The rest of us, meantime, will keep trying to beat our buddies at our local clubs.
One way to do this is to shoot under par. But an easier way is to get under their skin.
Because all is fair in love and war and match play, here are 5 perfectly legal — if not entirely upstanding — tactics designed to throw your opponents off their games.
1. Talk to their ball
There are two types of weirdos in this world: People who talk to golf balls, and people who get annoyed by people who talk to golf balls. The latter demographic comes easily unhinged. Repeat after us: Sit down! Fly, ball! Grow legs! Spin!
2. Slow play them
Pace off every yardage to the nearest sprinkler head, then triple check the distance with your laser. Read putts from 16 angles. Toss a meadow’s worth of grass to gauge the wind. It might take a while, but you’ll win the match, even as they lose their mind.
3. Ask innocent questions
Pretend that you’re a cop in a police procedural, posing fake-friendly questions meant to soften up your suspect. But instead of saying, “You must be thirsty. Can I get you something to drink?” you might offer, “Hmm, I never noticed that. Have you always cupped your left wrist at the top of your swing?” Getting them to overthink can be even more effective than jangling change.
4. Act the opposite
If your opponent is the quiet type, pepper them with conversation. If they’re chatty, give them the silent treatment. In relationships, opposites attract. In matches, they result in your sweeping the skins.
5. Play gimme mind games
Don’t give them that two-footer. Not until they’ve finished lining it up, that is, at which point you can say with phony casualness, “Oh, of course that’s good.” The other option: Don’t give them that two-footer, period. Both are tried-and-true rattlers.