If you have ever played in a golf tournament at a private club or golf course you have encountered the frustration of having tied for a place in the tournament only to find out you won or lost in a tie breaker. This tie breaker is most commonly done through a score card playoff. Seldom anymore is there a tie breaker where players actually go out after the event to a playoff on the golf course. 

With the normal scorecard playoff the tournament organizers go to the #1 handicap hole and compare net or gross scores of the teams that are tied in the playoff. If both teams tie on the #1 handicap hole the scorecard playoff goes to the #2 handicap hole and so forth.

The scorecard playoff overwhelmingly favors, in my professional opinion, the lowest handicap golfer. Consider an 18 handicap golfer in a playoff against a 4 handicap golfer. That means that both of them get a stroke subtracted off their score on the first four playoff holes. The 4 handicap golfer is, obviously, a better golfer than an 18 handicap golfer. The better golfer should easily score better on the tougher holes than the higher handicap golfer. 

Rather than simply identifying an inequity in the scorecard playoff concept I have a solution. Here is a strategy that you might want to consider that I believe will be viewed as new, fresh, fun, entertaining and most importantly, fair.

  1. On the very first day of the event, before the tournament begins, set up a long putt (30-50 feet) for each team (not each contestant) to select their best putter to participate.  If the team event is a four-man scramble then one of the four players will represent their team in the putting competition.  This allows each team to compete evenly against the other teams in the tournament through their choice of their best putter.
  2. Have the putting competition set up for at least an hour before everyone tees off in the event.
  3. Have each team’s chosen putter attempt to make the long putt and the tournament organizer chronicles how close their putt is from the hole after their one putt.  Obviously, those who make the putt will be listed as such.
  4. We encourage some sort of prize for the team who wins the closest to the pin putting contest. This will make for a fun start to the competition and encourage their best efforts.
  5. The results of this event will also be used to break ties in the upcoming golf event.  Instead of a scorecard playoff you simply break the tie by the comparing the team distance from the hole of the closest to the pin putting contest. Closest of the two wins!