Why do people cheat in a scramble in golf?
Golf Culture

Why do people cheat in a scramble in golf?

If you've played in a golf tournament with a scramble format, you've no doubt seen a winning team come with a score that is, frankly, unbelievable. Everyone in the tournament knows that score probably isn't legitimate, and the people who turn it in are putting up a mild ruse that they actually produced that score.

There's really nothing anyone can do about it except to accept that there were some scramble shenanigans and move on.

But, really, why do people cheat in any team golf competition?

Why do people cheat in team golf competitions?

Whether it's a scramble, shamble or a tournament where players turn in multiple net best-ball scores, there's almost always some kind of score manipulation by some competitors. They're typically the ones most desperate to win and seek the adulation of others, even if it comes at the cost of the integrity of the competition and the other golfers who kept honest -- or closer to honest -- scores throughout the day.

The motivation to cheat might be glory or the prizes available to winners, but the easiest answer to why people cheat in team golf competitions is that they can.

The problem with golf tournaments where teams go off in individual foursomes is that there's no one walking around with that group to police their score and if they're playing according to the Rules of Golf and the competition. If there's no one there to stop someone from playing honest golf and keeping an honest score, there will inevitably be groups that choose to cheat. In fact, as the old saying goes, a winning scramble team writes down their scores before they ever hit a shot.

For most people who play in these kinds of events, though, the point isn't winning. A scramble or a shamble is a fun format for fundraising tournaments and team-building events, so the organizers figure the point is having fun with friends and family as opposed to taking down the competition. If that means, then, that there are some bad apples who choose to cheat in hopes of scoring the win or a share of prizes -- which usually aren't huge for a scramble -- then so be it.

How can team golf cheaters be stopped?

The odds of a golf tournament putting measures in place to stop teams from cheating is slim and none, unless there's huge cash prizes involved. Golf tournaments could have a scorekeeper travel with each group and keep score honestly for them. Tournaments could place marshals on each hole to watch for cheating and force players to keep honest scores. However, with the focus of these events being fun, having a minder in place is likely a detriment to that mission.

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