyone, isn't it?  

 

BTW, unlike the OP, I don't need all the fingers on even one hand to count the number of times I've heard people bragging or making claims about their handicaps, just doesn't come up all that much with anyone I've played with since I was 10 years old.  And thanks, I know the definition of sandbagging, lol.  

 

Just a "manifesto" in search of a real problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, 2bGood said:

Keep in mind the average golfer plays a few times per year and could not break 100 on their best day. 

 

 

I'd say someone who plays a couple of times a year isn't a golfer. I'd say your average golfer plays once a week? 

Edited by Mudguard
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To the OP...cheaters are going to cheat...especially since the consequences are so trivial...the worst that will happen is they'll be banned from club events and won't be able to find a money game.  I doubt most care and have little, or no, shame.  Most cheaters I know think others are doing it, and justify it that way...sort of like steroids.

 

And having a vanity cap is much better than sandbagging...people may snicker a little, but you'll never be accused of cheating.  Worst thing is you won't be able to find a partner unless they're a fool...or you're wonderful company and very generous!

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@EmperorPenguin The real challenge here is getting enough golfers to actually know the Rules of Golf.

 

We have a pretty serious group of guys at my club and I'm constantly surprised by how many of them make basic mistakes on relief and drops. They're pretty good at when to apply penalty strokes but if we went 100% letter of the law there would be a lot of extra strokes added.

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9 hours ago, Mudguard said:

 

I'd say someone who plays a couple of times a year isn't a golfer. I'd say your average golfer plays once a week? 

 

I think the stats say that 'golfers' average playing 18 times per year and the median is like more like 6. 

 

Maybe we need to add a qualifier to make this conversation a bit more precise: - the average 'casual' golfer has no clue about the rules. But I would also say the average 'avid' golf has no little clue about the rules. You experience may differ, but I find most of the guys I play with (who play 70-200 times per year) have a general understanding of the rules, but would not pass a rules test. 

 

 

Edited by 2bGood
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1 hour ago, 2bGood said:

 

I think the stats say that 'golfers' average playing 18 times per year and the median is like more like 6. 

 

Maybe we need to add a qualifier to make this conversation a bit more precise: - the average 'casual' golfer has no clue about the rules. But I would also say the average 'avid' golf has no little clue about the rules. You experience may differ, but I find most of the guys I play with (who play 70-200 times per year) have general understanding of the rules, but would not pass a rules test. 

 

 

I'd be willing to bet I'm this guy. 

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41 minutes ago, 4x4GGG said:

I'd be willing to bet I'm this guy. 

Which guy? If it is the one who plays allot and would not pass the rules test, you should not feel bad because you know who would also not do well on a rules test?

 

Many Club pros (from my personal experience)

Many PGA pros (every year they get some basic rules wrong)

Many PGA Caddies (every year they allow their players to get basic rules wrong)

Many PGA commentators (every week (or so) they get the rules wrong)

 

The group above all make their living from golf, so you think they would know the rules well. 

 

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2 hours ago, 2bGood said:

 

I think the stats say that 'golfers' average playing 18 times per year and the median is like more like 6. 

 

Maybe we need to add a qualifier to make this conversation a bit more precise: - the average 'casual' golfer has no clue about the rules. But I would also say the average 'avid' golf has no little clue about the rules. You experience may differ, but I find most of the guys I play with (who play 70-200 times per year) have a general understanding of the rules, but would not pass a rules test. 

 

 

 

Well I don't know how many would pass a rules test. Should a player actually be able to pass one? Are you allowed a rule book for a rules test? My group of eight average from 40 to 150 rounds a year. I think something who plays six times a year is a casual golfer. Like I am a casual swimmer. I go to the beach maybe six times a year, don't drown, but don't call myself Michael Phelps!

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12 minutes ago, Mudguard said:

 

Well I don't know how many would pass a rules test. Should a player actually be able to pass one? Are you allowed a rule book for a rules test? My group of eight average from 40 to 150 rounds a year. I think something who plays six times a year is a casual golfer. Like I am a casual swimmer. I go to the beach maybe six times a year, don't drown, but don't call myself Michael Phelps!

 Should they be able to pass a test? ?‍♂️ 

 

If you read back over the thread I am the one saying that the learning the rules of golf takes effort and it is somewhat unreasonable to expect the 'average' golf to know them. The rules are hard. I think we are the same side of this discussion?

 

(In my opinion) Should a competitive golf know them? yes a good portion of them. Should an elite golfer know then? Yes most of them and know enough to know when to pull out the rule book. 

 

 

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On 9/14/2020 at 12:01 AM, 2bGood said:

Which guy? If it is the one who plays allot and would not pass the rules test, you should not feel bad because you know who would also not do well on a rules test?

 

Many Club pros (from my personal experience)

Many PGA pros (every year they get some basic rules wrong)

Many PGA Caddies (every year they allow their players to get basic rules wrong)

Many PGA commentators (every week (or so) they get the rules wrong)

 

The group above all make their living from golf, so you think they would know the rules well. 

 

I don't feel bad. I also try to balance fair VS time when I play. I posted a while back some confusion I had with a ruling. I KNEW I hadn't done the right thing, but made an honest attempt to play a fair hole. The forums answer was I played the hole wrong, forfeit the competition (2 contestants, loser buys first rounds of shots) and the fact that I'm a horrible human being. The cliffs notes was that I hit a terrible shot deep into the woods, played a provisional, saw my first on a walk by completely in jail, picked it up and went on to play my provisional for a bogey. Wait... you didn't walk back and play a third ball??? 

 

I've been playing for 30 years and in the last 4 I've spent 90% of my course time playing with PGA instructors. I still ask simple questions every day. I'm not afraid to grab one and ask him if I'm fixing a ball mark correctly. I'll always be interested in doing things the right way. Funny thing, today, my ball landed green side on some stone work adjacent to the cart path. I asked for a ruling, and he explained to me I'd have to go across path and move the golf carts because there was no relief that wasn't closer to the green... as he kicked my ball into the grass parallel to the pin and maybe 6 inches closer than I was. 

 

I'm about to post a VERY LIGHTHEARTED joke about rules and playing as it lies from today's round. Lets watch this forum self combust! 

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I set a goal this year of getting out 5 times...I've actually gotten out 7 times this year, but two of those were scrambles and one was a par-3 course.  I know it doesn't count without an attest, but the motivation behind my goal of 5 rounds was to calculate a proper handicap.  So, it's in my best interest, based on my goal of calculating a handicap number, to follow the rules as best as I can with unflinching rigidity!

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Some golfers, like OP of this thread, seem to make maintaining a handicap their main reason for playing golf. 

 

I think that is a fairly uncommon attitude, everyone I play with regularly play golf the way they like and let the handicap sort itself. 

 

If I wanted to force my handicap as high as possible while strictly adhering to the Rules, I would probably play the very, very back tees of a really long course somewhere and I'd only play on days when the fairways were wet and the wind was blowing. That way I could shoot 120-130 every round and get my index up around 40 instead of 16 or 17. All perfectly by the Rules! Wouldn't that be fun?

 

Edited by North Butte
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On 9/13/2020 at 8:07 AM, 2bGood said:

 

I disagree, it is HARD to do (or at least harder). Learning/using the ROG takes extra effort I am not sure the average golfer wants to put into the hobby they do to relax. Playing by the rules makes a hard game even harder and potentially less fun.

 

I think the rules are fun, I think playing by the rules is a challenge I enjoy, I like to play in competitive events,  but I get the true average golfer does not. Keep in mind the average golfer plays a few times per year and could not break 100 on their best day. 

 


Every golfer, even the novice, knows to play the ball down and putt it out. They know when they hit it in the water it’s 1 penalty and a drop. They know a lost ball is 1 penalty and rehit. These are the most basic rules and are easy to follow. Following them to the letter will result in higher scores than a player is “used to” over time. But it will be an accurate reflection on their ability. 

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8 hours ago, Augster said:


Every golfer, even the novice, knows to play the ball down and putt it out. They know when they hit it in the water it’s 1 penalty and a drop. They know a lost ball is 1 penalty and rehit. These are the most basic rules and are easy to follow. Following them to the letter will result in higher scores than a player is “used to” over time. But it will be an accurate reflection on their ability. 

? Still have to disagree on this - particularly when we are talking about novice golfers.

 

Playing the ball down - the number of people that think rolling the ball if you get a bad lie is legal has to be huge in numbers. I even play with regular longtime golfers that think you get free relief from Rocks, Roots and/or Divots - this mysterious 'rule' that you get relief for a lie that could injure you keeps popping up in my world. I think playing the ball down is the most unknown or ignored rule by novice golfers - no question if a hidden camera filmed their rounds, this is where the penalty strokes would add up. 

 

Penalties -  Lost ball or OB is a mess for novice golfers very few know to re-hit or have any clue E5 exists as option at some course/some times - For both OB and Lost balls I see way more novice golfers play it like a red staked penalty area than anything else. But even hitting the ball in the water I see novice golfer think the penalty is that they lost the ball. Then the drop is almost always a mess, particularly in a yellow staked penalty area. I see loads of even low handicappers get the drop wrong for yellow stakes. 

 

I will admit I could likely teach a novice golfer in one round all the basic rules they need to know and the basics rule are easy to follow *kind of closely* or at least a decent approximation of what they should be doing. *I am still amazed how many avid golfers can't get the various drops correct, I suspect a well intentioned novice golfers with some basic rule knowledge is still going to take some illegal drops in certain situations even if they attempt to learn the rules. 

 

 

Edited by 2bGood
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1 hour ago, 2bGood said:

? Still have to disagree on this - particularly when we are talking about novice golfers.

 

Playing the ball down - the number of people that think rolling the ball if you get a bad lie is legal has to be huge in numbers. I even play with regular longtime golfers that think you get free relief from Rocks, Roots and/or Divots - this mysterious 'rule' that you get relief for a lie that could injure you keeps popping up in my world. I think playing the ball down is the most unknown or ignored rule by novice golfers - no question if a hidden camera filmed their rounds, this is where the penalty strokes would add up. 

 

Penalties -  Lost ball or OB is a mess for novice golfers very few know to re-hit or have any clue E5 exists as option at some course/some times - For both OB and Lost balls I see way more novice golfers play it like a red staked penalty area than anything else. But even hitting the ball in the water I see novice golfer think the penalty is that they lost the ball. Then the drop is almost always a mess, particularly in a yellow staked penalty area. I see loads of even low handicappers get the drop wrong for yellow stakes. 

 

I will admit I could likely teach a novice golfer in one round all the basic rules they need to know and the basics rule are easy to follow *kind of closely* or at least a decent approximation of what they should be doing. *I am still amazed how many avid golfers can't get the various drops correct, I suspect a well intentioned novice golfers with some basic rule knowledge is still going to take some illegal drops in certain situations even if they attempt to learn the rules. 

 

 

There are millions of golfers who take one look at the Rules of Golf and their eyes glaze over. For my part, no recreational pastime could possibly be worth having to keep track of all that Pharisaical nonsense.

 

If the official "Rules" are too convoluted to bother with, that leaves it up to each golfer and the others he plays with to come up with their own subset of the Rules. No big surprise that when you leave that up to popular opinion, the most popular options are going to be pretty darned forgiving!

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2 hours ago, North Butte said:

There are millions of golfers who take one look at the Rules of Golf and their eyes glaze over. For my part, no recreational pastime could possibly be worth having to keep track of all that Pharisaical nonsense.

 

If the official "Rules" are too convoluted to bother with, that leaves it up to each golfer and the others he plays with to come up with their own subset of the Rules. No big surprise that when you leave that up to popular opinion, the most popular options are going to be pretty darned forgiving!

Fake news - 'millions' of golfers have not looked at the rules book - their eyes glaze over at just the thought of looking at it. 

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