Name your game
By Grant Lucas
Editor’s note: The formats of play mentioned herein have all been included by Central Oregon golf clubs in their reports to The Bulletin this season. We are NOT making these up.
OK, first tee box. The four of us just used up all of today’s best swings by hitting 120 balls on the driving range, discussing how “I would have had that hole-in-one if not for the wind” or how “I would have broken 90 if I had just been able to avoid three-putting 18 times.”
Everyone here is already sore from the range, right? But we are all coming into this round confident because each of us made two of our 30 putts from within 2 feet on the practice green? Great. Naturally, with our collective handicaps that the Golf Handicap and Information Network refuses to calculate because of “unnaturally high scores,” we should be playing for cash.
So, what will the game of choice be, friends? After all, as I just overheard at the 19th hole from a man whose wallet, judging by the sagging leather, was bulging with cash five hours earlier but is no longer: “Not playing for money would make this whole golfing ordeal pointless and boring.” Perhaps “pointless and boring” is too strong; but Hack Nicklaus back there at the bar had something of a point. Cash does provide a delicious spice to a round of golf.
So, what’s the game? Individual stroke play, low gross, low net, match play, skins? Best ball, one net best ball, two net best ball, two net best ball with no club less than 18 degrees? How about …
We play only score the par 3s or the par 4s or the par 5s? Or maybe just the odd holes or just the even? Let’s be odd and keep the playing field even with odd/even, with partners alternating every shot? Wait, how about we halve our handicaps on even holes? No, no. There must be something else …
We will figure this out: There is 1-2, 1-2 net best balls, 3 net best ball, and 2 net better balls of 4. We could go 3 low net on odd holes and 2 low net on even, if you feel like counting more. Count me in for 1-2-3 or 3-2-1. Or how about 3-4-5? I feel like playing with all three of you as my partners at some point today, so 6s could be our jive.
Then again, we should keep it simple today …
It is easy to play EZs, or we could strike out with Strike 3. We will find a rhythm with Waltz or Cha Cha Cha, but maybe we will shoot low with LoLo. Hold on. An elder gentleman behind us is making a suggestion. What’s that? Wait, I recognize that voice. Of course former Portland Trail Blazers play-by-play man Bill Schonely would suggest Bingo Bango Bongo. We haven’t even teed off yet and already there’s a 15-minute backup behind us …
Stableford? Shamble? Stableford shamble? Scramble? What do you mean, “What kind of scramble?” Certainly I mean Las Vegas … or Florida … or Step Aside … or Lone Star …
Actually, hold on. Let me check in with the three foursomes behind us that are apparently annoyed with us, judging by the remarks laced with colorful curse words. Maybe they’d like to join in to play Whack and Hack? Sucker in the Bucket? Chicago?
OK, we’ll keep the game within our group. But c’mon, guys, we need to make a decision. So how about Six Shooter: six holes of scramble, six of best ball, six holes of alternate shots? No? Then what about 6 shamble, 6 scramble, 6 net? Two-net shamble, 3-man shamble net, shamble 2 net of 4? C’mon, guys.
Great, here comes the course marshal. We’d better figure something out quick.
Let’s see. … We could do Ts and Ss or Ts and Fs, but Mother Goose is requesting we go with Jack and Jill or 3 Blind Mice. The par 4s bring out our “FORES!” So let’s take those out of play. Mutt and Jeff could be our option. But who are we kidding? We can’t avoid the water and traps or the slices and snaps, so perhaps our game of choice is Staying out of Trouble, in which we are awarded points for our lack of skills.
You know what? Forget it. I’m just going to give this drive a rip. OH, NO! A RIGHT-ANGLE HOOK! WHAT A TERRIBLE WAY TO START A ROUND!
WAIT! THAT’S IT! The perfect game for this group of wannabe hackers …