Golf has always prided itself as a game of integrity. The players self-police without officials watching their every move and calling penalties.
We all know the cheaters. Whether it’s moving the ball from a bad lie or mis-marking the putt or even giving the wrong score. No one is really fooling anyone. Same with handicaps. Some people have “Hollywood Handicaps” so they can brag at the party that they’re a single digit handicap when they’re really a 15. Some people are the opposite – sandbaggers who claim to be a 15 when they’re really a 9. Either way, it’s not cool.
Cheating is the same thing as stealing – it’s really that simple. A lot of bad behavior is at essence stealing … but comes in other forms.
Last week, I caught a guy sneaking on the course and playing a few holes. Not the end of the world, but it’s still basically stealing. And, what if everyone did it? What if every neighbor just hopped on the course and played when they wanted to? Where are these lines drawn? Is it when there is no one around? Who determines that? Also, how is that still not stealing?
Last year, I caught a guy sneaking on the course and playing a few holes. His response was that it wasn’t hurting anybody. My response was that I noticed he had a swimming pool … and would he mind if I just jumped in and went swimming when no one was around? He went nuts and said “That’s not the same thing!”. I told him that it was the same thing … the golf course is private property … just like his swimming pool.
Back to the guy sneaking on last week. He’d just bought an expensive golf cart. This fellow is not starving. He doesn’t want to pay his Trail Fee and doesn’t want to pay green fees. He’s actually proud of the fact that he’s using the golf course for free while he cruises around in his beautiful golf cart.
This guy and the sandbaggers don’t think of themselves as criminals. But they’re not really different from the kids stealing at the convenience store or the guy robbing the bank or the CFO stealing from his company. It’s the same mindset … just different circumstances.
I don’t like to play Sheriff. My nature and my role is to be hospitable. This is a golf course with a range, pub, and shop … it shouldn’t be run like a police state. With freedom comes responsibility.
Fortunately, most of the neighbors at DRGC are great. They get it. They’re respectful and realize that we are neighbors … not just a business – but a neighbor. The point of this blog is to talk about cheaters – not to disparage the neighborhood. And I think it needs to be talked about.
Our society is going through some painful times. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and be honest about our behavior. My hunch is that cheaters rationalize what they do … hopefully this is the mirror they need.
GM/Head PGA Professional