I know a lot of golfers who really stink. I know a lot of golfers who can't play golf all that well either. To try to level the playing field, or to cover up their inadequacies, some golfers resort to cheating. This just isn't the right thing to do.
Now in some sports, cheating seems to be rather normal, and quite frankly, acceptable. Take, for example, the beautiful sport of ice dancing. Over the years, we have come to cherish a number of bold maneuvers by the skaters, or their hired thugs, to say, bash off the kneecaps of their nearest rivals. This type of behavior is fully expected. In fact, at next year's World Championships, just after the "Judge Buy-Off" takes place in the foyer, the competitors will each be given a jar full of quarters that must be thrown onto the ice during the event. I await this with great anticipation.
In other sports, cheating is quite rare. Take, for example, darts. I mean, how often do you hear of a guy zinging a dart into another guy's back to try to get him off his game? Doesn't happen. Or how about running? Tough to cheat there too. I've yet to hear of a runner getting out ahead of the pack in order to set up a trip wire to cause mayhem on the herd of stick people coming up behind him.
Golf is one of the few sports in which cheating isn't highly acceptable, yet situations where people bend the rulesare fairly prevalent. Golfers who are so inclined to, say, poke their opponents with a tree branch while they are about to play a crucial stroke, number in the thousands. In addition, many golfers believe that things like poisoning (yes, Dave, Zuderman's moonshine is indeed just that) opponents is an effective way to come out on top. Regardless of your tactics, chances are you too have schemed ways to ensure that you are the only one left standing after it's all said and done.
Other popular ways that golfers try to cheat include:
1. Employing Handicaps that fluctuate more than the NASDAQ
"Handicap Maintenance" is what my friend "Muzzy" (peckerhead) terms this.
2. Using illegal equipment
Golf clubs powered by gasoline engines will soon become the norm at your club.
3. Creative counting
"Plan B" is how my uncles refer to this technique.
Apparently, so my wife tells me, not considered cheating for pregnant women.
5. Fill-in-the-blanks approach to the Rule Book
"When a ball disappears in the middle of a water hazard it is considered to be temporarily out of service. Seeing as I paid good money to play and the guy with the hip waders and the really, really long ball retriever should be present but isn't, there is no penalty and the ball must be perched on a nice, fluffy piece of grass much closer to the hole."
"Out of bounds markers are defined by the real or perceived level of danger in venturing to play a ball from a non-golfy region that may be protected by things like guard dogs or evil stay-at-home moms wielding brooms.
In closing, I believe that it is the inherently difficult nature of golf combined with a human's unquenchable desire to conquer all is what encourages people to cheat at golf. Or, perhaps the answer lies in a joke which ponders an age-old question. The question: why do dogs lick their balls? The answer: because they can.
Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout North America and Europe. You can see more of his work at www.andrewpenner.com.
We all love golf course rankings, but there's quite a bias involved, huh? Host a major championship and you're basically guaranteed a spot on the list. What about the average duffer who's more impressed with the beer list than the slope/rating - or prefers friendliness over the fine, imported lotion in the locker room? Where's our list, hackers? Answer: Right here.
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