How to host a golf tournament
I have been hosting a golf tournament for over 10 years for our family and friends. It is a lot of work to put together but when the day comes, you see the payoff. Smiling faces and high fives fill the air. You would think that after hosting a golf tournament for so long that I have figured it all out. I can tell you, I have not. Every year brings on a new challenge and a reminder that I have not yet mastered the technique. In this section, I would like to share my experiences. Like always, please add your comments to our Facebook page @gettingonthegreen.
how "not" to plan a long drive contest
I made the biggest error a few years ago when I planned the long drive contest for our tournament. I have played Apple Creek Golf Course in Airdrie a few times and really liked hole # 4 to hold our long drive on. Hole # 4 was a long par 5 that measured 648 yards from the blue tees. It would be a straight tee shot with a fairly wide fairway to catch any errant balls going left or right off the tee. (ie. Long drive contests require balls to be on the fairway to be counted.) Weeks before our tournament, I sent an email to the tournament coordinator at Apple Creek to inform them that I plan to use hole # 4 as the men's long drive hole. They replied it was a good choice so I proceeded to publish documentation on the holes that had prizes attached to them.
On the day of the tournament, I ran into a few of my senior family members and friends. They had walked around the starting tee box and were worried about keeping up with the rest of the field. They were against playing the blue tees because of the length and challenge. They said they weren't hitting a long ball and they were at a disadvantage because of their age. I sympathized with them and quickly made the decision to let them tee off on the white tees.
When I came up on the long drive hole, I was surprised to see where the proximity marker was placed. From the blue tees, it was at least 300 yards away. I knew that I didn't invite Lucas Glover or Bubba Watson to my tournament because these guys can pound their ball over 300 yards. How could that be?
The winner of the long drive contest was Henry Chow. His drive turned out to be a little over 200 yards but he had tee'd off from the white tees. The white tee box was at least 100 yards in front of the blue tee box. Anyone teeing off the blue tees would have a 100 yard disadvantage against someone teeing off the white tees.
This was a big error on my part. My last minute decision, letting the seniors hit from the white tees was the issue. Henry was the clear winner for the men's long drive but his drive wasn't the longest. He won the prize according to the rules but we all realized the mistake we had made.
The lesson we learned that year caused us to choose a long drive hole where the distance between the two tee boxes are 50 yards or less. It is ok to give the players teeing off from the white tee box, some advantage over the younger players but 100 yards was too much.
I hope this blunder helps you make your tournament a success. Until next time, hit it long and straight.