14 Common Ways People Cheat At Golf

drunk golf club

Photo: ankarino/Flickr

A bunch of golfers confessed their golf sins in a genius Reddit thread called, “What rule of golf do you knowingly ignore?”We pulled out 14 of the most popular responses to get an idea of how people are most commonly bending the rules.

All of them are technically cheating, but you wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at most of these.

How many have you done?

Play multiple balls on each hole, then only take your best score

'Whenever I golf alone, I play 3 separate balls and score each of them individually. At the end of the round, I add up my best scores for each hole and count that as my round total. I use this as a confidence booster since it gives me a good sense of my potential. And the practice actually amounts to having played 3 full rounds.'

Source: Reddit

Grounding your club in the sand trap

'You technically aren't allowed to touch a sand trap with your club, before you swing to hit the ball. F**k that.'

Source: Reddit

Improving fairway lies

'Regardless of course conditions, always preferred lies in your own fairway. Paying to play golf and then being penalised for good shots is not fun in my book.'

'I golf in the lowlands of New Jersey. Often I will move a ball to 'dry ground' to take my shot. I'm not really even talking puddles, but saturated ground where the water wells up around your feet when you walk on it. Likewise, if a ball gets super muddy and nasty, I pick it up, clean it, and drop.'

'If I hit my ball in the fairway and discover that it's lying on a patch of dirt I'll move it to the grass. I hit too well off a tee shot to be penalised by poor course management.'

Source: Reddit

Take a free drop away from rocks/roots/etc.

'If my ball is anywhere that a stroke would possibly damage my club or cause me injury, it's getting moved. Tree roots, rocks, etc. and if a bunker is full of gravel instead of sand, I'll just drop behind the bunker. Unlike the pros, I don't have an unlimited supply of free clubs.'

'Moving sticks and things that are in the way of my swing/stance, moving the ball away from tree trunks, things like that. I'm not gonna pull a Phil and flip the club and take a left-handed swing (right for Phil)...'

'If there are any cart paths, rocks, or anything that may scratch or damage my clubs I use the foot wedge to give me some space.'

Source: Reddit

Using extra clubs

A lot of people said they broke the club limit rule, and even worse:

'I occasionally use a 15th club. It's called a foot-wedge.'

Source: Reddit

Playing OB tee shots as lateral hazards

'I usually play out of bounds tee shots as lateral hazards. It's more about keeping the group behind me calm than playing by the official rules. People don't like to sit and watch you take a second (or sometimes third) tee shot on a Sunday afternoon.'

'By mis-hit, I mean hitting it out of bounds or into a water hazard. If it's retrievable, I'll play it or take a nearby drop. If it's not retrievable, I'll either re-hit the tee shot or take a lateral drop depending on the hazard.'

'I usually play out of bounds tee shots as lateral hazards. It's more about keeping the group behind me calm than playing by the official rules. People don't like to sit and watch you take a second (or sometimes third) tee shot on a Sunday afternoon.'

Source: Reddit

Dropping on the far side of the hazard when you pluck one in the water

'Hit a water hazard, drop it on the other side. That's actually a suggested practice at my local municipal. I'm not going to hit multiple balls into the drink, just to chip one ahead 20 yards so I can get over it. I'm not a good golfer, I am aware of this.'

Source: Reddit

Cap scores at a triple bogey

'I never take more than a Triple.'

Source: Reddit

The most common: allowing a mulligan on the first drive of the round

'My dad's rules we played by when I was growing up (and I still use today). Free mulligan on the 1st tee if you didn't hit the range (there was no range at the course we usually played), and a bit of a mercy rule where the max score you can take on a hole is 9.'

'Mulligans only being for the first hole. Please... those obviously roll over if I don't use it.'

Source: Reddit

Leaving in the flagstick while putting, a classic

'Whenever I golf by myself, I leave the flagstick in when putting.'

Source: Reddit

Gimme putts that are a bit too long to be gimme putts

'We always play gimmes. Technically you have to get your ball in the hole on every hole, but after a few putts we will either just pick up and take a triple, or anything inside of a few feet we pick up and assume that it is made.'

Source: Reddit

Pretending like a lost ball isn't really lost

'I don't take a penalty stroke when I lose a ball in a location where it should be easily found if the groundskeepers mowed as they should.'

'I do a variant of the same. Many times, one of our group will hit a ball just off the fairway into some light rough (no bushes, trees, or nasty crap, just un-maintained grass). If we can't find the ball after a minute or so, it's a free drop in the general area where we saw the ball go. It's really a pace-of-play thing, we're not going to spend forever looking for a ball that should be pretty easy to find.'

Source: Reddit

Teeing it up in the front of the tee box

'I'll tee up a few inches in front of the tee boxes to avoid divots or uneven lies. Unlike real life I don't think being off by a few inches will hurt.'

Source: Reddit

Following different rules than the pros

'I sometimes play 'the pros don't have to deal with this $&@!' rules. Things like damaged greens, or deadpan right next to the green or fairway. I'll call that 'GUR' and move the ball. I feel that's in the best interest of an honest round, and also the golf course. Deadpan that people keep swinging on will never repair itself. The same goes for un-raked bunkers. If I play for money, the rule is 'a ball in an un-raked bunker gets lifted, bunker raked, then replaced in the same location and general lie as it was found'. I don't know if this is a USGA rule or not, but if the people I am playing with refuse, then I don't play for money. I'm not going to lose a hole because some schmuck doesn't follow golf etiquette.'

Source: Reddit

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