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Some common ways that golfers cheat include:

  • Moving The Ball To A Better Lie
  • Improving Their Score By Removing Penalty Strokes
  • Taking Mulligans
  • Purposely Missing Putts
  • Fudging The Numbers Changing Their Score After The Round
  • Keep reading- I’ll uncover more golf cheating strategies and how to catch these unethical players!

Golf is a game of honor and integrity.

But, as with any sport, a few bad apples try to cheat their way to victory. You will often hear your playing partners make accusations of “That’s a foot wedge!” or “He moved his ball!”

While these claims may be valid at times, more often than not, they are simply sour grapes. After all, it is challenging to catch someone cheating at golf unless you actually see them do it. So, how do people at golf?

But, first, let’s look at some funny (and kind of too serious) ways to catch a golf cheat:

Ways To Catch People Cheating At Golf

  • Use a drone to film the cheating
  • Have someone follow them on the course
  • Use an infrared camera to catch them in the act
  • Compare their scorecard to video footage of their round
  • Look for discrepancies in their clothing or equipment
  • Use a GPS tracking device to monitor their movements on the course
  • Check social media for incriminating photos or videos
  • Hire a private investigator to catch them in the act
  • Bug their car or home to listen in on their conversations
  • Set up a hidden camera to film them cheating
  • Follow them and take photos or videos of them cheating
  • Confront them with the evidence you have gathered.

Here are some of the notorious ways people cheat at golf:

1. Hiding Extra Balls In The bushes

If you suspect someone of cheating, one of the first things you should do is check the bushes and other hiding spots around the course for extra balls.

Many cheaters will try to hide extra balls if they hit one out of bounds or a water hazard. They may also use these extra balls to improve their lie or get closer to the hole.

2. Altering The Ball Markings

Altering The Ball Markings

Another common way people cheat at golf is by altering the markings on their balls. This can be done in several ways, such as using a Sharpie to change the brand name or logo, scribbling over the numbers, or adding extra dimples to the ball.

You might also see someone trying to remove their ball’s existing markings to make it harder to identify.

3. Moving The Ball To A Better Lie

When their ball lands in a bad spot, some cheaters will try to move it to a better lie. For example, if their ball lands in a divot, they may try to place it back on the grass instead. Or if it’s in the rough, they may try moving it closer to the fairway.

While it’s sometimes hard to tell if a ball has been moved, paying close attention to where it initially landed can help you catch someone in the act.

4. Improving Their Score By Removing Penalty Strokes

After hitting their ball into a water hazard or out of bounds, some cheaters will simply pick up their ball and move it to where they think it would have landed if it hadn’t gone astray.

This obviously gives them an advantage over honest golfers who have to take penalty strokes as outlined by the rules of golf.

5. Taking Mulligans

A “mulligan” is when a golfer takes an extra shot without counting it against their score. Some golfers allow their friends to take mulligans, but others do so without asking.

Mulligans are technically against the rules of golf, so if you see someone taking one without asking, they’re cheating. It’s often hard to tell if someone has taken a mulligan unless you’re keeping track of their shots yourself, so pay close attention if you suspect someone of doing this.

6. Purposely Missing Putts

This one is mainly seen in friendly games where players are keeping score but not playing for money. In these situations, some players will purposely miss short putts to keep their score lower than it otherwise would be.

While this might not seem like much of an advantage, it can actually make a big difference when competing against friends with similar handicaps.

7. Fudging The Numbers

At the end of the round, some golfers will “fudge” the numbers on their scorecard to make their score look better than it actually was. This is especially common when players are betting on the game or trying to qualify for a tournament.

While fudging the numbers might not seem like cheating, it’s actually against the rules of golf and can get you disqualified if caught.

8. Grounding your club in the sand trap

This is a common one that people do to try and get themselves out of a tough lie. When your ball lands in the sand trap, you are not allowed to ground your club in the sand before hitting the ball. By doing so, you are giving yourself a much better chance of hitting the ball out of the trap and avoiding penalty strokes.

9. Hitting from the wrong tee box


This is another common one that people do to try and give themselves an advantage. If you are playing on a course that has different tee boxes for different skill levels, you are supposed to hit from the tee box that corresponds to your skill level.

However, many people will hit from the forward tee boxes regardless of their skill level in order to make the course easier and give themselves a better chance of scoring well.

10. Taking an unplayable lie

When your ball lands in a spot where it is impossible to hit it, you are allowed to take an unplayable lie. This means that you can take a one-stroke penalty and then drop the ball within two club lengths of where it originally landed.

However, many people will take advantage of this rule and drop their ball in a much more favorable spot, which is not allowed.

11. Hitting from out of bounds

If your ball lands out of bounds, you are supposed to take a one-stroke penalty and then hit your next shot from where the previous shot landed. However, many people will try to hit their next shot from where they think the ball went out of bounds, which is not allowed.

12. Hitting from a water hazard

If your ball lands in a water hazard, you are supposed to take a one-stroke penalty and then hit your next shot from where the previous shot landed. However, many people will try to hit their next shot from the water hazard, which is not allowed.

13. Using extra clubs

Carrying extra clubs is generally not allowed, unless you are specifically allowed to do so by the tournament rules. However, many people will try to sneak an extra club or two into their bag, which can give them an advantage.

14. Altering your equipment

Altering your equipment is not allowed in golf. This includes things like changing the length of your clubs, altering the weight of your clubs, or changing the grip on your clubs. Doing so gives you an unfair advantage over other players and can get you disqualified from a tournament if you are caught.

15. Teeing off out of turn

mulligan is when you take a do-over on a shot. Many people will try to take mulligans in order to improve their score, but this is not allowed. If you are caught taking a mulligan, you will be penalized.

16. Slow Play

Slow play is when you take too long to hit your shots lot of people try to take advantage of the fact that there is no time limit in golf by taking their sweet time between shots. This can be incredibly frustrating for other players and is generally considered to be bad etiquette. If you are caught taking too long to hit your shots, you may be asked to leave the course.

17. Cap scores at a triple bogey

triple bogey is the worst score you can make on a hole, so capping your score at a triple bogey means that you will never score worse than a triple bogey on any given hole. This can be a helpful way to improve your score, as it ensures that you will never get too far behind.

My own story about golf cheating

We had been playing golf together for years and never once had anyone accused my buddy of cheating. But that didn’t stop us from having a little fun with him when we caught him in the act.

It all started on a beautiful Saturday morning. We were playing at our usual course, and my buddy was having a terrible round. He was hitting the ball all over the place and losing lots of balls in the water hazards.

But the real kicker was when he hit his ball into a nasty bunker right next to the green. Instead of playing from the bunker, he decided to move the ball to a better lie on the grass. I’m not sure if he thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did. And we weren’t happy about it.

So, as a playful act of revenge, we kicked his ball a couple of feet away from the hole on the green when he wasn’t looking. He thought he was going crazy!


Cheating can take many forms on the golf course, from hiding extra balls in the bushes to moving your ball to a better lie after hitting it. But don’t worry – with a bit of vigilance, you can easily catch anyone who tries to cheat their way through a game of golf.

If you’re a beginner, you might not even be aware of some of the ways people cheat. But now that you know what to look for, you can be sure to play by the rules and enjoy the game the way it was meant to be played.

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