‘Ringers’ … regrettably, golf has its dark side

2010-02-03 00:00

DO we have too many sponsored competitions these days? Well, many gol­fers think so.

The bigger the prizes, the bigger the number of players in the field, and in that field there will be some golfers who are regular winners of big prize events.

In the UK, they are called “bandits”; in the United States they are “sandbaggers”. In South Africa, we have a few descriptive names for these golfers, most of which would not be acceptable in print. Therefore, in this column, we will call them “rin­gers”.

Firstly, the “ringer” is predominantly male and he intentionally doctors his handicap, by whatever means, in an effort to keep his handicap as high as possible. This is in contrast to a normal golfer and not in keeping with the spirit of the game.

The “ringer” knows exactly what to do when his partner’s ball is a metre from the hole for two on a par-four, where he is allocated a shot. The “ringer” will ensure that he scores at least a bogey. The “ringer” rarely plays in individual competitions, preferring to play in either alliance or better ball events. The alliance is ideal for this fellow because he knows that an intentional three-putt and bad shot can be made more often in this format.

A piece of advice: never allow a “ringer” to mark the card in an alliance competition. The underlying reason for all this is the desire to win big prizes. There will be times, however, when the “ringer” plays well and, try as he might, he is unable to doctor his score. So, he conveniently forgets to enter his score. This is against the rules and is considered cheating. Even though “ringers” are very much in the mino­rity, just about every golf and country club in the country has these individuals and, make no mistake, they are known to the members. Golf is a noble and honest game but, regrettably, it does have its dark side.

Last weekend’s results:

Victoria Country Club held a fourball better ball competition on Saturday. The winners on 42 points were P. Dewes and S. Symes. Second were L. Collins and S. Craig on 41 points and third spot went to D. Mullis and M. Stone with 39 points.

Maritzburg Golf Club held an Individual and Combined Stableford with drawn partners.

In first place on a three-way countout was I. Allbon with 42 points. Second place went to C. Buxton-Foreman and third was T. Steele.

C. Buxton-Foreman and H. Bowler won the combined Stableford with 77 points and in second place were C. Moody and C. Severn with 75 points.

From the 19th hole:

Those three old characters, Sam, Harry and Fred, were sitting together in the clubhouse after their weekly game of golf. These are some of the things they were overheard saying to each other:

Sam said, “I was in hospital last week and after two days, I took a turn for the nurse.”

Harry said, “Hospitals are terrible places, they wake you up at three in the morning to give you a sleeping pill.”

Fred said, “A hospital is a place where people who are run down generally wind up.”

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