Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sandbaggers !!

I know this is going to be a sore subject for most of you, but it has to be put out there. What kills me is that day after day, we keep talking about it.

The Urban Dictionary defines a sandbagger as : a person who pads a handicap or acts as if he/she is at a lower skill level than he/she actually is so he/she can achieve better during competition that's handicapped or by skill level.

I just took over my Men's Club Tournament Director position. It only took one tournament for me to start hearing about the "Sandbaggers". You know, the guy who play 5 days a week, has a 21 handicap and shoots net 62 in tournaments. Or the guy that carries a 5 handicap and shoots rounds of 68 during the week, but never puts his scores in the computer. Or even the idiot that claims he is a 3 handicap, and couldn't break 80 if his life depended on it.

What to do? We can't take them out behind the cart barn and shoot em. We make a big deal about it when giving out the prizes at tournaments, but they just don't seem to be bothered.
I think it just comes down to an issue of integrity and honesty. They have none. They only care about winning, at all costs, even if everybody wants to ring their necks.

I don't understand it, but I never have. A long time ago I was the Handicap Chairman for a Men's Club. Way before we had GHIN or computers to load handicaps. We had a sign in sheet in the pro shop, if you were a member, you signed in before playing. The pro printed out a huge computer print out of everyone's handicaps on a dot matrix printer once a month. After you played, you wrote your score on the print out. Once a week, I would go to the pro shop and take the sign in sheets from the week, and compare them to what was listed on the print out. If you signed in to play golf, but failed to post your score on the print out, you got a 72 posted. At first, it was like being a wanted man. I had to be careful around the clubhouse, you never knew when a shanked 9 iron might be headed your way. But, after a couple of months of whining, they got it. They made sure to post their scores, no problem. Of course, they still sandbagged, but they knew someone was watching them.

What happens at your course? What's the best way to take care of this annoying issue? Does anybody really care?


dan said...

By giving them a 72 if they did not record their score was a brilliant idea. I run a 9 hole KoC league and when we have Scramble tournaments, the 'big hitters' want to team together. I fixed their little red wagon. We all started out from the middle Ts. If a 4some got a birdie, they had to start hitting from the back Ts until they got a bogie. They could then move up to the middle Ts until they got another birdie. It worked out well and we had scores from -2 to +2. Dan/dits4golf

Hooked On Golf Blog said...
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Hooked On Golf Blog said...

I'm the president of my men's club. I wrote a program on my computer and I manually punch in each player's scores every week. So we can't have sandbaggers, unless they've recently joined and they haven't established a club handicap yet.

We had a guy here in town at a state tournament who was a 15 handicap. In a TOUGH state tourney, under pressure, he shot a gross 68 (net 53). Talk about a sandbagger. I read that the odds of someone bettering their handicap by that many strokes were over 900,000/1.

Ken said...

I was teh Handicap Chairman at our club for 7 years. The first order of business was to deal with the exact issue you mention. We instituted a "Tournament Points System" whereby, based on your finish position in a series of tournaments, you were assigned Tournament Points. Predicated on the number of tournaments you play in coupled with the points you accrued, there would be a reduction to your handicap for subequent tournaments entered. These points stay with you for a period of 2 yers, so it really had an effect on the "baggers".