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All Time Greatest Phonies You've Encountered?


DoubleAce

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Post in another thread just got me thinking about working at a golf course back in HS and college. And the interesting characters you meet. For me, one of my favorites was Roy. 

Now Roy was a regular. Always played by himself. He didn't appear to be a complete hack. But he certainly wasn't a player. Yet that didn't stop him from grossly exaggerating his capabilities and scores. 

After every round, he'd come in and post in the handicap system. And he'd always leave his profile up for the next guy to marvel at. I think he was like a +3.6 "on paper". Well one year he must have really been drinking his own kool-aid. Because he decides he's gonna qualify for the US Open!

If you don't know, you need something like a genuine 1.4 or better to even attempt qualifying. And part of the application is (or at least was) having a PGA pro sign off on the application. The pro at our course at the time was kind of inept. So his dumbass actually signed off on Roy's application.

Roy went on to shoot over 100 in the first round. Was subsequently banned from entering any future qualifiers. And our head pro received a very strongly worded letter from the USGA for signing off on Roy's handicap (rumor was he was also sanctioned). 🤣

So who's got similar stories about guys (or gals) who were just completely full of it? I know there have to be some good ones.

 

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I'm sure EVERYONE has come across "Sponsored by everyone" guy. Head to toe logos as if he covered himself in gorilla glue and crashed into a golf store display stand. Plays in his $200 cashmere sweater in Florida... in July. With matching Polyester Pants and coordinated shoes and belt. He looks good but can't find a fairway with a compass and has an excuse for any small miss- or a big miss, more likely. But he will hit that ONE good shot and hold a pose as if he expects to be on the cover of Golf Digest. It will come up short, but that's besides the point...

It's the previously referenced "Pro from Dover" syndrome.

Come across all kinds of "over estimators" over the years. An ex girlfriend's Dad who was a "single digit" at their club and invited me to play. I beat him by 10, I think... But he wasn't a Richard or anything, and didn't go on about how good he should be. (And no, I wasn't going to "Let him win" because he was her Dad. That's insulting to him and me). Lot's of "We're going from the tips today" guys who probably shouldn't even have considered it. then sheepishly move to the Whites on the back when they lose enough balls. And don't play any better from there.

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There was a guy I’d play with at my club who was about my level. We’d shoot high 70’s on our good days and 85-90 on our bad. But on many occasions we’d have a third or another pair play with us and he’d always claim to be ‘almost scratch.’ I found out from other club guys that he tells everyone he’s scratch except for me apparently. I wasn’t aware until one time we were playing with a pair of chaps from England and one of the guys quietly asked me how the hell he’s a scratch player being all over the place. I told him the truth and we all kind of let him make an ass of himself. 

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There are lots of guys like that. The last time my buddy and I played in our club's best-ball tournament we got paired with two guys who were supposedly a 1 and a 3 handicap. My buddy and I are both scratch and we beat them by 20+ strokes at least. The 1 handicap shot 90 and the 3 shot like 86 and that was being nice as they each had several holes they didn't finish and we just put down a double. All in all, I am doubtful the single digit would have broken 100 had he been in a stroke play event. 

Additionally, neither of them knew the rules, we had to call them on stuff the whole round. They bumped it in the rough several times that we saw, but by that time they were so far out of it we just stopped caring.

The worst part about the whole thing was they both kept saying, "I don't know what's wrong with me today, I just can't hit the ball." I took one look at their setup and swing and knew there was no way either of them were even even close to their listed handicaps. 

Strangely enough we never saw either of them again. 

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I always joke with my golf buddy when he boasts about his 7.5 handicap. I let him know I have never seen him put 18 putts in the cup during any rounds he plays. 

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18 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

There are lots of guys like that. The last time my buddy and I played in our club's best-ball tournament we got paired with two guys who were supposedly a 1 and a 3 handicap. My buddy and I are both scratch and we beat them by 20+ strokes at least. The 1 handicap shot 90 and the 3 shot like 86 and that was being nice as they each had several holes they didn't finish and we just put down a double. All in all, I am doubtful the single digit would have broken 100 had he been in a stroke play event. 

Additionally, neither of them knew the rules, we had to call them on stuff the whole round. They bumped it in the rough several times that we saw, but by that time they were so far out of it we just stopped caring.

The worst part about the whole thing was they both kept saying, "I don't know what's wrong with me today, I just can't hit the ball." I took one look at their setup and swing and knew there was no way either of them were even even close to their listed handicaps. 

Strangely enough we never saw either of them again. 

The "what's wrong with me today" type comments are great. I'd played with a guy who claimed to be a long hitter. Was a very tight course. He basically hit every tee shot in the woods. And every time would say, "Dang, 350 yards, just not the right direction today". There was no way these balls were going 350. Maybe pushing 250 at best.

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1 hour ago, DoubleAce said:

The "what's wrong with me today" type comments are great. I'd played with a guy who claimed to be a long hitter. Was a very tight course. He basically hit every tee shot in the woods. And every time would say, "Dang, 350 yards, just not the right direction today". There was no way these balls were going 350. Maybe pushing 250 at best.

I'm sure they DID go 350... 250 to the tree, 50 yard ricochet to another tree, then ricochet off that tree another 50 yards...

250+50+50=350 yards. Simple...

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1.  There is a guy in my regular group I play with here and there who always brags about shooting 3 under one time (story changes back and forth from 1 under to 3 under).  Told us about a month ago he’s planning on going through the pga program to become a teaching pro, which was laughable.  Same round I asked him how he likes the lighter shafts as he’s showing me his new irons, and he says rights to my face while I have one of his irons in my hand, “I play the heaviest shafts you can get because of my torque”… the shafts were DG 105.  He is 250 tops off the tee.  Best I’ve ever seen on his card was a 4 over, he’s usually in the high 80s but does break 80 every once in while on the easier courses.  I honestly don’t think he even realizes how bad a liar he is (not to put him down, but seems he seriously may be a little on the spectrum, which is why we give him a pass).

2.  Golfed with a guy a couple weeks ago who kept talking himself up.  He was new in town.  Stated he worked at Whistling Straights, worked at all these other well known courses, knows all these pros well, the name dropper and “one up” type.  Was trashing the course we were playing a little. It’s not a crazy tough course, but it’s not a joke either (6,900 yards, 71/125).  It’s a nice layout, fun, can be pretty challenging when they get it in shape for tournaments. Designer was also on Riviera CC and Torrey Pines.  Anyway, he played to bogey and just drove off while we were putting out at the 9th hole.  We quietly got a kick out of it after all his big talk.

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Our cc has the reverse problem in certain open blitzes. A few of us have stopped playing in one of the mixed blitz (there are a few) as the buy in is $10. We call the buy in donation. One of the ladies in the mixed Stableford blitz at over +10 thrice in last 2 months.

Vanity phonies are funny, but sandbaggers are horrible.

Vishal S.

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Not trying to defend any phonies, but I have played in tournaments where the first day I shot 81-82 and the next day shot 70-71. It does happen. 

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16 minutes ago, Bucki1968 said:

Not trying to defend any phonies, but I have played in tournaments where the first day I shot 81-82 and the next day shot 70-71. It does happen. 

BTDT as well. But I think most can pretty easily identify the difference between someone having an "off" day, and someone who's clearly overestimated/overstated their capabilities. 

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14 minutes ago, Bucki1968 said:

Not trying to defend any phonies, but I have played in tournaments where the first day I shot 81-82 and the next day shot 70-71. It does happen. 

Of course, we've all had bad days. But sometimes guys ONLY have bad days. We all know the guy who every time he plays says "This is the worst I've ever played." 

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I know there are certainly days where I've felt like a vanity handicapper, especially last year when I reactivated my handicap in September 2020 for the first time since 2017-2018ish.

It still had 20+ rounds on record from 2017-2018 and gave me a plus handicap that was stuck on my record as the lowest index of my past 12 months until September 2021, meaning the rise of my handicap was limited. I definitely started out playing to somewhere between a 10-15 handicap while my index was pegged at it's upwards limit of about 4 or so, until eventually working my way back down to match the index and lower it slightly from the upwards cap. It was pretty funny seeing scores of 80+ next to the name of a "plus handicap" on the leaderboards regularly for a month or two, but there wasn't much I could realistically do.

Now I'm in a similar scenario - have played 3 times since last November and am more than a little bit rusty despite my handicap still being the same as it was at the end of the season last year. It's an annual occurrence in places with winter though, so not too worried there.

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1 hour ago, ChetlovesMer said:

We all know the guy who every time he plays says "This is the worst I've ever played." 

Well, is he wrong, though?

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(edited)

I play with a few buddies on rotation, one of them started to get real “serious” about his playing a few years ago. He legitimately thought he was going to be a professional golfer in his mind. I hadn’t played with him in awhile and he started posting all about breaking into the 80’s and even claimed a high 70’s score a few times at our local course. I was thinking wow, I can’t wait to see him play again, he must have had an amazing improvement.

When I finally got to play with him I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was still awful. The only thing that changed was the way he was scoring himself. He would give himself 2-3 mulligans a hole, completely skip counting some shots, move his ball from unfavorable lies. The works! The kicker is, he completely thought his scores were legit in his own mind.

After a while my other buddies and I made a game out of counting his strokes without him knowing and then comparing it to his score card. Easily a 20+ stroke difference. We stopped playing with him after a few rounds of this, it was really just a drain dealing with his nonsense. 

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20 minutes ago, Markdd91 said:

I play with a few buddies on rotation, one of them started to get real “serious” about his playing a few years ago. He legitimately thought he was going to be a professional golfer in his mind. I hadn’t played with him in awhile and he started posting all about breaking into the 80’s and even claimed a high 70’s score a few times at our local course. I was thinking wow, I can’t wait to see him play again, he must have had an amazing improvement.

When I finally got to play with him I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was still awful. The only thing that changed was the way he was scoring himself. He would give himself 2-3 mulligans a hole, completely skip counting some shots, move his ball from unfavorable lies. The works! The kicker is, he completely thought his scores were legit in his own mind.

After a while my other buddies and I made a game out of counting his strokes without him knowing and then comparing it to his score card. Easily a 20+ stroke difference. We stopped playing with him after a few rounds of this, it was really just a drain dealing with his nonsense. 

Seems your buddy is cut from the same cloth as my guy Roy from my OP. In that they both genuinely believed the fantasy they'd created. Granted, your guy didn't believe it enough to think he could go out and qualify for the US Open. 

I think if you play enough golf, you'll run into similar people. Just not as extreme. There were a couple kids in my summer league growing up who were like that. Significant scoring differences between their solo and group rounds.

The mentions of mulligans, skipping shots, padding lies, etc. remind me a lot of the country club days caddying. Forget inside the leather. Some weekends it seemed like inside the flagstick was all it took. Club Championship time always made things interesting. Lot of guys for the first time all year suddenly had to contend with playing the ball down and putting everything out. 

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