Cheat at golf with this new fashionable “projector hat” decoy golf ball headwear! Consult your haberdasher/milliner today!


In golf, a player must find their golf ball within a certain time limit. According to U.S. Golf Association “Rule 18.2,” this is 3 minutes: after that, a one-stroke penalty is levied.


A golf ball that lands in a “normal” spot on a course (i.e. not way out in the tall grass) is usually easy to spot, so it’s unlikely that a player would require 3 or more minutes in order to find their ball.

Unless, of course, there were dozens of (what appears to be) decoy golf balls strewn about the course: then, a player might consume all of their time walking around the course checking each decoy ball before they find the real one.

Since it’s not considered acceptable for a golfer to just dump a box of, say, 100 actual decoy golf balls on the course, we will use a projector-based system instead (Figure 1).

Fig. 1: Left: in normal situations, a golf ball that lands on the fairway is easy to spot. Right: the cheating player (A) is wearing a hat with some high-intensity projectors on it. The projectors project a set of bright golf-ball-sized circles onto the grass (B and C) that hopefully look reasonably close to an actual golf ball, at least at a distance.

A golf-cheating projector hat concept is shown in Figure 2. Essentially, it’s a set of extremely bright flashlights on articulated robotic arms, which can swivel so that each flashlight continues to point at its projected “golf ball” decoy even if the cheating golfer turns their head.

Fig. 2: Each of these flashlights (on “Inspector Gadget” / “Doctor Octopus (Ph.D.)”–style robot arms) can project a single decoy golf ball image. The hat is both functional and fashionable. Since it’s a top hat, people might also assume that the wearer is extremely classy Old Money and would definitely be above cheating in golf.


Keep your eyes out in professional golf tournaments: this technology might be adopted sooner than you’d think!

PROS: Brings a new level of underhanded bad-sportsmanship to an activity that has very few ways for players to directly feud.

CONS: Since it’s impossible to get a white (golf-ball-colored) reflection by projecting a light onto a green surface, these decoy images might not be sufficiently convincing to consume three entire minutes of golf-ball–search time.