My Keuka Lake friend invited Julie and me to come down to Arizona to their home, and me to play as his guest in their annual member-guest golf tournament. We had so much fun!

Consulting with my partner Consulting with my partner

From what I’ve learned from others, the format was fairly standard: they combine the handicap indexes for each of the players to create an aggregate handicap, then stack-rank the teams low to high. Then the teams are grouped into flights of six teams each. We would play 9-hole matches against each of our five opponents in our flight, two on Thursday, two on Friday, and one on Saturday morning.

The matches were best ball net score on each hole, and your team would get one point for winning a hole, 1/2 point for a tie, zero for losing. The match winner scores and extra point, so a total of 10 points were at stake for each match. I was the second lowest handicap in the flight, and I received one stroke on one hole the entire tournament.

We did well, getting a tie in our first match (5 points), 7 points in our second, 6 in our third, and 6.5 in our fourth. Going into the final round we were in second place in our flight, facing off against the first place team in our final match. We struggled! We kept either losing holes or splitting them, with me missing some key putts I probably should have made to win holes. Going into the final hole we were down 5-3, but my partner stepped up (with a stroke advantage over the other three players) and won the hole. We needed the point to secure our second place spot. This qualified us for the championship shootout.

We begin the shootout We begin the shootout

The shootout was crazy: 10 teams (including us) would tee off from the first tee, another 12 from the 7th tee. After 2 holes, the worst four teams in each group would be eliminated based on aggregate score. And it was alternating shot (Ryder Cup style) so there was nowhere to hide; both partners had to step up and play well. We advanced to the third hole where another two teams were eliminated, and we survived that. they then merged both groups to start the final shootout, now with 10 total teams remaining. Here we were eliminated, putting us in a tie for 6th overall out of 64 teams. We felt like we overachieved: my partner with the higher handicap played way better than his index suggested he should, and I had over three months off while we were in Spain. I hope to return next year.