The uninitiated often look at golf as the sport that stands apart from the others. The peaceful settings and the general silence of the play make it seem serene compared to the likes of football. You’ll rarely see a golf fan with their shirt off and their face painted. Golf hooliganism is, to this point, unheard of. If boxing is heavy metal, then golf is gentle acoustic folk.
That, at least, is what people who have never played golf believe. Those of us who do play will have very different stories. Stories of taking four putts on a flat green and following each with a four-letter word. Of finishing a round and saying, “well played” to your opponent, all the while thinking less savory thoughts. Faced with the frustrations that only 18 holes with a lucky opponent can raise in you, there are two choices. On one hand, you could put everything into improving your game, gradually improve and eventually beat your opponent fair and square. On the other, you could cheat. Both ways will get results, but only one will improve your game; so, which will it be?
CHEAT: Leaving the Flag in When Putting
A lot of people don’t even know this is against the rules, but it is. When you putt, you need to judge the weight of your stroke to make the ball drop, not lip out if you hit it too hard. If the stick is still in, this holds the ball closer and makes it more likely to drop. Ergo, if you don’t trust your short game, leave the flag in. However, someone somewhere is judging you.
IMPROVE: Better Club Selection
Relying on the evidence of your eyes and your judgment of distance is how past generations may have won games of golf. But this is 2017, and technology is here to help. The top golf rangefinders can give you the correct distance on your next shot, and help you pick the right club to play it. No more overshooting deceptive greens, or pulling into bunkers by overreaching. And it’s completely legit.
CHEAT: “Improving” Your Lie In Deep Roug
When your tee shot misses the fairway and you need to stray off the beaten track to get it back, it’s tempting to look at gnarled roots and say that moving your ball a few inches isn’t cheating. It is. You play your ball where it lies. If that’s next to a root, so be it. Phil Mickelson would play it. Do you want to disappoint Phil Mickelson?
IMPROVE: Meditate on Your Next Shot
Perhaps more than any other sport, golf requires body and mind to work in concert. You can’t use it to vent frustration like, say, boxing. You need to be in control. Therefore, give meditation a try. The patience, focus and balance you will gain is worth any number of practice swings, times a million. And even when you do still lose, you’ll feel better about it. So that’s nice.