Golfer’s Guide to Sandbagging
One of the great luxuries of being a teacher is that you get to enjoy your summer without the daily stress of students. One of the pitfalls is that your cabbage crop is never very plentiful. Teachers are constantly looking for ways to increase revenue. The easiest solution is to pick up a second job for those student free months. The line of work I decided to pursue was one in the golf industry as a lovely front desk worker. Little did I know that this job would require me to become a meteorologist, equipment specialist and mind reader. No, I do not know when the rain is going to stop. Nobody has turned in your sand wedge. And it is much easier for me to schedule a tee time when you tell me when you want to golf.
Besides the occasional annoying customer, the job does come with some pretty sweet benefits. Discounts on golf, gear and booze. Unlimited range balls and first pick through the recycled balls found by our grounds crew. My bag is stacked with Pro V1’s and Z-Stars as a result. It hasn’t helped my game much, but golf is more about having sweet gear than it is shooting low. The biggest benefit though is all of the tips I have received from the regulars. It is amazing just how many great, world class golfers there are at the club where I work. Even as they are walking two fairways over to find their drive, they are gracious enough to give you some pointers. Talk about class. Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned through my years at the front desk is the art of sandbagging. Make no mistake: sandbagging IS an art. I am here to share the wisdom I have picked up to help you become a world-class sandbagger at your club.
Step One – Become a decent golfer
In order to be a successful sandbagger, you need to be a decent golfer. If you are not, you either need to begin practicing or look for a different career.
Step Two – Become a member at a golf course.
Most courses offer season passes and memberships. One, if not both, of these are required in order to participate in that course’s Men’s Day (or Women’s Day. Ladies you can sandbag too!). Make sure the course has a weekly league before signing up. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time.
Step Three – Get rid of your conscious
Great handicappers lost theirs a long time ago. You need to follow suit. What is more important anyways? Playing with honor and dignity, or earning $10 in pro shop credit each week? For a great sandbagger, it is always about that pro shop credit.
Step Four – Establish your Handicap
Once you are a member, you will need to get a GHIN number and card. This is where you post your scores to establish your handicap. If you already have a handicap established, your path to becoming a sandbagger is a little tougher, but still possible. It takes 10 posts to establish your first handicap. This is where you need to be smart. You do not want to post scores that are too low, but you also do not want to post scores that are too high. If you are a 20+ handicap and start posting birdies on Men’s Day, that’s going to throw up some red flags. Post the scores that are above your average, but not horrendous. Avoid too many triple digits. Also use the weather to your advantage. Golf when the wind is howling. There is nothing that helps a sandbagger more than a good excuse. Once your handicap is established, you are ready to take Men’s Day by storm.
Step Five – Golf with other sandbaggers.
If you have buddies who sandbag, this step is easy. If you don’t, finding a sandbagger or two at your club shouldn’t be difficult. This is a key step though. If you golf with someone who has a conscious, changing that 5 to a 4 becomes really challenging. You need to make sure you golf with people who won’t question your score. And remember, anything within 10 feet is a gimme.
Step Six – Choose your words wisely.
When posting your scores on the Skins or Deuce pot sheet, make sure to tell the front desk person just how great your round was. Use phrases like “That had to be the best round of my life” or “I couldn’t believe how hot my putter was today.” You need to have a laundry list of comments on file because if you make the same ones every week, eventually people will catch on. Make sure to tell as many people as you can about your great round, but don’t forget to talk about your bad rounds too. You need to make it known that you are not a good golfer. It is also important to talk in detail. Make sure people know exactly how every shot went. This increases the chances of them checking out on the conversation and makes them less likely to question you.
A couple of other pieces of advice before you begin your journey:
- Avoid tournaments. Scores in tournaments are multiplied by 10, and thus all that hard work you put in to establish your above average handicap is wasted.
- Mix in a few bad rounds. Some weeks you might have to bite the bullet and not post any skins or deuces. Better yet, avoid signing up occasionally. Say you forgot your wallet or something.
- Establish a rotation with your fellow sandbaggers. Nothing is sketchier than when groups of hacks all post great scores.
Hopefully you find these tips useful and you can have your greatest summer of sandbagging yet. Remember, success is 90% preparation, 10% perspiration. Happy Golf season!