The recent post I made about the rules of golf got me to thinking about how golfers bend the rules. Then I saw a small article in Golf Magazine about this as well. So it really made me think about why golfers will cheat at golf.
In the Golf Magazine article it said that a survey of 15,000 everyday golfers reported that 95 percent of golfers knowlingly break the rules. It also stated that the Duke student who headed up the study said it was because in their minds, it was not cheating.
So look at a foot wedge that many of us may have used before. Is that cheating, especially if we claim “winter rules”? Yes, by the rules of golf, it is cheating.
So is this guy right? Do we just rationalize it in our own mind? I believe in most cases that is the case. In some cases, I think that it is just really ignorance of the Rules of Golf. But most often, I agree with him, I think we talk ourselves into it. For a variety of reasons.
First there is the rationalization that it’s just a friendly game with our regular foursome and we all allow each other to improve our lies. That’s fair and even right? No, technically, it is cheating; even if we all do it.
Then there is the one that the idiot that designed the course should never, ever have put that tree (trap, creek, bush, swale, etc) there so we are going to correct his obvious design flaw? Or what about hitting your ball during a practice swing? Well, it was just practice so it doesn’t count?
Many reasons why we do it, but we tend to rationalize almost all of them. But here is what I believe is the more important question. Is it ok? Say if it is just a round with friends and we all allow certain things to be ignored. Is that ok?
We all probably have very different opinions on this one, but here is mine. If you can separate the situations from when you are playing competitively against other golfers or where you are going to be in a tournament of any kind, then I believe it’s not a problem. And I think also that this should be a situation where you don’t turn in your score for handicap purposes. If all four golfers in your foursome, for example, agree to improve lies in the fairway and there is nothing at stake, then why not I say?
The only problem here is that a lot of golfers can’t separate the two situations. And the golf purists will argue that cheating is cheating no matter where or when. And I understand their argument. But I also want to enjoy the game without creating problems.
And I believe that if you are in any kind of competition, turning in your score card, or playing with a new group, GO STRICTLY BY THE RULES. And, by the way, I go by the rules almost all the time. For me, the exception where we waive the rules is not very often, but it’s a personal choice.
Hope you don’t lynch me on this one, golf nuts.