NCGA Golf

Fall 2018

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Golf has been played with peripheral stakes since Scotland's Old Tom Morris and his son, Young Tom, went at it with primitive clubs and stitched-up balls over 12 holes for a wee dram. Some side cheese on a match went next level when the hand- icap system was devised, allowing players of vastly different abilities to compete on a level playing field in a way they never could in other sports. For mere mortals who don't get the rush of striking shots in attempts to land seven-figure winner's checks on Sunday afternoons, competing with a little some- thing extra on the line—say, your regular $5 weekend club Nassau—can get the blood pumping, the adrenaline running and can tighten the larynx down the stretch. Ever stand over a 3-footer to win the day? A little action makes things a lot more interesting for players of all abilities, even if you're just playing for fun. This writer cut his competitive teeth with a group called The Forty Thieves at what, in the late 1970s, was a brick-hard muni called Dennis Pines, situated not far from the elbow in the seaside arm that is Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The group comprised most every walk of life, from plumbers to pilots, and everyone tossed in a few Shekels and played games such as two-ball best ball or quota. But nothing beat the rush of trying to beat darkness following nine "warmup" holes of the spring Thursday night Twilight League, which served as a precursor to the evening's real action. The Twilight winners having been de- clared, 12-15 players would sprint to the 10th tee, bags clanking, for our version of cross-country golf—hop-scotching across fairways to faraway greens and delighting in hacking the traditional routing. By the time the group lumbered down the long, par-4 18th in complete darkness, we searched for drives the way 5-year-olds hunt down eggs on Easter morning. The game was called Doggy-Doggy, why, I never knew. Maybe it's because two "dogs," or players would hit simultaneously from each end of the tee to speed up play. A dozen players would be done with tee shots in 3 minutes. Skins, which normally paid $5 per player, were quite rare, as the game was two-tie, all tie. To land a Skin, especially to an impressionable high schooler about to set sail to Florida for college, was akin to hitting the daily num- ber in Lotto. Golf has its usual stand-by games— Nassau, Scramble, Sixes—and they're all fun. Variety is nice, breathing new life into longtime circles. We have Wolf, a golf betting format to mix up your usual week- end foursome. In this game, the designated "wolf" on a hole gets to choose whether to partner with another player in a 2 vs. 2 matchup or they can go lone wolf and take on the group 1 vs. 3. With either choice, the low score for that hole wins. The first step in playing this game is to establish the bet- ting amount and the tee shot order before the round. Typically done by flipping a tee, the first player will hit first on No. 1, the second player will hit first on No. 2, and so on for the remainder of the round. It's important to keep the teeing order the same because the wolf will make his choice based on tee-shot performance. Depend- ing on when a wolf makes his partner choice, the betting amount for a hole will change. Assuming the betting amount is $1, if the wolf on a hole is feeling confident, he can choose to go lone wolf before hitting his tee shot and the 1 vs. 3 matchup for that hole is tripled to $3. If he hits his tee shot and then decides to go lone wolf, the hole is worth $2 in a 1 vs. 3 match. If the wolf decides to choose a partner, a 2 vs. 2 match ensues with the winners both taking $1. A partner can only be picked immediately after the potential partner hits a tee shot and before the next player plays. Finally, for the teeing order on the final two holes, it's typical for the last-place player to hit first to give them a chance to go lone wolf and cut down on their losses. 28 FALL 2018 | NCGA.ORG Two-person Best Ball because I enjoy the team aspect. — J. Pekkai Shamble because you take the best drive and after that, you play your own ball. — M. Angelo Las Vegas Chip Game because any level can play; you're rewarded for good play and penalized for mistakes. — R. Rodriguez Skins with low gross and low net, so low handicap players are not at a disadvantage giving up strokes. — P. Benner Bingo, Bango, Bongo because all play- ers, regardless of skill level, have a chance to win points on each hole. — anonymous Stableford because you get rewarded more for a birdie than a par and bogey doesn't hurt as much as a double- bogey – good solid play wins the game! — P. Goodwin Three-Club tournament because it is real challenging! — D. Mainville Roll'em because it is easy to learn, handicaps are incorporated and there are risks and rewards. — R. Morgan FORUM Members What's Your Favorite Golf Game and Why?

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