Saturday, June 28, 2014

A New Experience: Associate Club Championship Qualifying

It was a long, but truly enjoyable day at Rancho Solano on Thursday.  The event was the 2014 Associate Club Championship local qualifier with a large field—nineteen teams, three hours of tee times.  This is an interesting and complex event to officiate, as each club sends a four man team.  The teams are broken up into two parts so that everyone plays with markers from another team.  Then, at scoring, two scorecards must be analyzed for two best net scores for each hole.

My very first ride-along training session last May was with the esteemed Betsy Pelkan.  Since then, I have always enjoyed working tournaments that she chairs, as she not only has a wealth of rules and tournament administration knowledge and experience to share, but she is also aware of the needs of newer officials.  This was no exception.  To my delight, my assignment was starting the entire field off the first tee, after she sent the first group off, then learning how to score the event.

It hasn’t taken me long to realize how much I enjoy the first tee at NCGA events.  The starter has the opportunity to meet and greet every player before they’ve missed a single fairway or putt, exchange pleasantries, answer questions, and basically make sure everyone gets started off on time and in compliance.  The players are uniformly friendly and grateful for the help.

On the rules front, there wasn’t much action.  The radio was silent most of the day.  The only real rules incidents were two players guilty of hitting someone the wrong ball, and one who picked his up to identify it without marking it or telling anyone what he was doing.  Interestingly enough, all of those incidents happened in the very same foursome!

After Betsy showed me the best way to line up the cards and write down the best scores for each hole, it was fairly simple.  The only problem was addition block after looking at too many cards!

There were two women in the field.  Betsy had predicted beforehand that one would likely qualify.  Sure enough—a woman who hit her initial tee shot about thirty yards sideways got over the jitters and shot 41 on the front side with a 21 handicap, and her team finished in the top spot. 

It also marked a new milestone:  the first time I’ve ever gotten a hug from a player!

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