Alternative Scoring

Chadwick Bain, the PGA head professional at Findlay (Ohio) Country Club, was the Northern Ohio PGA Section’s Toledo Chapter Golf Professional of the Year in 2004, and was the Toledo Chapter president from 2004-06, during which time he sat on the Northern Ohio PGA Board of Directors.

You have to make things fun and appealing for everyone playing in charity outings. However, what do you do with the golfer who doesn’t play enough to have a handicap? Stick him in a scramble, where he doesn’t feel like he’s contributing to the team? To solve this problem I modified a scoring system used in competitive clay shooting – a hobby of mine – called the Lewis Class System, which essentially equalizes the field and lets everyone compete without the need for handicaps. We play a shamble format, with everyone on a team playing from the best tee shot, and then playing their own balls from then on. We record the team’s best two balls for each hole, adding them up throughout the round. Each hole also has a maximum score of double bogey, so we’re not forcing anyone to hit an unnecessary amount of embarrassing shots. Another benefit of this format is that a round usually comes in at under four and a half hours. Once everyone is done, I put each team’s score into a spreadsheet and sort them from lowest to highest. Next, I divide them into several flights. For instance, for 28 teams, I divide them into four fights of seven teams: flight one is the seven lowest scores, flight two is the next seven, etc. Rather than award the top three overall teams, we award the winner of each flight, with a chip-off or putt-off in case of ties. So basically we’re splitting the competition up into several smaller ones of similar skill levels.

For charity events, I believe, the charity itself should always be the major winner of the day. Usually, these events aren’t the most competitive, so players and coordinators alike are happy to play a different system that’s fun for everyone. Approximately 20 percent of my charity outings take me up on the offer to use this new scoring system. When I first used this system this last year for a local hospital, I managed to secure PGA Tour professional Kenny Perry for the day. He hit a tee shot for each team on one of the holes, which was exciting for our guests. It’s a lot of fun, and offers your charity clients a different, fun alternative to the traditional scramble event.