Whether you’re an avid novice or a seasoned player, the chances are good that you’ve wished for the opportunity to compete in a golf tournament. It’s great to watch the PGA Tour on television, but nothing is more satisfying than entering and playing in golf competitions yourself.
Unfortunately, while golf events are routinely held at private courses and country clubs, most golfers who play on public courses don’t get the opportunity to participate. Even if they do, they don’t have the chance to compete against golfers from around the nation.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that the Internet is filling the gap and making it possible for golfers of all ability levels to compete on a national level. After all, community building has become a cornerstone of Web 2.0 in arenas as diverse as politics, music, and gardening – why not golf?
Indeed, the latest trend in the world of golf is membership in an online competitive golf association. The concept’s beauty lies both in its simplicity and its utter inclusiveness. Unlike traditional men’s and women’s golf tournaments, which require organization, registration, and travel, online competitive golf enables golfers to play on any United States Golf Association public rated golf course. Best of all, you can play anytime and with anyone – whether or not they are members of the association.
Typically, an online association will hold monthly events, with each event consisting of four rounds. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to play four rounds of golf during a single month; instead, you can post your score once you’ve completed four rounds of play. Your score will count for the month it’s entered online, not the month it’s played.
Usually, there are seven different types of tournaments held. First, there are the Men’s Individual and Women’s Individual tournaments, in which only the total strokes are counted. Next, there are the Men’s Individual with Handicap and Women’s Individual with Handicap, which consists of the total number of strokes minus the golfer’s handicap. Then, there are the Two-Person Best Ball and Coed Best Ball tournaments, in which each player plays his or her own ball, but for each hole the lowest score of the team counts toward the total.
If, for example, the first player gets five strokes on a hole and the second player gets four strokes on a hole, the second player’s strokes count for that hole. Finally, to build on the enthusiasm that many families feel for golf, online associations often include a Parent-Son/Daughter Best Ball tournament.
The competition gets fierce because golfers’ scores are posted online to the electronic scoreboard. Typically, the winners of each month’s qualifier and the best players in each tournament are invited to compete at a championship to benefit a charitable organization.
While some might ask what would prevent a member from posting fake scores, golfers know that the game is based on principles of integrity and civility. Honest play and good sportsmanship are the bedrock of the game of golf, so members are trusted to post accurate scores.
Most of all, though, those who play golf are embracing the opportunity to compete in national golf tournaments and clambering to see their names at the top of the leaderboard!
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