Some friends of mine have recently concluded a three-day golf trip which featured three courses around London – in order of playing, St George’s Hill in Surrey, Sunningdale in Berkshire and The Grove in Hertfordshire. Very nice indeed, I think you would agree.
They were a group of six, mostly from Austria. They have been holding their particular competition since 1999, during which time they have played in several different countries. The affair started at Royal Mougins in the South of France and since then they have taken on courses in the United States, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Portugal, Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey and, of course, England.
Why am I mentioning any of this? Because I think the format for their event is unusual, interesting and potentially worthy of consideration by anyone who organises such a trip for themselves and their golfing buddies. Over the 54 holes, the winner is the person who makes the final birdie of the week. (Or eagle, or albatross, of course.) It’s as straightforward and simple as that. Granted, these guys are all single-figure golfers, so birdies are going to happen, but if the excursion involved a group of guys all off something like a handicap of 20, the format could perhaps be adapted to make the winner the player who had the final par.
What I find appealing about this concept is that everyone is in with a chance of being the champion until the last hole has been played. For example, you might have played like a dog for the first 36 holes, and under most formats wouldn’t have a prayer of coming out on top, but this way you are in the game until the very end. It would seem to have merit in another way, too: of the six players who have been doing this now on 21 occasions across 14 countries, only one has failed to bring home the bacon.
If this doesn’t involve enough of a wager or financial incentive for you, the idea could easily be modified in order to up the stakes. For example, say every time someone makes a birdie, everyone in the group has to put a pound into the pot; a fiver for every eagle. Or, if that’s not enough, a fiver for every birdie and a tenner for eagles. When the event is over, the person who makes the final birdie not only gets to be the winner and receives a trophy (there would be nothing to stop you from commissioning such a prize!), he/she would scoop up all the money in the kitty.
Anyhow, it’s a thought. Imagine the tension if one of your group was standing on the final green of the competition with a 10-foot putt that would decide the destiny of the prize? Come to think of it, given its recent format-breaking Belgian Knockout and GolfSixes tournaments, I might just write to Keith Pelley and suggest that the European Tour tries it out!
You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog f-factors.com plus you can read more by him on golf at robertgreengolf.com