Golf Strategy: 2-Man Scramble

2-man Scramble

Helping Align Putts in a 2-Man Scramble is legal!

Golf is a great game for strategy, gamesmanship, and psyching out your opponent! One of my favorite tournament formats is the 2-man scramble. The format places just enough pressure on players to perform, but offers that little glimmer of hope if your game comes off the rails for a hole or two. This weekend I am playing in a 2-man scramble tournament with my friend Jean.

Roundel Glen Golf Course is closing this year’s golf season with a series of fun tournaments. This is the first of several that will help reduce the anxiety of golf season slowly coming to an end. The rules for this tournament are pretty simple. The handicap of the two players is added together, divided by two and multiplied by 75%.

What this means is: my handicap is 3.1, Jean’s handicap is 10.4, combined 13.5, divided by 2 is 6.75, multiplied by 75% is 5. Therefore, our handicap for this tournament is 5. For those non golfers, this means we are awarded one stroke on the 5 toughest holes on the course. So if we shoot a 4 on the toughest hole, we would record a 3 on our scorecard. This method of using your handicap is golf’s way of leveling the playing field. If everyone is honest, the system works very well.

This Sunday Jean and I tee it up at 9 am. This tournament will be very interesting because Jean and I have complimenting games. We both hit the ball well off the tee. He hits his long irons better than me. I hit my short irons better than him and we both chip and putt well.

Unlike the strategy in a 4-man scramble where the more novice players shoots first all the time, Jean and I are of relatively equal skill. The strategy is a bit different and depending on how we decide to play the round, the difference could be a couple of strokes. In a 2-man scramble, those two strokes could be the difference between winning and losing. So here is what I am proposing as our strategy for the tournament:

  1. Jean tees off first on all par 5s and short par 3s.
  2. Jim tees off first on all par 4s and long par 3s.
  3. Jean is first to hit our second shot inside 175 yards.
  4. Jim is first to hit our second shot outside of 175 yards.
  5. Jean chips first by all green.
  6. Jean putts first on all greens.

My logic is simple: the first player always ensures he is in play and by doing so leverages the stronger skills of the other player!

I do not believe that our strategy needs to be any more complicated than that. I am, however, looking for comments if any of you golfing fanatics see a flaw in my logic. If you do, I am all ears! Feedback is always welcome!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

2014 Payne Stewart Award

“This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Payne Stewart Award, which is presented annually to a player who exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. Stewart, an 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR and World Golf Hall of Fame member, died tragically the week of the TOUR Championship in 1999. At the time, Southern Company was the sponsor of the event, and a year later, the PGA TOUR created the Payne Stewart Award to honor his legacy. Southern Company, the Official Energy Company of the PGA TOUR, has sponsored the award since its inception.” (PGATour.com)

Awarded on 9 September 2014, this year’s winner is Sir Nick Faldo. An accomplished golfer, Sir Nick won 39 times world-wide, which included six Major Championships. Additionally, Sir Nick holds the record for the most appearances and most points won at the Ryder Cup.

In 1996, Sir Nick launched the Faldo Series to offer opportunities to male and female golfers under the age of 21 from around the world. There are over 7,000 participants each year and this charity has produced some notable young players such as Rory McIlroy, Yani Tseng, and Nick Dougherty.

“My main reason for starting the Faldo Series was to try and give something back to the game that has given me so much.” 

In 1998, Sir Nick Faldo received the Order of the British Empire. In 2009, he was invested as a Knight Bachelor for his services to golf. These are just two of the many awards Sir Nick has received through the years.

Sir Nick Faldo joins the company of great men like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, and Tom Watson. All have dedicated their lives to improving the world around them and happened to use golf as their venue. However, something tells me that these great men would have used something else if golf was not available.

Congratulations to Sir Nick Faldo for being awarded the 2014 Payne Stewart Award!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

 

 

Course Management in Golf

Play the shot that makes the next shot easy.

Tommy Armour

Course management is a familiar topic in golf. To manage your golf game is challenging, depressing and rewarding all at the same time. We have all played rounds of golf where nothing seemed to go well and others where mistakes could not be made! Most of the time, the difference between a final score of 75 or a 78 is course management. Like chess, playing golf requires a player to think at least two shots ahead before taking a swing.

Hitting the best club to set up his next shot.

Hitting the best club to set up his next shot.

Focusing on your shot at hand is obviously the first step to course management. Proper execution of this shot is critical to low scores. When I talk about execution, I do not mean contact of the ball (although this is very important also). What I mean is executing the shot that best sets you up for the next shot. Sometimes that means hitting your 3-wood as close to the green as possible on a par 5 or laying up to 100 yards to have a full shot over a hazard. The most interesting aspect of course management is that it is different for every player! The reason for the differences are that each player shapes the ball differently and hits each club different distances. Therefore, their course management has to be different.

Trying to advance the ball too far usually spells trouble!

Trying to advance the ball too far usually spells trouble!

However, before hitting the first shot, determining what the next shot should be will help with club selection, how to play the shot, whether to punch the ball out of the woods, or try to hit the ball 75 yards down the fairway around a tree. Every shot has infinite variables that are hard to list. The most important thing to consider is what you are planning for the next shot. This part of course management is really what sets up how a round of golf is played. Not staying focused on the next shot is where most amateurs run into trouble!

Under a tree

Under a Tree on the 15th Hole. Managing this shot properly will be the difference between par and double bogey!

There are three simple rules I follow to make my next shot easy. I use these rules as the basis to scoring well or at least trying to score well.

  • When in the fairway, always go for the green if in range! Greens In Regulation or GIR is the most important statistic in golf. Personally, I would rather play a short chip or out of the sand then to have a 30 or 40 yard chip to the green.
  • When hitting from the rough, I use my hybrids. I cases where players are not using hybrids, then use an iron. I know many players will suggest that if the lie is good then hit a wood, but the higher percentage shot is to hit a hybrid or iron.
  • When playing out of the woods, do not get greedy! The moment I try to squeeze an extra 10 or 15 yards out of a difficult shot, disaster strikes! Taking my medicine is the safe play! This does not mean that I do not try and find the most advantageous exit from the woods, it means that I have to be smart about setting up my next shot!

I am sure there are many other rules that players use to keep their score low. Depending on the competition, others rules will come into play, but for most amateurs trying to break 100, these three rules are plenty.

This is my approach to course management. Do you have anything to add?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!