If you see him breaking the rules, do you tell him? Do you tell the other guys you are playing with? Do you report him to the secretary?
Maybe you don’t think you have ever played with a cheat - here are a few of the telltale signs…
1 If somebody wanders up to the first tee, puts a ball down and doesn't tell you what sort of ball he is using, ensure that you get a look at it at the first available opportunity. It’s always a good idea to retrieve the ball from the first hole with the words: “Ah, I see you are using a Titleist 3. That’s all right, mine’s a Titleist 4. Lads, John’s playing with a Titleist 3.”
That way he knows you've got his number - in more ways than one.
2 If somebody marks the ball on the green by putting his marker on the hole-side of the ball and replaces the ball on the hole-side of the marker, let it go the first time he does it. But the chances are he will do it every single time he marks the ball, gaining about two inches each time he does it.
You don’t think that’s much? If he does it just once on 18 greens, it is THREE FEET OVER the course of a round - and that is plenty.
3 If you are looking in the rough for an opponent’s ball and come across one, always ask him what ball he is using. Never tell him you’ve found a Titleist 3. The chances are most people will be honest, but the cheat certainly won’t, so if you tell him you’ve found a TaylorMade 4, chances are he will say: “Yup, that’s mine.”
4 Do you ever play with somebody who hits a lot of golf balls into the rough and always finds them? I am talking here about the player finding the ball, not his partners. Every. Single. Time.
You were certain it disappeared into the heart of the bush, but he always seems to find it on the other side of the bush, usually with a perfect lie. And isn't it strange that he always finds it when the rest of you are looking elsewhere?
5 You ever played with the guy who insists on getting to the green first? By the time you get there, he has already marked his ball. This happens on almost every single hole. Now it could just be that he is a very quick walker, but it could also be that he is marking the ball much closer to the hole than it actually finished.
6 Then there is the guy who always seems to get out of bunkers without any difficulty, but who always seems to bend down to remove “debris” from the sand around his ball, when nobody else you play with ever does.
7 Worst of all is the chap who always seems pleased to see you - until you realize that he actually has two or three golf balls in each trouser pocket. Why would anyone have spare golf balls in their pockets? Why would anyone have identical spare golf balls in their pockets?
There are other kinds of cheating too. Some would call it gamesmanship.
8 You get on a tee, your match is close and your opponent turns round to you and says: “I hate this hole. I always seem to hit it into the field on the right here.”
You have never sliced a drive on this hole. You have never even noticed that there is out of bounds on the right side of this particular hole. What happens? You slice your drive, miles out of bounds.
He pulls out an iron, hits it down the middle and wins the hole.
9 A couple of holes later, you are about to hit your drive and, just as you start your takeaway, he coughs. You hit the worst drive you’ve struck for months. “Sorry friend, I hope that cough didn’t put you off.”
Somehow, you avoid the temptation to punch him right between the eyeballs. That’s because you are a gentleman.
Even more surprisingly, you manage to fight back and take the match to the 18th. On the tee it’s your honor. You wait for him to make a comment about the pond. Nothing. You wait for the cough. Silence.
You are feeling pretty relaxed about all of this. You've got him!
10 Halfway through your backswing you hear the rattle of coins in his pocket. Naturally, you fluff your drive again. You know he’s done it deliberately. He knows that you know he’s done it deliberately. He also knows you won’t say anything. He also knows that you wouldn't dream of retaliating as he is preparing to play his shot.
Somehow, you manage to hit a wonderful recovery that not only finds the green but finishes six feet away. You are left with a straight uphill putt to win the match.
You know for certain that he is going to pull the coins trick again, so just before you line up your putt, you walk over to your golf bag, produce a $10 note, and you turn to him and say: “You got change for this?” And then you drain the putt!