Cheating in Golf

There has been some recent press articles about cheating in golf. Have you ever wondered why some golfers might be tempted to cheat? Well, as a seasoned golf advisor, I’ve seen it all and I’m here to shed light on this aspect of the sport.

I am well aware that a groups of friends may not take action on “Cheating” formally while playing. They only want to have fun and enjoy their game. In this post I take a formal stance.

Why Do Players Cheat?

The Lure of Victory

First off, the sweet allure of victory can be intoxicating. For some, winning can bring validation, pride, and bragging rights. It’s not just about the game; it’s about the recognition and the glory that comes with success.

The Fear of Failure

On the flip side, the fear of failure and humiliation can be equally compelling. No one likes to lose, especially when the stakes are high. In the shadow of such fears, the line between fair play and cheating might blur.

Common Cheating Methods in Golf

Improper Score Reporting

A common method is the simple act of misreporting scores. Perhaps it’s “forgetting” a stroke or two, or “accidentally” marking a 5 when it was really a 6.

“Mulligans” or Do-overs

Ah, the infamous “mulligan.” Sneaking in an extra shot when no one’s watching can be tempting. But remember, unofficial do-overs aren’t just unfair; they rob you of genuine growth as a player.

Fudging Ball Placement

Another trick? Moving the ball to a more favorable position. Maybe it’s just a tiny nudge with the foot or dropping the ball closer to the hole. But as they say, “Play the ball as it lies.”

The Ethical Implications of Cheating

Beyond just the rules, cheating disrupts the very spirit of the game. Golf is as much about honor and self-discipline as it is about skill. When you cheat, you’re not just betraying your opponents; you’re betraying yourself.

Tips to Play Fair

Know the Rules

Knowledge is power. By understanding the rules inside and out, you’ll be less likely to inadvertently break them.

Respect the Course and Your Opponents

Remember, every player deserves a fair game. And the course, with its challenges, is there to test your skills, not to be manipulated.

Embrace Integrity

At the end of the day, golf is about personal growth. Embrace the challenges, the failures, and the successes with honesty. Let integrity be your guiding principle.

How to Handle Suspected Cheating

Approach the Suspect

If you believe someone is cheating, approach them privately. It might be a misunderstanding, or they might not realize their actions are dishonest.

Report to Authorities

If a private chat doesn’t resolve the issue, it might be time to report the matter to the game’s officials or course management.


Cheating in golf undermines the very essence of the sport. As players and lovers of the game, we owe it to ourselves and our peers to play fairly, honorably, and with integrity. Let’s strive for genuine victories, where the journey is as rewarding as the outcome.


Q. Is taking a mulligan always considered cheating?

A. While casual games among friends might allow mulligans, in official play, they’re not permitted. Stick to the rules.

Q. What should I do if I’m unsure about a rule during a game?

A  Always consult the rule book or ask a seasoned player or official. Better to ask than to assume and risk breaking a rule.

Q. Why do some players cheat even in friendly games?

A. The reasons can vary – from the desire to win to simply forming bad habits. Always encourage fair play.

Q. How can I prevent accidental cheating?

A. Regularly familiarize yourself with the rules, and if in doubt, play conservatively or seek guidance.

Q. Is cheating common in professional golf?

A. While rare, incidents do occur. However, the professional community is quick to condemn and rectify such actions.

Paul Le Kerr

Paul Le Kerr

Welcome to my new website! My initial plan is to keep golfers informed, whether they are a beginner or a seasoned golfer, of current topics, golf equipment and accessories, apparel, general golf information and news. To be honest I was late to the golf party! In my Flog (my blog: for the love of golf) I will be informing you of some of my own experiences and difficulties faced and still face in the world of golf.

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