Does Cheating at Golf Make it More Enjoyable?

PolaraGolfCheat: act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, esp. in a game or examination.

The meaning of the word “cheat” – by sheer definition – suggests trickery and fraud. Cheating in games and sports has been well documented. Perhaps the most recognizable cheat in American sports would be the corked bat in baseball. Or more recently the whole PED thing. In both instances, enhancements to either body or equipment has be employed to gain an advantage (in this case, more power). And both instances are widely regarded as cheats by the general public.

Well, golf also has its cheats. Be it employment of the toe iron or some unconventional math, there are golfers out there willing to employ such tactics. And while PED’s might certainly be utilized by some golfers at the pro level, there are equipment cheats out there for us average hacks to purchase and utilize as well.

For example, the company Polara Golf has made its mark in the industry by providing equipment that exceeds USGA limitations – all so you can hit it farther and more accurately. Beginning with the introduction of their “self-correcting golf ball” a couple years ago and now unveiling their new “Advantage Driver” this month, the company’s mission statement is “to make the game of golf more fun.” But I question the longevity of that fun.

Clearly their products are aimed at the amateur golfer, rather than the pro. Not that I’m condoning it, but at least the pros do it for the money – we amateur golfers don’t have that option. So the only reason for us to cheat would be to deceive others into thinking we’re better than we actually are. That may make us feel better once or twice, but in the end, who are we really fooling?

Now, some of you may be thinking that technically, amateur golfers could cheat for money – for example, if there were a friendly wager on the round. But how long until your playing partner recognizes your shiny new club? He’ll cry foul and make you put it away. Or, he’ll go get one himself and use it until both of you start to believe you really did just shave 5 strokes off your average.

Will you tell people your new 18-hole average when they ask? Because in the back of your mind, you’ll know it’s not your real average or handicap. While new distance or accuracy may give you temporary satisfaction, eventually you will come to realize you’re a fraud.

Polara Golf has got it all wrong. You don’t need to pretend you’re a better golfer, because golfing is not about how good you are – it’s about how much you love this game and how much this game means to you regardless of your handicap. True enjoyers of golf play not for their score, but for everything else this game has to offer: Being outdoors; camaraderie; friendly competitiveness. These are the reasons we love golf. If we only loved golf because we were good at it, most of us would have quit a long time ago.

Golf is a game; you should have fun playing it…not cheating at it.


  1. Nice post Greg,

    I agree using equipment to correct a fault does nothing for the average golfer and only makes them think they are better than they really are. Golf is about learning to hit the ball with the legal equipment that is provided and used by everyone.

    If a golfer is struggling with their game, they need to practice, get some lessons from a professional and then practice some more.

    There are no short cuts.


  2. One of my favorite golf quotes of all time came from Bruce Lansky:

    “On a recent survey, 80 percent of golfers admitted cheating. The other 20 percent lied.”

    As funny as this quote is, it’s also fairly accurate and while this article speaks more about using clubs that aren’t within the limitations of USGA standards, an even bigger problem involves the cheating that people do without even knowing it.

    There are very very few golfers that know the rule book. We play with people all the time that hit into the hazard and drop an incorrect location. Or people that can’t find their ball and just drop with a one stroke penalty. The list of things amateur golfers do can go on and on but the bottom line is, if you’re not following the rules, you’re cheating.

    And simply saying that you don’t know the rule book is not an excuse. A USGA handbook is $5 in any local pro shop.

  3. Good point, Katrina! Many golfers do not fully know the rules. But to play devil’s advocate for a second, check out this post I penned a few months ago ( – it suggests the USGA rules are more “guidelines” than “rules”!

Speak Your Mind