Give Back And Score Low At Your Next Charity Golf Tournament

By Phil Immordino

The 3M Championship is Minnesota’s largest professional sports-related charity tournament, but courses around the state also host a lot of charity golf events for players of all levels. The scramble-style tournaments are usually organized by a local golfing enthusiast and intended to raise funds or awareness for a cause. Charity golf tournaments are a great place to gather your friends, play the game you love and give back!

These tournaments are meant to be fun, charitable and relaxing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little competition. Whether you’re an avid golfer or just started hitting the links, golf is always more enjoyable when you’re playing well.

The format of each tournament will vary a bit from event to event, but by following a few guidelines you can set your team up for success.

Be Familiar With The Format:

Not all tournaments are the same. Depending on skill level, tournament goals and number of players, the organizer will decide the format. Be familiar with the following – Scramble: The most common format. Typically played in 4-person teams, it involves choosing the best shot after every stroke and each team member playing from that spot. This process repeats until someone holes out. Best Ball: Don’t let the name confuse you. Each member of the 2 or 4 person team plays his or her own ball. Upon completion of the hole the lowest score among all team members is counted for that hole. Alternate Shot: Played in 2-person teams, the members of the team alternate hitting shots playing the same ball. Step Aside: Follows the scramble format but once a teammate’s shot is selected, that player can’t participate in the next shot. Shamble: Each player tees off and the best drive selected. Everyone plays from that spot but then each golfer plays their own ball for the remainder of the hole.

Recruit A Dream Team:

Picking the right people to play with is important. Consider looking past handicaps and consider finding a good mix of different strengths on the course. If you have four long hitters but no one who can putt, you’ll be in trouble. Depending on the format, build your team around a player with a long drive, someone who can consistently hit their irons and a strong putter. Other clutch players can include a great leader to call the shots or a female. From the women’s tee box, an average women golfer can usually outdrive most male long hitters. Also, remember these rounds can play a bit slow, so find a group of people you enjoy spending time with.

Know The Tournament Rules:

Scrambles aren’t recognized by the official Rules of Golf, but each tournament organizer will provide event rules. Be familiar with them because some traditional rules are overlooked in charity tournament play and can be used to your advantage. For example, some events allow players to lift, clean and place their ball within a club-length of the spot they’re choosing to play. Also, some events offer participants the option to purchase mulligans or get out of water free cards. Not only can you save yourself a few strokes, but also the money goes straight back to charity. Now that’s money well spent!

Determine And Follow A Strategy:

Before teeing off it is important that your team agrees on a winning strategy. Making the right decisions on the course can be the deciding factor between the leaderboard and last place. Determine what order the group will tee off in and then stick to it for all 18 holes. Depending on the level of play, it is usually recommended the most-accurate player should hit first to ensure at least one good shot. From there, the remaining players can feel more relaxed and may get lucky with the drive of their life. Sometimes it’s tempting to pick the shot closet to the hole, but consider any obstacles and pin placement before ruling out other shots. Sometimes a ball further back in the fairway is a better option than a closer ball cozied up to a bunker. Also, consider your teammate’s strengths when approaching the green. If someone has an accurate shot from 100 yards out, but the bump-and-run game is weak, the longer shot is a better option to set your team up for success. The strongest putter should go last. If one of the first few players drops the ball in the hole, great! If not, the cleanup player has the best chance of sinking a hole-winning putt. Finally, consider the type of play to ensure you aren’t ruling someone’s strengths out and strategize how to use any purchased “free shots.” The decision behind each shot is just as important as where it lands.

Most important go out and have fun… remember this is still just a game but when you are playing for a cause it’s even better.