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Golf cheats

Suspect a golfer of cheating? It’s time to stop moaning and do something about it

The Angry Club Golfer gets stuck into one of the sport's thornier issues. His advice, while brash and daunting, will ultimately benefit us all
 

Did you know more people use Google to search “how to cheat at golf” than “how to deal with golf cheats”? It probably shouldn’t surprise me.

Some of you may say hanging’s too good for scorecard manipulators. I wouldn’t argue but we live in an enlightened age. We no longer string people up – even for pinching an inch with a ball marker.

I’m not averse, though, to some old school punishments for those caught fiddling their numbers.

This is my solution. Bring back stockades. But instead of flinging rotten tomatoes, perhaps we could chuck some soiled old balata balls at the disgraced?

Remember those? They were more lethal than they looked. A slight cut – and they were so easy to slice – and the elastic used to unwind out of the gaping wound. It would be sharper than a chef’s blade.

Consider it. The randomness would be far more satisfying. Slash, or no slash? It would certainly make them think the next time they thought about suddenly “finding” their ball right by their trolley. (Why is it always seconds before the three minutes expire?) Do you feel lucky, now?

It’ll never happen, though. Why? Because we’ve become afraid of exposing deceit. “I’ve come to play golf, not to get into an argument,” we bleat when we’re convinced someone has changed a five to a four.

We huddle instead in our groups days later and huff over those we think are taking the mick and laughing in our face. But who’s the bigger sinner – the criminal, or those who let such deeds go unpunished?

I’ve been as guilty as you, meekly whimpering over the spurious fate of provisional balls or those who kept engineering ridiculous Houdini-like escapes from the kind of foliage that makes Sherwood Forest look like a small spruce.

I’m fed up of it. I’m sick of seeing my timelines full of crying over those that who shoot about 500 points and clogged with pictures of “suspect” handicap records.

If you really think people are taking liberties, and you can properly back it up, do something about it. Annoy your committees, and don’t let them fob you off.

Now, where’s my placard?

Have you taken a cheat to task, or should the Angry Club Golfer practise what he preaches? Let him know in the comments, or tweet him.

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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