This column spends enough time and space lamenting the lesser aspects of this great game, so this month we lose the cynicism, turn the tables and focus on what club golf gets right.
1. Favouring Stableford events
OK, so sometimes too many Stableford events can become tedious and repetitive, but gravitating away from playing strokeplay most weeks in fields of 200-plus players has saved all of us collective eons.
2. Creating pennant and inter-club events for all handicap levels
Yes, major pennants will – and should – always be the focus, but few 20-handicappers can aspire to be part of the action. Which is why pennant golf for all handicap levels is only fair. Better golfers might scoff at holes being won with double-bogeys, but it matters not to those doing the winning.
3. Implementing A Reserve grade
Much like the 20-markers above, a 10-handicapper is no hope of rolling scratch markers in the club championships, yet he/she is most definitely not a B grader. Adding ‘A Reserve’ gives the good-but-not-brilliant band of golfers something to strive for.
4. Playing pairs and team events
Especially if held simultaneously with a singles event, it artfully ties in individual and team components. Some state associations don’t permit fourball events to be held in conjunction with a singles competition (the rules of both differ subtly), although Golf NSW certainly does. It’s the right decision, especially in this incoming era of less rigid rules. Pairing two events in one round is golf’s version of two bites of the cherry.
5. Holding nearest-the-pin competitions.
Your score might have gone the way of the dodo by the fourth hole, but with one sweet swing at the right time you can win more golf balls than the player who grafted and ground their way to 36 Stableford points. Don’t call it unfair, call it redemption.
6. Displaying honour boards.
“Getting letters” is the other term, that exulted moment when your ace or Cock of the Walk victory is annotated in the annals of your club’s history for all to see and is unable to be scratched off.
7. Issuing medals, trophies and prize vouchers.
The fruits of our labour. It’s a medal or mug once a month at most clubs, trophies scattered throughout the year and vouchers for use in-house almost everywhere. Aside from the satisfaction of playing well and perhaps getting your fingertips into your mates’ wallets, it’s recognition from your club that, hey, you done good.
8. Erecting a halfway house
That moment when you accept you’re already well over your handicap, miles over par and with no chance of redeeming the round. You’re also hungry, thirsty and perhaps both – before realising a small hut is appearing in the distance, one filled with an assortment of goodies to get you through the final nine holes. Suddenly that double-bogey doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
9. Member discounts on beverages
Because why should we have to pay full whack for a few commiseratory ales after having our golf souls destroyed for five hours?
Did we leave out one?
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