A COUPLE of years ago, this column mentioned golf having a dark side. It concerned the “ringers”, “sandbaggers” and “bandits” of the game. These golfers are what we call “pot hunters” and they do their level best to keep their handicaps high. They are very much in the minority but they do exist and they are an embarrassment to the golf clubs at which they are members. However awful that may seem, there are also players who blatantly cheat on the golf course. These golfers are quite rare but they also exist.
Cheating to the golfing fraternity is a disgraceful offence and is considered as bad as some of the capital crimes. The perpetrator will never be forgotten or forgiven. Should he relocate to another town, city, country or planet, his reputation will follow him. Once caught, the epithet “cheat” will live with him for the rest of his life and most of them eventually become social outcasts. Isn’t that a deterrent to anyone who is remotely tempted to kick the ball in the rough seeking a better lie or purposely transgress the rules in some way?
It is interesting that cheats are from all walks of life. Sometimes they are wealthy, successful businessmen. Men of standing held in high regard within the community. So it is bewildering as to why these people would want to cheat. How can a man look at himself in the mirror after winning a tournament through dishonesty?
If a golfer is caught cheating, it becomes difficult and awkward for the witness to confront him so the transgression is sometimes overlooked but the incident will not be kept secret. That occurrence will spread faster than soft butter. The whole club membership will know about it within a week or so. It doesn’t end there either, his colleagues at his place of work will soon learn of his misdemeanor and if he holds a position of trust, there will be doubts regarding his integrity.
Those of us who have played the game for a long time have come across these cheating individuals from time to time and they generally don’t continue to play the game for much longer after they were caught and reprimanded.
Honesty in golf is a key element of the game. It’s the first thing we teach our children, even before they have hit a ball.
From the 19th hole
There is quite a difference between men and women regarding friendship. The following illustrates this.
A woman didn’t come home one night. The next day she told her husband that she had slept over at a girlfriend’s house. The man called his wife’s 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about it.
A man didn’t come home one night. The next day he told his wife that he had slept over at a mate’s house. The woman called her husband’s 10 best friends. Eight of them confirmed that he had slept over, and two claimed that he was still there.