One hard and fast rule that I try to live by is that any chance to pull a good prank on a buddy should never be passed up.
Fortunately, there are usually a few golden opportunities prior to teeing off. These are tried-and-true golf pranks guaranteed to get a laugh.
I’ll issue a word of caution: these ideas should be reserved for very close friends: not your boss, and certainly not your host or someone who’s paid for your round.
If you’re straddling the fence of appropriateness, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution.
However, if you’ve been the subject of a prior prank or you know the target well enough, then the gloves are off!
Here’s how to give your friend(s) a real kick in the crotch when they least expect it.
This is an easy one. After your playing partners have met you at the range or the first tee (and have already operated their cart), just turn their key to the ‘off’ position. It will take them a while to figure out why the cart isn’t working. Repeat.
Either at the practice range or near the first tee, simply loosen the vinyl strap that holds a player’s bag to the back of a cart. When the cart lurches forward, the clubs will fall off the back.
Yeah, I know, it might damage the equipment, but it’s hilarious. The player whose gear falls off gets embarrassed because it’s loud and they’ll think it was their fault.
Do this repeatedly throughout the round until the sucker catches on. Eventually, they will.
If a player in your group has an embarrassing nickname or is sensitive about a common mispronunciation of their name, give the person in the Golf Shop a buck or two to announce your group to the first tee using the nickname.
This is an adaptation of the age-old salt shaker gag. At a course that has sand-n-seed containers on each cart, simply unscrew the tops so that when the container is picked up the contents will spill everywhere. Childish, I know, but funny.
If you’re walking, try to sneak something heavy into the bottom of your playing partner’s golf bag. Maybe a five-pound weight, a handful of rocks, a sand-n-seed bottle, seven beers or a human head. Whatever you can find.
The Driver/Putter Switch-a-Roo
Take your buddy’s brand-new $900 Super-Duper-El Guapo driver out of his bag and hide it in yours, then replace it with an old beat-up persimmon from the lost-and-found barrel in the cart barn.
Be sure to put the Super-Duper-El Guapo headcover back on the replacement. When it’s unsheathed, your victim’s heart will stop for as long as you can keep a straight face. This can also be done with a putter, or better yet, both.
Getting the Shaft
This is the classic golf prank. Before you leave the course, take all the clubs out of your target’s golf bag and replace them upside down – clubhead end first.
Stuff as many as possible into the smallest opening and give each a twist. It’s nearly impossible to pull the clubs out because they get so tangled. Hee-hee.
Remove all regular golf balls from your male buddy’s bag and replace them with pink ones. Hopefully, he won’t discover the gag until just before he’s teeing off in a semi-serious tournament.
Or even better, just before he’s teeing off in a semi-serious tournament with a shotgun start and he’s as far away from the clubhouse as geographically possible. Now that’s good humor.
One time I cut out a magazine picture of LPGA legend Laura Davies (about the same size as the top of my co-worker’s driver) and made copies.
Whenever possible, I taped it to the top of his club so when he removed the headcover she was staring up at him. Use thick, super-adhesive, packing tape so it doesn’t come off very easily.
Here’s an advanced twist to Laura Davies. Tape a picture of your buddy’s mom (or wife) to your own club. Then act surprised and blame somebody else.
“Wow! Who taped this picture of my prom date to my driver?!! Not funny guys...”
Where’s the Beef?
At the end of the day, offer to load the clubs into your rig for the ride home. Slip a tightly wrapped package of raw hamburger (or old shrimp shells, or something equally smelly) into your target’s bag. If you’re lucky, he won’t find it before he can smell it.
An advanced maneuver is to prepare two smelly payloads. Hide one in the main pocket where it will be obviously found after a cursory search.
Then hide the ninja package where it won’t be discovered. They’ll find the first one, quit looking, and just blame it for the ‘lingering’ stench.