Deal with them, kick them out, but stop letting the very small minority of people determined to bend the rules dictate for the rest of us
Sometimes I’m accosted (sorry, approached) by golfers about various Local Rules their clubs could introduce.
Their efforts are sincere and well-meaning. They may consider a problem with sprinkler heads close to greens. There may be tree roots starting to protrude onto a fairway.
The Rules of Golf provide to deal with such circumstances but, in my experience, some clubs can be reluctant to take the plunge.
And the reason is often the same: golfers could take the proverbial.
It’s an argument I often hear when I see, or discuss, change in our sport. Just look at the World Handicap System, which is routinely derided as a ‘cheat’s charter’.
Last month, I argued a lost ball within the confines of the course could be treated in the same way as a ball lost in a penalty area. In that circumstance, the penalty would be altered from stroke and distance to a drop at the last estimated point.
Everything is open to abuse if you’re determined enough to be a golf cheat
I knew what the response in some quarters would be. ‘It would be open to abuse’.
Well, so what? Everything in golf is open to abuse if you are determined to be scurrilous. Did you know, for example, that in the Rules of Golf you don’t have to alert your playing partners if you’re going to identify your ball, or take relief?
The laws of the game trust you to get on with it. They also reveal harsh penalties for those who abuse that trust, and that doesn’t include how a club will react if they catch someone up to no good.
Too many of us use the illusion of cheating to moan about some aspect of the game we don’t personally like.
We’re happy to point the finger because it’s easier to find someone to blame then deal with the issue at hand.
We worry far too much about people who might bend the rules or look to cheat. If people break the rules, deal with them. Discipline them, kick them out, but stop letting that minority dictate to everyone else.
The yardstick for whether a change is implemented at a golf club shouldn’t be whether it might be exploited. The only consideration should be whether it’s the right thing for the club.
Now have your say
What do you think about golf cheats? Have your efforts to improve things at your club been foiled because fears of cheating? How did you deal with it? Let me know with a comment on X, formerly known as twitter.
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?