Let’s face it. Golf is frustrating on the best of days. Tune in to a tour event on any given weekend and you will see a plethora of bad breaks that take the game from “difficult” to “effing impossible”.  And these are professional golfers! If the golf gods can get under the skin of these well-tuned machines, what in the name of Old Tom Morris is the lowly Hack supposed to do?  Here are five golf micro-cheats (micro-hacks) to help make the game more manageable for the average weekend duffer. And if these don’t do it for you, remember that there is room for a case of Busch Light in the battery compartment of your E-Z-GO.

Play the Ball Where (you decide) It Lies

Along with frustrating, golf is also expensive.  Those greens fees you are paying go toward the maintenance of the course, so if your ball comes to rest on a bad lie is that really your fault?  Of course not. It’s pretty clear that the overworked grounds crew simply didn’t have the time to mark that divot or tree root as “ground under repair”, so take the relief that you know you are entitled to, find a fluffy patch of the fairway, and continue on about your business.

The Foot Wedge

Long known as the hacks best friend, the foot wedge is the quintessential 15th club.  Picture this. You hit what you think is a great drive, but when you get up to the ball, it has rolled under a thorny, ill-placed shrub.  In the words of Judge Smails, “you were clearly interfered with.” With one discreet sweep of your leg, your ball is back where it belongs and you are free to continue with your round.  You know it probably hit a sprinkler head anyway. 

One Foot Out of Bounds

In a similar situation to the above example, you hit a great drive only to find that it “appears” to have rolled out of bounds.  Ask yourself, is it less than 12 inches out? If so, I say you must treat it as in-play. Most probably your ball hit a man-made structure to end up there, and if you get relief from the structure you most certainly should get relief from any misfortune the structure caused.  Also, those O.B. stakes aren’t set in stone. They probably are moved by the guy on the mower. You shouldn’t be punished because the guy put it back in the wrong spot. Play on.

The After Bogie-Putt Gimme 

We’ve all been there. You are standing over a 3 footer for bogey and you decide to put it firmly in the back of the cup to take out the break.  The ball catches the lip and rockets five feet past the hole. In my opinion, the next putt is good. Why is that? At this point you are mad and you smack the double bogey putt one-handed. That putt ALWAYS goes in, so why waste daylight?  Pick it up, write it down, and move on.

Free Drop From All Bunkers

 While this might at first seem controversial, I think you will come around to my way of thinking.  Bunkers are a farce perpetrated on the golfing community. While architects will tell you they are an essential part of the game, it is clear to see they were invented to save the course money in mowing, watering, and chemical spraying.  No one should be punished for these miserly tactics. Also, the lazy guy in the group in front of you didn’t bother raking the trap, and now you are sitting in a size 13 crater. Employ your 16th club (handwedge) and go about your business.

I truly believe that by employing these simple, and certainly justifiable, mini-cheats, golf will continue to thrive and be more enjoyable for all. 

Remember, it’s YOUR time and YOUR money. Don’t let some long-dead snobs ruin it for you.