Honestly most people I have golfed with - friends, coworkers, uncle, etc - "cheat" once in a while. Whether its slicing a drive and saying mulligan and teeing up another or moving your lie from a tree root to a spot that won't damage your club. It all depends how seriously you want to take the game. Some people probably don't take it as seriously as you, especially if they aren't very good yet.
Good friend is a golf cheater - Page 2
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I would subtly let him know that you know he cheats.
Like someone said you could just cheat yourself for one round, and beat him, then see if he calls you out.
I would probably just count his shots on a couple of holes, and just tell him what he got and write it down.
It's not so bad if someone doesn't talk about their score, but when he brags he has beat you, that is just toooooooooo far! Lay the smackdown!
+1 (although if he talks smack after the round I'd through a few verbal jabs in about his liberal interpretation of the rules of golf)
To me, the key word is "friend."
• If this is a close personal friend, and we are just playing for fun, I really don't care if they cheat on the golf course, as long as they are honest and true off the course.
• If this is a close personal friend, and we are playing for money, I would set the ground rules for what can and cannot be done, (improving lies, lost balls, etc.)
• If this is an acquaintance, and we are just playing for fun, I wouldn't worry about it, but I might look at them a little differently off of the course. It has been said that you can tell a lot about a person's character just by spending two or four hours with them on the golf course.
• If this is an acquaintance, and we are playing for money, I would avoid playing with them in the future.
I have a best friend who will not count mulligans when tallying his score but he's not bragging about his score later. It doesn't bother me, but the guy you're describing, I wouldn't be golfing with him. It's one thing to move your golf ball that's sitting on a stone or something like that, but to keep getting himself out of trouble by moving his ball around, that's the work of a dishonest man.
I took the liberty of transcribing this post without all caps, because I simply could not bring myself to read it otherwise:
I have a friend who cheats his way through the entire round. Improves lie on almost all shots if thinks he can get away with it. Moves ball sometimes 4 feet to hit around obsticles [sic] without taking stroke. Seen him drop ball out of pocket and say “here is my ball”. Casually drop ball a foot in front of ball marker on green. It goes on and on. Also brags about score after round. At point where I avoid playing with him if possible. Any thoughts?
Okay, after having read it, my thoughts are that the next time he wanted to play with me I'd say, "no thanks." He would likely be surprised or taken aback, and ask "why?"
I'd casually respond, "because you cheat in about every way imaginable and then brag about your score, and that's not golf. If you want to play with me, either stop bragging about the variant of golf you are playing, or start playing by the rules."
"Cheat" is a loaded word. I don't want to play with cheats.
Guys who play by their own rules mat be ignorant, uncaring, or simply not very serious. If they are "a friend" I would tell them what rules I play by. If we are playing for money (I almost always play for a very small amount of money) then we play my rules -- the rules.
Years ago I used to routinely roll my ball in the fairway. I didn't think of it as cheating and never did it if it "improved" my lie. A friend took my aside and explained that I should not do that ever again. I took his well meaning advise to heart because it was given in the spirit of true friendship.
Assuming the OP's friend knows the rules that are in place, it's up to you as to whether it's worth bringing up or not. If you feel that they truly may not know the penalties associated with improving their lie and such, just enlighten them about it. However, I'm sure that they know you are supposed to play the ball as it lies.
I have a friend that does the same thing, and he knows the rules. I typically don't mention it unless he starts to brag about his score, and then I put him in his place. Amazing how big of a difference there can be in my 78 and his 78 though.
I have a friend who does many of the same things (improve lie, give himself a 4' putt, ground club in hazard/sand, etc.). On one hole, I asked him what he wanted to take and he was a bit taken aback. He only plays for fun, never for money, and he's a nice guy to be around. I don't really care how he scores himself. He's just out to get some exercise and play golf. On the other hand, his handicap is artificially low and no one in our club will play tournament play with/against him. He knows the situation.