Category Archives: Golf Games

Select Shot Golf Tournaments … “Everyone Cheats” … Or Do They?

Photo: (pausenthrow.com)
Photo: (pausenthrow.com)

The old adage is to win a select shot golf tournament, you need: a good driver, a good iron player, a good putter, and a good cheater.

Select shot tournaments – you know the ones – where everyone hits a shot and then you pick the best shot and so on, until the ball is holed out. These tournaments are a great way to introduce new golfers to the game and a lot of fun for golfers who just love to play occasionally.

These tournaments are also an outstanding way for organizations and charities to quickly raise funds for important causes, such as the Annual Patriot Day Golf Tournament at my home course here in Michigan on Labor Day.

However, the outcomes of these tournaments have also earned the reputation as some of the most suspicious and skeptical in the game. In every one of these tournaments – and I mean every one – of the hundreds I’ve played in, there have always been whispers of cheating, the “no way” assertions when low scores come in, and sometimes (especially after alcohol is introduced) even outright accusations of cheating.

DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY CHEAT?

Photo: (Shutterstock)
Photo: (Shutterstock)

But, the real question is, do people actually cheat?

There will be a lot of “YES” answers to this question, but I’m thinking the answer, almost all the time, is a resounding “No”.

Believing everyone is honest in life (even golfers), I still have to admit I find myself having doubts at times when it comes to select shot tournaments. I wonder why myself and other golfers are so quickly pulled to the conclusion that everyone else does?

Is it because those golfers aren’t as good as us? Is it because no one can shoot that low, putt that good, or drive that far? In all these years, I haven’t found the real answer, but MOST importantly, I’ve also never found anyone who had actually cheated. The “everyone cheats” facts just aren’t there in my opinion, so maybe it’s simply the type of format itself that leads to all the suspicion.

Keeping in mind most select shot tournaments are for fund raising or charity, they are also very unique in trying to raise additional money through golf additions. We’ve all seen it … string, mulligans, foot wedges, throws, front tees, special clubs, long drives, closest to the pins, etc. These oddities are part of what makes these events special, but it also makes scoring hard to predict.

Because of this, select shot scores can vary widely, which is why I believe the acceptance of cheating has taken hold. Personally, I’ve seen 18-hole winning scores from the upper 40s all the way to the lower 60s. That’s quite a spread and is affected greatly by how the tournament is organized.

YOU CHEATED!

Photo: (advantage.edu)
Photo: (advantage.edu)

Select shot tournaments many times will also put the winners on the wrong side of the “you cheated” bandwagon. I’ve finished on winning teams where you can feel the burning hatred of the crowd when you post a low score. The unbelievable 51 on a par 72, the 58 without string. Anyone who’s played in a lot of these events knows exactly what I’m talking about and it’s tough on either side of that accusation.

You find yourself knowing you didn’t cheat, but it doesn’t matter. You know the real truth is your team’s putting got hot, or you stiffed a ton of irons, or chipped in for an eagle. You’re proud, but only for a minute, because you know your integrity and honesty are being questioned – even if silently.

Nonetheless, even after managing your way through all of that, the very next tournament, you’ll still find yourself overhearing the group who finished in the money (just ahead of you) talking about how this is only the second time they’ve played golf this season … and you walk away – disappointingly suspicious.

MOVING FORWARD

So, if the select shot format is so fraught with suspicion, why play? Well, it’s fun! It’s a different way to play golf … flat out, aggressive, and with little consequence to your game or your ego. In fact, it can be an ego boost if you’re the one hitting good shots or sinking that crucial putt.

So instead of carrying the burden of suspicion forward any longer, I decided to share some perspectives and a few stories of select shot tournaments to hopefully help in gaining back the trust and acceptance this format needs.

  1. Understand that because of the format, scores can and will be low. If string, mulligans, etc. are involved, scores will likely be low – REALLY low.
  2. Accept that teams can get hot. If a team putts well – maybe even gets en fuego with the putter – their final score will probably be lower than even they would have predicted.
  3. Three-person teams have a significant advantage if “cycling a shot” is allowed. It’s essentially like getting a mulligan every 4th shot. These three-person teams will win many tournaments and will absolutely draw the anger of many who don’t understand the extreme advantage of cycling a shot. *Many organizers no longer allow teams to cycle a shot because of the known advantage.
  4. Enjoy the tournament, congratulate the winners, and if suspicion arises, tamp it down. Remember, you didn’t cheat, so trust that they didn’t either – it was just their day.
  5. Don’t forget that most select shot tournaments are for charity or fund raising, so even if you’re not the winner, your money went towards a great cause.
  6. If you’re the winner … first, CONGRATULATIONS … second, try to enjoy the victory and don’t go silent. If anyone accuses you or questions your score, try not to get defensive and share with them how well you played. Most golfers want to believe you, but some will need to be convinced more than others.

No matter how much we’ll try not to, we’ll all probably still be guilty of being somewhat on guard and suspicious when we play in these events. They’ll always be “that team” in our minds that had no way to shoot the score they did without cheating. The world’s not perfect, but hopefully when we do have those thoughts, we can fall back on the fact that since we didn’t cheat, they didn’t either, and we can congratulate them on their success.

TWO STORIES

Photo: (symetrypublicrelations.com)
Photo: (symetrypublicrelations.com)

LESSON LEARNED: Living and playing golf in San Antonio – an awesome golf city by the way – I played in a number of select shot events. Playing in one event, my team got beat by a team sponsored by a local bar. To be fair, these guys didn’t look like they could do much of anything in golf and they would always come in with ridiculously low scores. After a particularly hot day and perhaps a few beverages, one of my teammates directly accused the other team of cheating. I knew one of the local guys and he didn’t take too kindly to the accusation (and maybe had had a few beverages himself). After breaking up their UFC press conference, we all parted ways.

The next day, I saw the local guy at the gym (he ran the gym) and he let me know he was still upset at being accused of cheating. I told him the other guy was a good guy, but we just didn’t get how their scores could be so low. So, he invited me to come out and play with them in their next outing since their normal fourth player was moving away.

The first tournament with them answered all my questions. Not overly awesome at anything, but they were great at everything – especially putting. We came in during our first tournament (string, mulligans, front tees) at 48 (yes, -24). The looks that came our way, the “no way”, “BS”, and other colorful whispers were there and quite honestly, bothered me.

I knew we didn’t cheat, but it didn’t matter and it soured the victory. I’ve done my best since then, to not sour anyone else’s.

Photo: (successyeti.com)
Photo: (successyeti.com)

HONESTY PAYS: Playing in a very recent select shot tournament, our team was absolutely on fire. We had some advantages with our two older guys getting to hit from the Gold Tees – well, because they’re old – and I mean old – like Moses old.

Anyway, we were taking advantage of their drives, sinking putts from off the green, knocking fairway shots to tap-in range; it was quite a display of golf. However, as we began to get lower and lower into the red numbers, one of the guys became concerned about all the crap we’d have to endure in the clubhouse with a score this low.

However, just as his remorse was overtaking him, he perked up and said, “I’m glad we’re playing with Larry today, because everyone will know if he’s on our team, we didn’t cheat.” It was such a matter of fact statement, that it took me off guard and was one of the highest compliments you could pay to anyone … and it also proved to be true. There were initial whispers and suspicions when we turned in our score, but after seeing Larry’s name on the board with ours, it was just congratulations.

We should all hope to live our lives in a way to have something like that said about us one day.

BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer/contributing editor at localgolfer.com since 2013. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter: @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.

Featured Image: (adminopsnet.usc.edu)

Is Golf Morphing? Check Out These Different Forms

LocalGolfer.com writer, Jack Seybold, explores golf’s metamorphosis into different forms around the globe.

Sports evolve, as cultures do, and we can witness tendrils from the stem of our beloved game of golf growing in a range of adaptations.

The sport we call soccer has its antecedents two or three centuries before Christ. Games in ancient Greece and China involved kicking a ball into an opponent’s goal, and there were indigenous games in pre-Columbian Latin America with similarities to modern soccer (or football, as it is known elsewhere the world). In the early 19th Century the idea developed (perhaps inevitably) of “football” (soccer) players at England’s Rugby College running with the ball, resulting in the sport of rugby – which on our shores eventually morphed into “American football.” Similarly, golf offshoots are developing, gaining devotees ranging from casual to professional.

Hickory Golf

hickory golf 5First, consider the back-to-the-future phenomenon of Hickory Golf. Participants are likely purists who harken back to a hickory golf 4supposed Golden Age of pre-1935 golf, or even to the modern game’s 15th-Century roots, when clubs were made with wooden shafts and heads. The Society of Hickory Golfers, founded in 2001, developed from the golf championships in the 1990’s of the Golf Collectors Society, whose members had accumulated enough dated equipment to have a go the old-fashioned way – although not risking their rare valuable specimens.

In those early days there were perhaps two dozen “hickory golfers.” Today their worldwide number has swelled into the thousands. They usually dress in period attire, and you hickory golf 8expect them to adhere to strict standards, such as scrupulously playing their ball as it lies, observing proper golf etiquette, and repairing divots and pitch marks with zen-like dedication.

hickory golf 10Rob Ahlschwede of Olympia, Washington has used only hickory clubs for a dozen years. The difference between them and modern clubs, he says, is that “the driver just does not go as far, although I still hit the hickory driver 220 more or less. But then, when I hit a modern driver–when someone lets me–I hit it about 250-70.”

Fellow Northwesterner Bill Keeler’s modern clubs are also gathering dust in the garage. “When I started playing with the hickories, my expectations were low and I found that a slower tempo was key hickory golf 9to better shot making. I can’t describe the wonderful feeling of the shaft flexing on the ‘pure’ shot!”

They are echoed by Ray Tokareff of Ashland, Oregon. “Forget distance,” he declares, and adds that playing with hickory clubs improves his modern golf game as well. “It makes me really focus, and sharpens my short game.”

The Society of Hickory Golfers seeks to “promote the experience of golf in a manner consistent with how the ‘royal hickory golf 11and ancient game’ was played in the hickory era,” and “develop and maintain equipment standards for authentic hickory play.” The organization hosts tournaments, provides a hickory golf handicapping service, and publishes a newsletter, The Wee Nip.
http://www.hickorygolfers.com/

Several manufacturers, such as Louisville Golf, Tad Moore Golf, St. Andrews Golf Co., and Play Hickory Golf, now create replica wooden-shafted clubs for use in events such as the U.S. Hickory Open (since 2008). Louisville advertizes a “starter set” of five clubs for $760, and a “tournament set” of ten clubs for $1,500. Some golf courses have hickory clubs available for rental, and manufacturers make rental sets available at tournament venues. In 2011, the first Professional Hickory Golfers Association championship was held at Temple Terrace, Florida, with a purse of $5,000.

Flogton

Quite elsewhere on the golf spectrum you find Flogton. That’s “not golf” spelled backwards. Neither royal nor ancient, it is flogton AGAotherwise known as the Alternative Golf Association, a group of Silicon Valley executives who advocate a relaxed attitude toward the rules and equipment of golf. Those for whom executive courses, pitch-and-putt courses, or even miniature golf do not sufficiently reduce the challenge of the game might take refuge in Flogton. Improve your lie, take mulligans and “gimmes,” tee the ball up anywhere on the course, use non-conforming clubs or balls, score no higher than double-bogey. Recognizing the game’s considerable challenge, Flogton’s advocates hope to stimulate participation in golf, as snowboarding boosted the sport of skiing. Less frustration, more fun.

Snow Golf

Speaking of skiing: This year marked the 31st annual snow golf tournament at Lake Tahoe’s Alpine Meadows ski resort. Participants (wearing skis) tee off on a snow golf 4series of nine white downhill “fairways,” hitting green tennis balls that won’t sink into the snow, shussing down for follow-up shots, ending in flagged circles spray-painted on the greens (well, whites). Although they keep their scores, winners are determined by a snow golf 2raffle drawing of the scorecards, and major emphasis is on the post-round party.

There is, however, a sport of snow (and ice) golf that is both old and new. In fact, Medieval Dutch artists created paintings that showed what might be the antecedent of both golf and hockey, known in Dutch as kolf. In his celebrated short story “Winter Dreams” F. Scott snow golfFitzgerald mentions playing golf with colored balls, which would be more easily spotted in snow. And in the last decade or so Canadian Tina Blomme, the “inventor” of snow golf, designed the first snow golf course next to the Ice Hotel in Quebec, and has snow golf 3attempted to “officialize” the sport. There are snow golf events (using colored golf balls) from Greenland to Argentina, and a World Championship was played in 2008 in Austria.

Boerengolf

Vacationing in Netherlands a couple of years ago I was charmed to see a curious boerengolf 4event in a pasture along the Maas River. Several groups of five young men were
swatting what looked like a volleyball, using a Dutch wooden shoe fixed on the end of a pole. It was my introduction to boerengolf 5Boerengolf (Farmers Golf). Invented by a Dutch dairy farmer, Peter Weenink, the game was his response to frustrations such as the expense of golf and the requirement in Netherlands of earning a golf certificate to be allowed on a course.

The game of Farmers Golf is very simple: “The course is a pasture, and a hole is boerengolf 7quickly made by digging a milk bucket in the ground with a large flag next to it,” says Weenink. The team that completes the hole in the fewest hits is the winner. Hazards include cows, and their droppings. There are boerengolf 8usually ten holes to a course, averaging perhaps two hundred yards. Green fees are usually from $7.50 to $12 at more than a hundred courses in Europe, mostly in Netherlands. Farmers thus make additional profit from their land, and the public has an enjoyable, boerengolf 3inexpensive, family-friendly alternative to golf – no experience necessary. The Boerengolf website claims it is the fastest growing outdoor sport in the world.

The first boerengolf club was invented by Peter Weenink’s neighbor as they were organizing for the first boerengolf tournament, a neighborhood event, on Easter of 1999. Now the clubs are made in boerengolf 2the nearby village of Beltrum, exclusively for Farmersgolf Int. by Nijhuis, the largest manufacturer of wooden shoes in the world. The ball is about eight inches in diameter and is manufactured in Pakistan. Club and ball can be purchased for about $48. No other equipment is required, although boots are recommended.

Pasture Golf

Golf played on farmland has been happening in the USA for decades now. The town of Wisdom, Montana (population about 100) has hosted the boerengolf 6quirky Cow Pasture Open on a course created on all-but-unimproved farmland once annually for nearly twenty years. Part charity fundraiser, part pasturegolf 6 pasturegolf 7 pasturegolf 8country fair, the event is a two-person scramble through unforgiving rough to offbeat hole locations – sheds, hay bales, a cattle skull. Beginners welcome.

The just-for-fun aspect of some pasture golf events is evident from the list of rules for the Second annual Cow Pasture Golf Classic in Brownwood, Texas (2010), which include: “Leave wildlife alone. Critters should not be bothered except for rattlesnakes and copperheads. Feel free pasturegolf 10to use your clubs on these (at your own risk). Bring your own ride (pickup, golf cart, mule, horse, or whatever).”
A list of “fun and affordable” pasture golf courses can be found at pasturegolf.com. pasturegolf 2The site is much less tongue-in-cheek about the pasture golf experience. “Golf as it was meant to be,” it claims, the courses are “the true link to the game’s grass roots.” Pasture golf pasturegolf 5shares elements of hickory golf’s philosophy of reverence for the game, but boasts a more blue-collar approach. Pasture golf courses might have normal-looking greens and tee boxes, but few other features of modern pasturegolf 3golf courses. Often players use old or thrift-store clubs due to the rough nature of the rough – and fairways. As pasturegolf.com quotes, “the fairways aren’t always fair, the greens aren’t always green, but the game is golf.”

FootGolf

And then there’s golf without clubs. Less than a decade old, a merging of golf and soccer materialized in various parts of the footgolf 1world. The game is played in parks and also on golf courses, using soccer balls propelled by nimble feet (without cleats!), generally following the rules of golf. The hole is a 21-inch cup, not located on regular golf greens, thus preserving the quality of the course. The American FootGolf League lists hundreds of courses in the USA (48 in California!). The sport’s enthusiasts point out that some participants are induced to take up golf after footgolf introduces them to the pleasures of golf courses.

A Federation for International FootGolf, now with 22 member nations, was organized in 2012, when the first FootGolf World Cup was held in Hungary.

Disc Golf
A further iteration of golf sans clubs is disc golf. I get the idea you shouldn’t call it Frisbee Golf. Frisbee is a trademarked name for the original throwing disc, manufactured by Wham-O (also the manufacturer of the hula hoop). Of discgolf1course, the object is to hurl or zip a plastic disc in as few throws as possible until a target, usually a chain basket, is struck. The origin of the game predates by decades the invention of the plastic disc, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association. Yes, there are professionals of the sport! Professional disc golfers use a bagful of discs, just as golfers have an array of clubs for different distances and challenges.
discgolf 2There is a disc golf hall of fame, national collegiate championships, national and world pro championships, with purses as high as $15,000.
Disc golf courses number in the thousands throughout the world, usually located in public parks, although care must be taken to ensure safety and tranquility for non-participants. Not a problem at the isolated and formidable Shale City/Frog Creek course, located on a forested mountainside near Ashland, Oregon. It is difficult to find, let alone navigate, and lost discs are common.
The PDGA maintains lists of courses, world and national player rankings, events, rules and standards, and publishes the quarterly DiscGolfer magazine.

Moongolf

moongolf 1Gearhart 200x200 final banner 2Moongolf is a form of golf that is out of this world.  As of yet, has been only one participant… astronaut Alan Shepard.

 

 

Jack Seybold
Jack Seybold, a teacher with an M.A. in linguistics, played college basketball, ran three marathons, and has published a novel, articles, and poems. In retirement he has appeared in over 25 theatrical productions at Talent’s Camelot Theater.
 

 

FootGolf: Hmmmm . . . It’s a Kick in the Grass!!

Fairways at West Terrace LogoWe’ve heard of it… we even have a term called a “foot wedge” that applies to someone kicking the ball toward the hole with their foot.  The Aflac duck uses it.  Now you can use it and it’s totally legal! 

FootGolf is a combination of the popular sports of soccer and golf. The game is played with a regulation #5 soccer ball at a golf course facility on shortened holes with 21-inch diameter cups. The rules largely correspond to the rules of golf. FootGolf as a game is played throughout the world in many different forms, but as a sport, it is regulated by the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG). The American FootGolf League (AFGL) is the exclusive member of the FIFG and governing body for the sport of FootGolf in the United States. The AFGL is organizing tournaments throughout the country working with golf courses to bring FootGolf to their clubs as another avenue for revenue and to develop the game further.  Watch the video about the rules and etiquette of FootGolf” from the American FootGolf League.

 

One of only a few FootGolf courses in the Northwest, The Fairways at West Terrace near Spokane also features 18 holes of championship golf for the golf enthusiast.  The cool thing about FootGolf is you don’t have a goalie trying to deny your shot.

For more information visit:  http://www.golfthefairways.com/

The Fairways at West Terrace

549-747-8418