10 Ways to Spot a Golf Cheat

10 Ways to Spot a Golf Cheat

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Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh’s former caddie Kip Henley have recently come out and said a number of players are seen regularly cheating on Tour.

We therefore thought what better time to reveal the dark art of cheating at golf in the amateur game and how to spot the criminals and catch them red-handed, and red-faced.

Here’s the GolfMagic guide to golf cheats and how to stop them in their tracks…

Watch how the cheat marks the position of the ball on the green.

Invariably they will use a big coin, like a 50p or inch-diameter foreign currency, carefully sliding the coin as far as possible under the ball.


When replaced, the distance between ball and coin will be at least an inch nearer the hole or slightly to the side to avoid a spike mark or blemish on the green.


Occasionally they will surreptiously toss another coin a few inches, or even feet, nearer the hole (depending on the length of putt they face) and ignore the original marker to give themselves a closer putt.

Watch too when a marker in an opponent’s putting line goes down nearer the hole when measured a putter head’s length – the angle changes when replaced and the cheat steals an inch or two.

Always remember the immortal words of R&A executive director David Rickman: “a drop must be taken at the nearest point of relief, not the nicest point of relief.”

Staked trees allow a free drop within one club length of the ‘nearest’ point of relief from the obstruction but invariably, the cheat wants full advantage from the situation.

For example, a drive off the tee is hooked into a plantation of staked young trees on the left of the fairway and finishes within inches of the right-hand side of a staked sappling.

The cheat would automatically deem the clear, fairway side to be the dropping area on the right of the tree. However, chances are that left of the tree is the nearest point from which a full swing and unimpared stance can be taken – then one club length from there, no nearer the hole.

Watch too, that the ball is dropped from shoulder height – not knee level to affect a better lie.

Look out for the casual nudge of the ball with the toe cap in the rough – known in the trade as the ‘leather wedge’.

Another trick is to casually press down the grass behind the ball with sole of the club or the foot, for a cleaner impact.

We’ve all seen these guys and girls.

The Rules declare a ball can be handled only between holes; on the green after it is marked; to take a free or penalty drop; when preferred lies are in operation or to identify it other than in a hazard.

Given a bad lie in the rough, the unscrupulous golfer will pick it up to supposedly identify it (okay under the Rules as long as the act is witnessed by a fellow competitor) but then replaces it in an improved position.

A ball played into a water hazard is a one stroke penalty but the next shot must be played keeping the point of entry between the hole and the point from which the next shot is to be played.

The cheat will tend to steal a few yards to the right or left to allow play over the narrowest stretch of water possible – if at all!

Only pitch marks and old holes can be repaired or loose impediments removed on a green.

The cheat will nonchalantly declare spike marks on the line of a putt fair game and if challenged will look incredulous but never guilty.


Pictures courtesy of: Getty Images

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