My First Golf Tournament
By bkuehn1952 on 1/25/11
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Brian "56" Kuehn didn't disappoint. This is his 11th article to oobgolf. He's probably going to expect to be on our payroll soon... You can read the other 10 here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

A while back I gave all of you some pointers on “Slow Play”. The reaction was so positive I thought I might share some more of my golf insights with you. Many of my fellow OOB readers have never played in an organized golf competition. I have to admit that competitive golf was missing from my résumé until recently. Let me share with you my first experience as a way to encourage all of you to get involved in “net” golf tournaments.

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Not too long ago my good golfing buddy Sid and I were having a beer after one of our ball hawking/golf sessions. We agreed that our rounds lately had lost their edge. While we enjoyed spending 6 hours together looking for balls and hacking our way around the course, something was missing. Our $0.50 Nassau’s just weren’t getting the competitive juices flowing anymore; our golf needed to be kicked up a notch. We decided that playing a bit of tournament golf might do the trick. We approached our buddies Duke and Charlie with our plan. Once they were on board we proceeded to sign-up for the Silver Fox Golf & Shuffle Board Annual Golf Championship (or the Silver Fox GASBAG Championship for short).

First thing the people running the tournament wanted to know was our handicaps. Duke once had a handicap and said he was about a “36”. Not wanting to give any strokes to the Duke, we all entered as “36’s”. We asked the tournament director if we could play together and that was not a problem. Finally the director mentioned that USGA rules would apply and that he trusted we were familiar with the Rules of Golf. We let him know that collectively we had almost 200 years of golf experience so the rules were not going to be a problem.

Come tournament day we were ready. Our group was the final one to tee off; apparently they put the best players out last. While most of us wore our standard golf outfit of shorts and compression knee socks, Charlie decided to break out his plus fours for the event. They looked pretty good on him 30 years ago when he weighed 50 pounds less. Now they were so tight we worried a button would pop and put out someone’s eye.

On the first tee we all hit a “breakfast ball” and then started play for real. Duke is somewhat of a purist when it comes to the Rules of Golf. For his benefit we agreed that there would be only one Mulligan a side and that you couldn’t carry over the front side Mully to the back nine, strictly USGA all the way.

30 minutes later the last putt dropped on #1 and we headed for the second tee. I was pretty pleased with my net birdie. It took some arguing with the group before I got the free drop from the bunker because the rake interfered with my swing. I can’t emphasize enough that knowing the rules is a big help.
Sid had to use his Mully early when he sent one into the Waterson’s backyard on #2. Even though the ball was perfectly playable, the Waterson’s Doberman seemed to take exception to Sid’s attempts at climbing the fence in order to hit it. Fortunately, the head of Sid’s ball retriever fit through the chain link so he didn’t lose his Top Flite.

I have heard complaints about pace of play in tournaments. Frankly, I don’t know what everyone is talking about. After the first hole it was like we had the course to ourselves. We never saw the group in front of us again and it was especially nice not to have a bunch of people behind us yelling obscenities.

Our group was on fire that day, let me tell you. Through the 15th hole Sid was a net 10 under with Duke and Charlie trailing by just a shot. I stood at -11 and still had my back nine Mulligan available. The 16th is a long 125 yard par 3 with a pond in front of the green. We all laid up short of the pond. As we prepared to hit our next shot a tournament official drove up. He informed us that all the groups had finished over an hour ago and we had 15 minutes to turn in our score cards or we were disqualified. I was so rattled I put my next one in the middle of the pond. However, my decision to save my Mulligan paid off. I declared I would take my Mulligan and go to the drop zone for my second shot. It took a while to convince the group that my ruling was correct. Sid seemed to think a Mulligan could only be taken on the tee but I pointed out that the USGA definition of Mulligan never mentions “tee shot” so that shut him up. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough, know the Rules! Once the rules discussion concluded, I bladed my ball on the green and 2-putted for another net birdie.

At #17 tee, Charlie pointed out we had only 2 minutes left to turn in our score cards. We decided to invoke the Handicap Rule relating to “holes not played” and skip 17 and 18. We were pretty sure that the rule stated one should record a par on any hole not played, which gave me two net eagles and -16 for the tournament. We hustled over to the club house and turned in our cards. The officials seemed astonished at our results but we assured them everything was strictly legit – golf is a game of honor after all.

I wish I could say the awards ceremony was the high point of the experience. Unfortunately, Silver Fox must have a bunch of sore losers. When they announced I was the winner with a net 56, there was a bunch of booing and comments about my mother. My buddies and I got the distinct impression some of the members wanted to discuss the round out in the parking lot. After picking up our winnings we made our exit through the kitchen door at the back of the club. It was closer to our car, anyway.

On the way home we all agreed that tournament golf was pretty exciting, especially the hasty departure out the back. Charlie mentioned that Turtle Pace Country Club was holding their annual “net” championship in two weeks. Hope we will see all of you at Turtle Pace! Of course, understand you will all be playing for 5th place.

This was written by Brian Kuehn, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

photo source

[ comments ]
Backquak says:
it all makes sense now... I haven't been playing by the rules, or at least I know now that my understanding of the rules was completely wrong. spring tournaments are coming soon, hehehe
Banker85 says:
sounds like some sand bagging to me. looks like your scoring avg is 83 so to say your hcp is 36 seems very high. anywho good article. I would love to get into some tournament play just for the excitement of something new. thanks!
legitimatebeef says:
It's insanely high. Brian, judging by your scoring average your handicap should be in the single digits. If I were in that tournament I'd give you the stinkeye too. I'm guessing this is post is largely a work of fiction. It'd better be.
sjduffers says:
Banker and beef, where is your sense of humor (or at least your reading comprehension)? A 125 yds considered a long par 3, such that he lays up in front of the pond, sends one in the drink, takes a "mulligan" and then goes to the drop zone for this second shot, scoots one on the green and 2 puts for a net birdie, all by USGA rules? If you believe that, I also have a bridge to sell you in case you are interested... :-)

Brian, that was some funny, witty writing. Thanks for the laughs!!
MiddleAgedGuy says:
sjduffers, don't be a hater. Why make fun of Brian's career round? Just jealous you can't also score a net 56 I suppose.

Brian--you're lucky Sid doesn't know the rules as well as you do. He could have cited Decision 1-4/10 "Dangerous Situation" when his ball was threatened by the Doberman. He could have dropped within 1 club length of the fence (so long as no closer to the hole) and saved his Mulli for later!
indigno says:
My first tournament will come soon. Thanks god I read about rake's free drops, mullis, and pars for holes not played... they really seem very helpful!!!
;- )
homermania says:
Brian, you got me. I always start to get so mad before I realize it's a joke.
larrynjr says:
I played my first tournament this past season. It wasn't strictly cheating but my playing ability had gotten much better than my handicap showed so I was playing off a 33 handicap but playing closer to a 22 that weekend. I shot a 92 the first day for a net 59 and a 93 the second day for a net 60, so winning the low net for entire field. I was playing with members that I didn't know so there was no "fudge" factor involved. There was no ceremony afterward but I heard a few small grumbles of discontent. Most recognized what had happened and were congratulatory towards me. As it was a USGA match my handicap was modified by tournament scores to 27.2 the next update. Once I start getting out this season I expect to bring my handicap down closer to my "real" playing ability(whatever that might be).
Great and funny article Brian, keep up the fun!
Niramas says:
God some of you people are dumb.
DougE says:
Loved the story. Laughed out loud. What makes it so funny is that it can so easily be true. I see it everywhere. There really are many who play under their own perceived rules. I've played with a few.

Eg., last season, I played with a father and son who I didn't know. On the first tee, a 340 yard par 4, Dad strikes (barely) his drive off the toe and it flies 40 yards to the right into the woods. Takes another and somehow puts it into the adjacent driving range. Then says hell drop "up there" somewhere. His son drove it about 250 down the fairway, so Dad decided to take his drop next to him. He then proceeds to blade a wedge to 20 yards short of the green. Then duffs a chip which barely makes it another 10 yards. Finally, he takes his putter from 10 yards off the green and just whacks it with no idea of where he is aiming. Somehow the ball finds the hole and he jumps up and screams, "YES! PAR!" As you might imagine, the rest of the round confirmed he had an incredible imagination.
GreggScott says:
Funny.... but if money is not involved I would rather play with that guy than someone who defends his right (according to his misinterpretation of the rules) to search the woods for a full five minutes before dropping another ball. I hope Dad enjoyed his round and provided the rest of the foursome with some comic relief. :-)
wrhall02 says:
Good satire.
But it does happen (to lesser degree). San baggers are pretty common in Tourneys, unless there is a strong rules committee monitoring scores against hcps.

I don't understand why a scratch player would be "proud" to have spanked the "B" flight. Granted, Tourneys can do weird things to scores and nerves...a good payer can shoot 95 and a weekend warrior can catch fire and post personal bests.
Kurt the Knife says:
If this isn't how tournaments are played, I'm quite disillusioned with what I'm seeing on TV.
Do they cut out Mickelson's mulligans in post-production?
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