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A small amount of ChapStick will substantially reduce the amount of sidespin generated by the ball, allowing you to hit the fairway just like Tiger.
A small amount of ChapStick will substantially reduce the amount of sidespin generated by the ball, allowing you to hit the fairway just like Tiger. (Mike Bailey/WorldGolf.com)

Straight down the middle (or: how to cheat in golf with ChapStick)

John J. WhiteBy John J. White,

Straight down the middle.
It went straight down the middle.

When "Der Bingle" first sang those lyrics, the heads of drivers were crafted out of persimmon wood and attached to less-than-perfectly-balanced shafts. The odds of a modern golfer hitting a fairway using one of those drivers are about the same as John Daly celebrating a 20th wedding anniversary - not so good.

But with today's technology of titanium heads and composite shafts, the odds have increased some for the average golfer. Still, unless your father's name was Earl Woods and you have a flat belly, it's likely your banana-ball will usually miss the fairway, prodigiously.

Now you could spend thousands of dollars on lessons and correct that slice, or you could pay $1.69 at the Circle K and purchase a tube of ChapStick instead. A small amount of ChapStick on the face of the driver will substantially reduce the amount of sidespin generated by the ball, allowing you to hit the fairway just like Tiger, albeit a hundred yards shorter. (Sorry, can't help you there.)

Of course, this is cheating in every sense of the word, and I'm not condoning it, just making you aware of it. I've never cheated in golf, and you're a dog to even think that I have. (That part was for my foursome.) It's extremely important that all golfers help maintain the integrity of the game as long as someone is watching you.

There are two types of cheating in golf: legal and illegal. Legally, you can cough or drop the flagstick near your opponent or rattle change in your pocket when he is putting. However, it's illegal to kick a ball out of the woods while your playing partners are preoccupied with the beer cart girl.

It's also illegal to mark a ball 6 inches closer to the hole or say you had a 5 when you really had a 6 on the hole. On that note, has any golfer, anywhere, ever said they had a 6 instead of a 5? I don't think it ever happened in golf history, unless Tom Watson did it once, who knows?

I once told my regular playing partner about a PGA Tour caddie who, when his pro was about to putt, whispered in his ear that he was the world's greatest putter. Since that time, my so-called friend constantly whispers in my ear, usually right before I putt to win a skin, that I'm the world's greatest putter. Naturally, I miss every putt when he does that, but that's not illegal, it's just mean.

Cheating in golf dates back the birth of the game

Back to integrity: Right after the Scots first invented the game, they noticed there was so much blatant cheating in the sport that they needed to invent rules. Since then, the governing bodies, the likes of the Royal and Ancient and the USGA, have maintained the silly things.

If the powers to be had thought about it, they would have known you can't trust men who wear skirts to have any common sense.

I have to admit the modern touring pros are generally an honest bunch. They normally will call a penalty shot on themselves if a ball moves, or they shank a shot into their caddie's ribs. Unfortunately, weekend warriors are not quite as honorable. They generally will ignore small inconveniences like rules.

That's too bad; they should always try to emulate the professionals. Can you imagine Jack telling Arnie to put him down for double-par after leaving the ball in the Road Bunker four times?

If you honestly follow the USGA rules during your round of golf, your 87 will quickly turn into a 135. Think about it, if you roll the ball over in the fairway 20 times to improve your lie, that's 40 penalty strokes you should add to your score. Lose a ball in the woods and play it as a lateral hazard, and it's another 2 strokes.

So follow the rules of golf verbatim, and you'll be able to sleep at night with a clear conscience. You won't have any fun, but you'll sleep well.

Now it is true, most golf courses generally frown on cheating by its paying customers, but you can always tell which courses look the other way. They're the ones that provide pencils with erasers.

John J. White is not a bad golfer. He just plays one on the course. When he is not golfing, he is an engineer and freelance writer. He has won several awards for his short stories, and has been published in literary magazines. He is currently working on his fourth novel, "Nisei," and lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife, editor and typist, Pamela.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

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