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DQOTD: What do you do when one of your regulars cheats?


Middler
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In our weekly 8 player/$5 ante game, one guy (call him Joe) bends the rules more than others. I’ve called him on it a few times, let it go other times, no other player ever calls him on it. What do others do when it’s a regular player in a “friendly” game?

Example: Last week on the 18th hole Joe was in a greenside trap, and played a stray ball, he said “are one of you playing a TaylorMade”, I didn’t think anything of it. So Joe dubs his first attempt, and his second attempt on the green. WhIle we’re all putting, I look back at the trap and notice a ball. I say “who’s ball is that?” Joe goes back in the trap and says “that’s my TaylorMade. I was wondering why my TM with 5 on it turned into a TM with a 0?” So he knew he was hitting a stray ball. I expected Joe to take a two stroke penalty and play his original ball or play out the stray ball he hit - but he just played his ball with no penalty. I look at another guy, we both realized that was a cheat, but he doesn’t say anything as always, I didn’t either this time. I’ll guarantee you if Joe had stiffed the wrong ball he hit, he would have picked up his original ball and played out the stray ball. So we get to the clubhouse, and Joe wins 1st money with lowest net. None of us knew he would win when the cheat took place, the other foursome played worse than we did. With the penalty, Joe would not have won. The guys who came in second & third don’t know Joe cheated.

I’m getting a little tired of being the only one who ever calls out blatant cheats, I get tired of being the bad guy. Others players approve of me calling out cheating even though they won’t. The others say $5/week is cheap entertainment, not worth creating friction.

I’m guessing other regular groups either consistently call rules infractions, or consistently let others cheat and assume/hope everyone will call penalties on themselves. I’m afraid I find myself in the latter group.

This is a universal question. I play in two leagues where rules are not uniformly enforced. A few people will enforce the rules while playing, but we’re the exceptions. “Life’s too short” to most people…

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10 minutes ago, Middler said:

In our weekly 8 player/$5 ante game, one guy (call him Joe) bends the rules more than others. I’ve called him on it a few times, let it go other times, no other player ever calls him on it. What do others do when it’s a regular player in a “friendly” game?

Example: Last week on the 18th hole Joe was in a greenside trap, and played a stray ball, he said “are one of you playing a TaylorMade”, I didn’t think anything of it. So Joe dubs his first attempt, and his second attempt on the green. WhIle we’re all putting, I look back at the trap and notice a ball. I say “who’s ball is that?” Joe goes back in the trap and says “that’s my TaylorMade. I was wondering why my TM with 5 on it turned into a TM with a 0?” So he knew he was hitting a stray ball. I expected Joe to take a two stroke penalty and play his original ball or play out the stray ball he hit - but he just played his ball with no penalty. I look at another guy, we both realized that was a cheat, but he doesn’t say anything as always, I didn’t either this time. I’ll guarantee you if Joe had stiffed the wrong ball he hit, he would have picked up his original ball and played out the stray ball. So we get to the clubhouse, and Joe wins 1st money with lowest net. None of us knew he would win when the cheat took place, the other foursome played worse than we did. With the penalty, Joe would not have won. The guys who came in second & third don’t know Joe cheated.

I’m getting a little tired of being the only one who ever calls out blatant cheats, I get tired of being the bad guy. Others players approve of me calling out cheating even though they won’t. The others say $5/week is cheap entertainment, not worth creating friction.

I’m guessing other regular groups either consistently call rules infractions, or consistently let others cheat and assume/hope everyone will call penalties on themselves. I’m afraid I find myself in the latter group.

I'd make sure his scores are recorded correctly every time.  In the groups I play, for similar stakes, at least two guys keep scores, and we reconcile them before comparing with other groups.  Nobody keeps their own score without another scorekeeper checking on him.  We each state our score as we leave the green, and we all check one another.  We all make mistakes, we do it the way we do to correct them before they go too far, but it would apply  in your case as well. 

I don't know the dynamics, if you guys are all friends away from the course, if you're a random group that just plays together, if you're part of a larger group of friends, if there are other folks you could bring in to replace him, whatever.  You have two courses of action, I think, talk to him by yourself, or talk to a few of the other guys and confront him as a group.  If this guy gets insulted by having his scores checked and corrected, do you really want to continue to include him?  

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This is always going to be a tough situation. If your in a league, playing for money, or playing to be able to post for your handicap then you should enforce the rules. Just because no one else wants to speak up doesn't make it acceptable to cheat.  

If your playing for fun and enjoyment with nothing on the line you can be more liberal. Roll the ball in the fairway, take a mulligan off the tee box. Especially when you are getting less proficient golfers into the game. Make it enjoyable for them, don't even keep score. No one wants to come home with a score of 150. 

But to your case, I would call him out on it or ask what he shot on that hole and then remind him of playing the incorrect ball. And then say "so I will put you down for a 7 or whatever it should be.  Why would you want to hand over $5.00 to a cheater? If anyone want's the $5.00 you must honestly earn it. It's the principle. Some people take things pretty serious on the course. One day this guy will get paired up with the wrong person. 

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7 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

This is always going to be a tough situation. If your in a league, playing for money, or playing to be able to post for your handicap then you should enforce the rules. Just because no one else wants to speak up doesn't make it acceptable to cheat.  

If your playing for fun and enjoyment with nothing on the line you can be more liberal. Roll the ball in the fairway, take a mulligan off the tee box. Especially when you are getting less proficient golfers into the game. Make it enjoyable for them, don't even keep score. No one wants to come home with a score of 150. 

But to your case, I would call him out on it or ask what he shot on that hole and then remind him of playing the incorrect ball. And then say "so I will put you down for a 7 or whatever it should be.  Why would you want to hand over $5.00 to a cheater? If anyone want's the $5.00 you must honestly earn it. It's the principle. Some people take things pretty serious on the course. One day this guy will get paired up with the wrong person. 

Exactly this.

If playing for fun, I don't care what anyone does really if it keeps things moving and helps them have fun.

Playing for money or in a league where money/prizes are on the line, you play by the rules, or you don't play IMO.

If he's willing to cheat for $5.00, you can bet, he'll be willing to cheat if you guys ever play a higher stakes game, and then that can get ugly.

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Not knowing the dynamics makes it difficult to know what to do.

I’ve certainly played with a chronic fudger before. Never lost a ball, always had an open shot in the woods, often reported the wrong score. The worst of it was that while not my direct supervisor he was at an administrative level while I was a salesman.  The good news was while he was a fun guy to be around he had a huge golf ego. So we adjusted his handicap down and it pretty much evened things out. 🙂

 

In your situation I would try to mix the foursomes on a regular basis. You then need to have different people always calling the scores he reports into question each time he reports the wrong score. On the first tee show your ball and ask the group what ball/number each is playing. Try to be general but make it clear that we’re playing by the rules.
 

Dave may cringe at this but if your groups really insists and wishes to institute some sort of local rule that allows rolling it in the fairway or moving it from roots or whatever it needs to be the same for all 8 of you. Understand, too, that your handicaps may not hold up if you deviate from the rules of golf when you are turning your scores in.

 

Good luck, tough situation 

 

 

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54 minutes ago, Middler said:

In our weekly 8 player/$5 ante game, one guy (call him Joe) bends the rules more than others. I’ve called him on it a few times, let it go other times, no other player ever calls him on it. What do others do when it’s a regular player in a “friendly” game?

Example: Last week on the 18th hole Joe was in a greenside trap, and played a stray ball, he said “are one of you playing a TaylorMade”, I didn’t think anything of it. So Joe dubs his first attempt, and his second attempt on the green. WhIle we’re all putting, I look back at the trap and notice a ball. I say “who’s ball is that?” Joe goes back in the trap and says “that’s my TaylorMade. I was wondering why my TM with 5 on it turned into a TM with a 0?” So he knew he was hitting a stray ball. I expected Joe to take a two stroke penalty and play his original ball or play out the stray ball he hit - but he just played his ball with no penalty. I look at another guy, we both realized that was a cheat, but he doesn’t say anything as always, I didn’t either this time. I’ll guarantee you if Joe had stiffed the wrong ball he hit, he would have picked up his original ball and played out the stray ball. So we get to the clubhouse, and Joe wins 1st money with lowest net. None of us knew he would win when the cheat took place, the other foursome played worse than we did. With the penalty, Joe would not have won. The guys who came in second & third don’t know Joe cheated.

I’m getting a little tired of being the only one who ever calls out blatant cheats, I get tired of being the bad guy. Others players approve of me calling out cheating even though they won’t. The others say $5/week is cheap entertainment, not worth creating friction.

I’m guessing other regular groups either consistently call rules infractions, or consistently let others cheat and assume/hope everyone will call penalties on themselves. I’m afraid I find myself in the latter group.

This is a universal question. I play in two leagues where rules are not uniformly enforced. A few people will enforce the rules while playing, but we’re the exceptions. “Life’s too short” to most people…

If he want to lie to himself, by shaving strokes or whatever he wants, let him do it as long as it does not involve actually cheating you of something.

In a case like this one, a few years back with my work league, I just watched and called the score of someone we knew loved to shave strokes out of his card.

Cheating to win the league or 5 bucks is all the same, just shameful.

 

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I appreciate all the comments so far. They're exactly what I expected, and what I hoped I'd hear.

In the example, two of us always do keep score, that's not the issue. We knew he was going to "fudge" his score based on past behavior, but none of us called him on it - and there was another guy in the group who clearly knew the score "Joe" reported was wrong. I don't enjoy playing with Joe for a variety of reasons, and several others don't either, but I'm not going to drop out for Joe when I enjoy the company of the other six.

Instead of rehashing the past, I think I will ask if we mean to play by the rules, and say 'I won't speak for the rest of you, but I invite all of you to call me immediately when/if I bend the rules (I don't that I know of, but just in case).' Hopefully that will cause the others to speak up, or at least re-evaluate their own behavior going forward. I haven't decided if I'll also say 'I intend to call others without exception going forward,' and let them kick me out if they don't like it. I am pretty sure the others will appreciate me resetting the rules, though they'll tell me in private as usual - frankly they appreciate me taking on the bad guy role. I have another group and a league I play in weekly, so I can afford to drop out of the regular 8-some Joe is in.

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Nobody else likes losing to a cheater. Some people are inherently passive or want to be polite or want to seem like $5 is not a big deal. And I agree in many ways. No need to go nuclear here, but your playing partners would probably be relieved if someone else took on the burden of calling out Joe. 

For me, I'm not dancing around the bush. Joe cheats because he can. He will continue to do so until he is called out on it. Next time you keep his score and ask for his number on every green in a way that he understands he is being watched and monitored in a way that is different from anyone else in the group. I'd also be putting some pressure on him by being close by when he is looking for his ball or hitting from a bad lie or angle. Any opportunity to cheat, there are eyes on him. 

When he is cheating, you call out the discrepancy. "Joe, I have you down for a 6. You did such and such and such and thats a 6." If he wants to debate that and get unruly and write down a 5 for himself, whatever. Dont engage in any quarrel about it. There's no fight to be had about it. You just presented your fact, and thats your lone contribution.  But you publicly called him out. The other group members heard it. And if it happens again, they will sense a pattern with Joe.

In the clubhouse, I'd stay away from it if you are not involved in the winnings. You presented your evidence on the course. And now there are witnesses, that may feel the need to start their own debate in the clubhouse, especially if they lost by a stroke to Joe. But thats between winning parties. Again, not looking to cause a big fight, but definitely ready to call him out. And if it happens to be you and Joe in contention, I'd press him some. "I shot a 76 and I had you down for a 78, lets find the discrepencies. Yes, you had an 6 on that hole. I told you that on the green Remember? You had a penalty that you ignored in your score."

 

 

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Postscript: I politely pulled “Joe” aside a few days after the Wednesday wrong ball incident. I should note that the same day as that incident, he was pulled aside and reprimanded for chronic slow play by our Monday 3-4 foursomes just before we teed off Wednesday - he was argumentative and defensive all day. But by the time I talked to hIm the Monday after, I guess being challenged by his “friends” from two groups, he turned a little more introspective. He felt bad enough that he texted everyone in the Wednesday group to apologize, and said he was wrong in how he handled the wrong ball.

So we’ll see how it goes, everyone is a little more rules conscious now, though I doubt that will last long.

However, I’m convinced there’s no way to get all players, especially seniors, even with a $5 ante, to play by the rules 100% unless in a bonafide tournament. Fortunately most of the infractions make no clear difference in scores, and I’ll speak up only when it clearly changes a score. I’ll do what I think is right within reason, try to be a good example, but obviously it’s pointless to worry about what goes on that I don’t see first hand.

And as usual, a couple members of the Wednesday group privately thanked me for speaking up, something they refuse to do…

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15 minutes ago, Middler said:

Postscript: I politely pulled “Joe” aside a few days after the Wednesday wrong ball incident. I should note that the same day as the incident, he was pulled aside and reprimanded for chronic slow play by our Monday 3-4 foursomes just before we teed off Wednesday - he was argumentative and defensive all day. But by the time I talked to hIm the Monday after, I guess being challenged by his “friends” from two groups, he turned a little more introspective. He felt bad enough that he texted everyone in the Wednesday group to apologize, and said he was wrong in how he handled the wrong ball.

So we’ll see how it goes, everyone is a little more rules conscious now, though I doubt that will last long.

However, I’m convinced there’s no way to get all players, especially seniors, even with a $5 ante, to play by the rules 100% unless in a bonafide tournament. Fortunately most of the infractions make no clear difference in scores, and I’ll speak up only when it clearly changes a score. I’ll do what I think is right within reason, try to be a good example, it’s pointless to worry about what goes on that I don’t see first hand.

And as usual, a couple members of the Wednesday group privately thanked me for speaking up, something they refuse to do…

Glad your conversation went well and hope things change for the better 

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Glad it worked out @Middler

 

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There’s a guy I play with regularly who “never” loses a ball…it’s always “ I found it!”…sometimes 20 yards further up than the rest of us know it was going 🙄

It was all fine until the guys decided they wanted to start playing $1 per hole skins..then it got a little ugly the first couple of times “he found it” but eventually it got better after he was called out a few times.

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A lot will treat the $5 bet as nothing and let it slide.

My personal view on these matter is, let it slide if nothing is riding on the outcome of the game.  $5 is $5, regardless of it's today's value.

You'll need to bring this whole thing out, in front of the group, the proper way to do it is in front of everyone including "Joe".  A good place would be at lunch break or when everyone sits around for a drink and waiting for the result of the game to be calculated.  Bring it up casually but firmly.  State your point, and if the group does not take your point of view then, you'll have a choice of leaving the group or forever shut up about this.

I'm quite an easy going golfer when playing a sociable round of golf.  I'm all business when I'm in a game with something riding on the outcome.  Why bother to place a bet on the game if allowing the rules to be ignored ?  Just open up your wallet and fork over the $5 on the first tee box !

If you decided that indeed the $5 per week is good entertainment to watch someone going through the motion...... then don't let it bother you, for it may cause you a few strokes if you keep thinking of it during the round.  And it certainly is cheap if someone would show their true self over a $5 bet.  

Long time ago there was a group I golf with every Monday, had similar situation which, the rules of the game was never enforced but everyone had to put $1 per hole into the pot....... I quit that group.  Rather tee it up with total strangers than a forced game which I knew they don't play with a full deck.  I don't have time for that kind of garbage.

 

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Rules is rules! Your outta your mind if you think im handing a nickel to someone who INTENTIONALLY cheated. Its not about the $, its the principal. 

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