There’s no “I” in team. And thanks to the Ryder Cup every two years at least there’s no “I” in golf.
I love how the Ryder Cup throws our sport’s emphasis on individual, stroke-play tournaments out the window. Replacing it with three days during which you and I get to watch a form of golf on steroids while rooting for 12 American pros at once.
“That’s what makes the Ryder Cup in golf so much better than the Masters or the U.S. Open,” says Scott Hamilton who has coached over a half dozen Tour players. “To be part of something that is not about personal achievement, but about representing everyone and sharing it with the whole country, it’s wonderful.”
The Ryder Cup may be billed as golf’s pre-eminent event but it’s more like our sport’s version of ordering tequila. It packs a punch from the very first tee where a chanting gallery of fans cheers on our nation’s best. It gives teammates the chills as they play for nothing more than the love of the game. And with a level of play that’s off the charts the Ryder Cup is a welcome shot to the system that, in my opinion, outshines even Augusta.
Not Just for Pros
Luckily you and your SoCal golf buddies don’t have to wait two years to play in your very own Ryder Cup.
How’s that? Golf clubs located right in your area can act very much like the Ryder Cup (without the expensive airfare needed to play against Team Europe). Although golf clubs generally have individual gross- and net-competitions once a month or more, a lot of them also compete against other clubs AS A TEAM. These club competitions take on a lot of different formats, but the bottom line is the same: You and your golf buddies compete together for bragging rights against another squad.
As with the Ryder Cup, cooperation matters. It’s not just you hacking around out there. You’re actually hoping your friend doesn’t miss that putt on 12 because now they’re also your teammate (not just the butt of jokes back at the clubhouse). Since you are playing together, you might be depending on them to drain that 6-footer since it’s been years since you made a putt outside of three feet.
Want to capture the excitement of the Ryder Cup throughout the year? Below are some proven ways to shake up your game while enjoying the growing movement of team-based golf all over Southern California.
SCGA TEAM PLAY
By far the biggest competitive program the Southern California Golf Association runs, over 230 groups pit 16 of their club’s golfers against each other. Each competition includes both single and four-ball match play with the season culminating in single elimination playoffs and an 18-hole team championship.
This intra-club, bi-yearly showdown is like a mini-Ryder Cup held within the confines of Los Angeles County. Armed with a sense of camaraderie (and their handicap), golfers of all skill levels join together for team-based golf that is as fun as it is friendly. Players rep their respective SoCal team in order to find out which group really is the “Best in LA”.
There’s even a hybrid format available that celebrates the group vibe while still putting pressure on one player during every single hole. Here each team of four counts only two scores per hole: The very best score plus that of the rotating “money ball” player (whether their stroke count is good or downright awful).