Well I’m fresh off hosting my first local tournament, and it went really well! Due to availability and money constraints, we had to do everything over a Sunday afternoon, but we were able to come up with a format that worked great for everyone! Here are the rules I posted for our tournament, which was at a bar with just one Golden Tee machine. However, you’ll find that no one will be bored waiting to play and it will move along quicker than you’d expect!
Banana’s Golden Tee Tournament Information
• TOURNEY DATE – Sunday, June 7, with sign up starting at 11:00AM and games starting around 11:15. The tourney will run until around 7:00PM.
• Entry fee is $20 and players must have an established handicap. This entry fee does NOT include the cost of games played.
• The field will be limited to 8 players for this event, so the prize pool will be $160.
• An attempt will be made to rank players from 1-8, based on their handicap. If the handicap is not yet known, a best guess will be made to that player’s rank.
• Five 4-player games will be played during the tournament. The first game will be among players ranked 1,4,5, and 8, and the second game will be among players ranked 2,3,6, and 7. The top 2 handicap scores will advance, and the bottom 2 will move on in the loser bracket, guaranteeing everyone at least 2 games. The 4 players remaining after the first 2 rounds will all play together during the final round but will only be competing against the other player in their bracket.
• The courses played during bracket play will be as follows: Round 1 – Bonnie Moor and Grand Savannah, Round 2 – Woodland Farm and Sunny Wood, Finals – Black Hills.
• Advanced Play mode will be used, but Prize Play can be up to the individuals playing.
• Handicap will be applied to each match in bracket play. The player with the best handicap receives no strokes. Every other player takes the difference between this player’s handicap and his handicap and multiplies it by 80% to determine the number of additional strokes he gets to take off his score. In the example below, players C and D would advance for having the top 2 handicap scores in that round.
Player Handicap Handicap Difference Strokes Received Score Handicap Score
A +20 0 0 -17 -17
B +15 5 4 -11 -15
C +10 10 8 -10 -18
D +5 15 12 -7 -19
• The tie-breaker in the first two matches will be most Great Shot Points. If that is also a tie, players will play sudden death on the back 9 of the course just completed, with no handicap applied. Tie-breakers in the finals will be sudden death only.
• PRIZES during bracket play – 1st place in winner bracket ($70), 2nd place in winner bracket ($30), and 1st place in loser bracket ($30). In addition, the remaining $30 will be split evenly among anyone who gets a hole-in-one or double-eagle during bracket play! If no one accomplishes it, the winner will get $80, 2nd place will get $40, and 1st in the loser bracket will get $40.
A few more notes:
— We chose 4-player matches to get more people involved with each game, and it seemed to go quicker than two 2-player matches. Plus, you only have to be in the top 2 to advance, so one person can’t kill you right away! It worked well in the finals too, having two 2-player matches happening at the same time.
— I liked how we played the courses from easiest to hardest and included all of them since we had exactly 5 rounds!
— We played group A round 1, then group B round 1, then the consolation semis, then the winners semis, and then the finals. Because of that order, the only ones ever waiting around for more than 1 match were the winners of the first round, and that was fine by them!
— We didn’t have to apply any tie-breakers in this tournament, but we did have our 7th ranked player score a hole-in-one for $30, so 4 of the 8 players took home some cash!
So how did it go? You can check out the image of the posterboard I put together above to see how it all played out. All of the matches except for the finals went down to the final hole! Handicap seemed to work great and kept everyone in it. I failed to advance in the first round because I putted in the water on Grand Savannah #17 and got a double-bogey! Similarly, Matt failed to advance in the semis because he putted in the water on Sunny Wood #18! Our friend Rob came out on top, taking advantage of both his handicap and a good day of shooting to win! I was able to recover after the tough first-round loss and win the consolation bracket.
Of course, it’s easy to expand off this and add qualifying rounds if you wish. I originally wanted us all to play 3 qualifying rounds any time, any place during the week before the tournament, and I would seed the players off those scores, giving additional prizes during qualifying matches. But, this turned out to be simpler, cheaper, and just as much fun! It definitely had the excitement we were hoping for!
I’d recommend this format to anyone, and I’d love to hear comments from anyone else who has attempted to have an amateur tournament in a city where it’s tough to get more than one machine in a bar! This is a great way to pull a group of friends together for a few hours on a weekend and have some hot GT Tourney action!