Golf Competition – Let’s Hear it for the Team

Golf’s an individual sport – especially when you stand over your ball in competition. As Chris Mile writes, it is a “juiced up form of the game”, incredibly fun for some and a form of torture for others. Oh yeah.

To competitors who have played under pressure this season, a tip of the cap to you all. In local league, club and city championships, or in competitions more distant and difficult, cheers to you. A special shout-out goes to several local women who competed in the National Senior Games in Houston and to Sarah Hoffman who won the Ann Arbor City Tournament, a three-peat!.

Now to the rest of us – the competition-is-torture crowd…

There IS a middle way between competition and no competition. Call it team golf, events in which you work together to achieve a winning golf score. A few of us have just returned from the Western Michigan PGA Pro-Am, a women’s event in Grand Rapids – competing has never been so fun.

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WM PGA Pro-Am Format

  • 3 amateur women and one golf professional on each team
  • Net best ball – on par 5’s, use one best ball with handicap; on par 4’s two balls; on par 3’s, 3 balls
  • Women played forward tees

Teamwork is Tantamount
Love that collaborative, fired-up feel, helping each other read putts and cheering each other on. One shot might affect others, dictating caution or a go-for-it approach, so it was strategic too.

The Heat’s (Mostly) Off
One might (just possibly!) blow up on a hole,  but there were teammates – and their better scores – to ease our frustration and preserve our team score.

The Pro’s of Playing with a Pro
We played with Tim Katanski, an assistant golf professional at our club. It was fascinating to observe the focus, routine, and extraordinary play of someone who makes golf his living. And, how beneficial was it to have his input as we made our way around the course? Big. Our dedicated expert!
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Now, at a level a universe beyond our own golf ability …
Let’s Talk Teamwork USA
Each year there’s an opportunity to watch team golf in its most rarefied form and patriotic intensity. US Women and Men professional golfers compete with European counterparts in alternate years in the Solheim and Ryder Cups.  US men also compete against an international team less the Europeans, in the biennial President’s Cup in years alternating with the Ryder Cup.

  • Solheim Cup –12 US LPGA player-team vs. Europeans at Killeen Castle, Ireland, Sept. 23-25.
    Team includes Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, and Julie Inkster, team player and assistant coach, who will be the oldest player to ever compete at age 51. Catch the action on the Golf Channel.
  • President’s Cup – US men vs. International Team (but not the Europeans), Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia, November 14-16, 2011. Captain Fred Couples leads e 12 US players in match play.
  • Ryder Cup – 2012 seems far away, but it’s actually perfect timing if you are interested in seeing the US men in action against the Europeans. The late September competition will be at Medinah Country Club in Illinois, only a 4.5 hour drive from Ann Arbor (!) Random Draw to determine who may purchase tickets is open now through September 30.

Thinking a 2012 outing with a couple of friends to the Ryder Cup would be a great “team” experience indeed!

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