NCG's Golf Glossary: What is a sandbagger?
Here at National Club Golfer we’re the publication for the everyday player and so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you a step-by-step introduction to the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon with our own golfing glossary.
This week’s word refers to a despicable rogue that lurks in the clubhouse shadows
Word of the week: Sandbagger
Careful when you use this word in the bar. Say it to the wrong person and you might cause a riot.
There are many types of golfers, but this particular breed is a rat – and not to be trusted.
You can feel their evil presence everywhere. Just listen out for the knowing groan at a prize giving.
These are the once-a-year brigade, the type that steam into a four-man team event and storm to victory by 20 points.
Cheaters, hustlers, whatever you want to call them, they are golfing devils.” You’ll hardly ever see them in a monthly medal, but they’ll then shoot the “round of their lives” to scoop the club championship.
They are the sandbaggers, and death’s far too good for them.
Dictionary definition: To deliberately underperform in a race or competition to gain an unfair advantage
What this actually means: A sandbagger is a golfer that misleads others about their ability level – and acts like they are worse than they actually are.
This could be to win a bet or, just as criminally, to win a tournament.
A sandbagger inflates their handicap, either by turning in worse scores in competition or by lying in the first place to gain a higher handicap.
So, when competition times come along, our villain arrives with a handicap of 22.
But they are really a 12. They’ve bagged themselves an extra 10 shots, massively increased their chances of walking off with the prizes, and make a rigged horse race look like an angelic procession.
Team events are beset by sandbaggers. No handicap certificates required? You’d better play out of your skin if you plan on giving a speech at the end.
Cheaters, hustlers, whatever you want to call them, they are golfing devils.
Origins: You might think the term starts with sandbags, the sort you use to keep the water out of your house when it’s raining heavily enough for Noah’s Ark to once again set sail.
You would be wrong. It’s much more sinister. In America in the 19th Century, gangs used sand bags as weapons.
They took a sock, filled it with sand, screwed it into a ball and then smacked someone over the head with it.
According to the knowledgeable resource that is the internet, the term came into golfing lexicon thanks to poker.
Someone who holds a stellar hand and only bets little sums, hoping to trap opponents into remaining in the action, before pouncing Cobra-like late on, is a sandbagger.
Use it in a sentence: “You, sir, are a sandbagger, a cad and a cheat.”