Adding Cross-Country Competition


Ed Winiecki, the 2010 Southern California PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year, is the PGA general manager at The Club at Crazy Horse Ranch in Salinas, California.

I think we may have all played a type of cross-country golf when we were kids. It was creative and lots of fun then, so I tried it with our ladies’ invitational and it was a huge hit. We picked four holes that were obviously not conventional, teeing off on our No. 1 tee box and playing to the No. 3 green, then playing from Hole 4 tee box to No. 9 green and so on and so forth. The women thought that was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It was just so different. You can get yourself in some goofy areas, and the ladies were laughing more than any other part of our invitational. Our cross-country is a separate competition within the ladies invitational. It isn’t part of the total – the aggregate – that would help you win the tournament. Essentially, it takes the place of what some courses do with the horse race. In lieu of a horse race, we substituted our cross-country event and just changed it up a bit, and the women enjoyed that because it was so non-traditional. They loved the fact that they were playing the course a completely different way, and that created a much lighter atmosphere. We also use this format in our junior programs. The juniors thought it was as much fun if not more fun than when I was riding in the picker at the practice range and they were railing shots at me!

We’ve been running the cross-country for four years, and it’s a big reason the ladies’ invitational sells out. Last year we had 72 ladies participate in the invitational at a price of $250 per team. I know it is not the only factor, but I guarantee the cross-country has something to do with it because of the fun factor. It’s not applicable for everybody – some courses would have a difficult time pulling it off because of layout or design – but try using a little creative thinking to reroute a few holes. If you can put together just four holes and select a time when the course isn’t busy, such as late in the afternoon, it will pay off. We need more fun in our game, and this is one way to do that.

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Editor’s note: The above comments reflect the opinion and experiences of the submitting PGA Professional and are not endorsed by PGA Magazine or the PGA of America.