As a permanent amateur golfer, I can play as good as I want to and not have to worry about ticking off a sponsor. I like to play for cash, but I do it against whoever I get paired up with. When we are waiting in line to tee off at the first hole, I will strike up a conversation with my mark (partner).
I will ask him if he has a handicap, and I usually reply to whatever they answer with ‘my handicap is my golf swing…’
After a few minutes, I ask them if they want to make the game a little more interesting. They usually respond negatively. Once in a while I find a cocky golfer, who wants to bet on the outcome of 18 holes, each 9 holes and on each individual hole. I enjoy those, because I can usually play just good enough to beat the wallet off of those guys.
When playing for money, you have to get into the other guy’s head. Make them think they are better than they are, then irritate them into making mistakes. At the same time, I will typically drink my tequila shots whenever I lose a hole and only offer some to the mark if they look at it longingly… actually, I usually will lose the first couple holes and take my shots – then when I win the next one, I pour one for them and if they don’t take it, I start with the teasing about how they want me to have the advantage.
“I seem to shoot better when I start figuring out which ball to hit. When I only see one, my shots always seem to go to the left.”
It works. By the 9th hole, I have a pretty nice stash of cash in my pocket and the mark is unable to hold their putter straight.
But I have found the fun in teasing golfers who are not even in my party. It never fails that either the party in front of me or the one immediately behind me comments on the gator head protruding from the front of my golf cart. (I mounted the stuffed gator head about 3 years ago when I found it in a yard sale… an instant conversation starter) They start with “are you a Gator Fan?”
“Only when they eat golfers…”
That gets their ire up, and eventually they want to place a wager on who will survive the 15th hole. I counter with a wager on who wins the 18 holes…
Of course, I don’t leave them alone during the balance of the day. When they are in front, I aim for their cart on the tee shot. I can usually bank one off the roof and get an extra 20 yards. It totally ruins their concentration and they fall behind… unless they run over my ball and make it impossible to find.
The guys behind me will typically get the show. I will play so slow that they end up asking to play through (where I can get target practice) or they start bouncing their shots off my cart and into the woods. Either way, I tend to win.
But the time I really lost my cool was when someone poured a bottle of Habanero Hellfire in my tequila bottle… I had already had three shots, so at first I didn’t feel the slow burn in my throat. But when I lifted my leg to cut a really loud one while the party in front of me was putting, I set fire to the seat (of the cart and my pants). I howled for about 10 minutes and dragged my behind through the high grass. I figured out who had done it by the unbridled laughter coming from the green.
That was the week I started carrying spare pants with me in my golf bag.