From Pool Halls To Golf Courses.

golf ball moneyIt’s not often I associate the act of hustling someone out of their money with golf. When I think of hustling and as the title implies, I imagine a pool hall (sorry for stereotyping) with Fast Eddie and Vince (The Color of Money) type characters scheming on their next mark. Don’t get me wrong, I know there is a good amount of gambling done on the course amongst golfers, but how often do we consider it hustling?

I was reading an older article from a famous cigar magazine geared towards…uhhh…aficionados and the story told of an anonymous hustler, “Leon”, that took millions of dollars from other golfers. His victims ranged from oil tycoons to touring pro’s. You know, I’m not 100% sure if this story was glamorized or not but there were definitely some interesting points made.

A good rule of thumb I learned that applies to most situations involving making a deal, bet or whatever, is to take a good look around and spot the sucker. If you don’t see one then guess what…it’s probably you. With that in mind, I had a better understanding of Leon’s strategy.

His multifaceted plan to hustle people on the golf course is quite impressive. In fact it probably would be a great strategy for businesses. The key here was he wouldn’t play unless he knew he had the advantage. Secondly, he was a great match maker. He would put together matches that seemed fair but obviously he had the leg up.

One thing to mention is he never faked he couldn’t play. That’s just a slime ball move very easily detected. All of his opponents did know he was a good golfer but insisted they could still beat him. Another significant strength for Leon was the ability to play under pressure when big money was on the line. He pointed out that most people (including pros) would crumble when their money was at stake. Go figure…

It’s pretty interesting to know there are golf sharks out there. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but it sure adds a layer of character to the game. So remember to keep this story in mind next time someone asks, “Do you want to make this round more interesting?”

Hit’em long…yell FORE!!!

P.S. Almost forgot…you can view the story here.


  1. Pete

    I have heard this story before. If you can make a living at it, then why not. The amateurs who do this usually try to hide their handicap….we call them sand baggers! I have played for money, drinks, hot dogs, etc, but never with strangers. Usually it is with friends who know exactly what is going on….also, I never give strokes….you want to play with the big boys, you have to play straight up! Great story.

  2. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    I fear I’m old-fashioned, I don’t ever play for money. Never have. I don’t even participate in our Friday afternoon league’s Skins-game.

    I play solely to relax and socialize. As I have told people, “…I don’t even play for Pride”.

    • Funny you mention pride. I couldn’t play golf for pride either. If I was to wager my pride in anything, it would lean heavily towards an area I excel in – eating buffalo wings. Who wants action?

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