By Dave Wells
” A player’s handicap isn’t as important as his love for the game.” Pete Dye, Golf Course Designer
As all golfers know, the term “Sandbagger” is used to describe a golfer who is actually better at golf than a handicap would indicate. The golfer’s abilities are such that a lower handicap might be in order.
NOW, let me share with you some funny sandbagging stories that I have witnessed during my many years of enjoying the game of golf.
The Funniest Sandbagger Story I Witnessed
From 1980 to 1990, I had the great fortune of playing in a golf tournament in Hawaii at the Honolulu International Golf Club. The tournament was sponsored by a Hawaiian broker and It was held in February each year – nice.
Suppliers participated from all over the world. At each tee, each golfer would receive a tee prize, i.e. sleeve of golf balls, suntan item, golf hat, and on, and on. At the end of the 18 holes, each participant had a sack full of goodies. It was a fun tournament with fantastic prizes for winners, including TV sets, golf clubs, and trips for the winning teams based on a ‘Two Best Ball’ score out of each foursome with full handicaps.
The 2nd place team came in at -20 and the 3rd place team was -16. However, the most egregious case of “Sandbagging” that I’ve ever seen was when the winning team scored -36. Yep, that’s right! Thirty-six (36) under par in a two best ball format for only 18 holes. UNHEARD OF, IMPOSSIBLE.
So what did the tournament director do. It was unbelievable.
The members of the 2nd place team each won a set of golf clubs. Players on the 3rd place team each took home a TV set. And then for the big finale!
The team with the 36 under par was announced. They ascended to the stage, smiling and shaking hands with each other. They were given only moderate applause. The tournament director then announced that a special prize would be brought in for each of the winners.
Everyone looked toward the door. In came four golf course maintenance workers, each pushing a full wheel barrel of sand. They deposited the sand at the feet of each winner. The tournament director came forward and said, “Everyone have a safe trip home and thanks for your participation.” That was the greatest sandbagger prize that I ever saw.