11 ways to inflate your handicap that are 100% legal

January 16, 2020

Look, I’m not one who tries to fudge the handicap numbers. Not my thing. But I’ve met quite a few sandbaggers over the years, and there’s undoubtedly an art to it. So, if your goal is to…manage…your handicap situation this upcoming season, here’s a few, completely legal ways do it in 2020.

1. Putt everything out

Practically every golfer sweeps up tap-ins that, over the course of the season, turn into two and three and four footers. But if you want a more accurate handicap, putt all those short, tickle putts out.

2. Play by all the rules

Lost a ball? Go ahead and drop one. Carve one out of bounds? Play it as a hazard. Breakfast ball off the first? All these rules-bending practices help pace of play — and also your score. Follow the rules to a tee and you’ll soon be signing for higher numbers.

3. Play in bad weather

An easy one, but probably not the most enjoyable.

4. Don’t warm-up

Just think of the first few holes as your warmup holes. Or heck, even the front nine.

5. Play O.B. properly

Similar to No. 2, but it’s worth re-emphasizing. If you think it’s OB, play a provisional. Play it as the rules state, and your score won’t thank you for it.

6. Borrow clubs

Clubs that aren’t fit to your specs, that feel uncomfortable and fly different distances than you are accustomed to requirer an adjustment period that will probably cost you a few strokes.

7. Enjoy a few beverages

Enjoy responsibly, of course. Having a few beverages while you play will certainly make the game more fun, but your game will quickly deteriorate if you’re not careful.

8. Play immediately after taking a lesson

Lessons are great. Every golfer should take lessons. But taking a lesson and then immediately trying it on the course is a disaster in the short term.

9. Forget about the target and focus on five swing thoughts instead

One or two swings thoughts is great. Three swing thoughts is pushing it. Five? An implosion waiting to happen.

10. Try hitting the ball as hard as you can

Swing speed is good. Swinging hard is good. Swinging so had that it’s out of control will tank your score, so try it, if that’s what you’re going after.

11. Never practice

Putting in the time on the range or putting green, even if it’s just for a short period, will make you a better golfer. No question. If you only play and never practice, you’ll become rusty — but you’ll still be able to get it going every now and again.

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