Backspin Volume 3, Issue 8 - Page 5

narrominded Four-ball stroke or match play is great. As we all know golf is a challenging game and individual stroke play is the toughest tournament format. However, having a partner to lean on makes competitive golf a bit less grueling. As a former club professional who’s work schedule allowed very few weekends off, I never got to enjoy the fun of your typical fourball. However, my schedule now does allow for some weekend fun, and I’ve recently played in my first four-ball since I was a kid. The USGA has recognized the popularity of four-balls and has created a new championship the past couple of years. You and your partner regionally qualify for a national fourball where two rounds of stroke play seeds you into a match play bracket. The national championship is played on a iconic course, and it is well on its way to becoming a bucket list event for the amateurs in our country. The four-ball I recently played is the Budweiser/Bradley Four-Ball Invitational at Oak Knoll CC. I’m very familiar with the event as I’ve worked at Oak Knoll for 10 years and know the weekend inside and out. The field is full every year which means 92 teams. I’d guess more than 50% of the teams have played multiple years which makes flighting much easier. I played with a good friend from McKinney, Texas, and he can’t wait to come in town every year to play. The strange thing about that is Oak Knoll is no where near the caliber course he is a member of, and he still loves to come in to town and play in the tournament. The reason he loves it is because the Oak Knoll staff and its members put on a great show for the participants. Friday through Sunday there is plenty of food and drink for every player and a date. Every team plays one morning round and one afternoon round and the flights are highly competitive. It is certainly an event that even poor play on the course will not stop the fun. Players will still feel as if they got something out of the entry fee. There are numerous events available for golfers to play year round. While the classic member/members and member/ guests fall into this format, I’m more speaking of invitational type tournaments. There are generally some great prizes. Lots of guys even plan their time off around these tournaments as they are also great getaways for groups of friends. For example, in “The Bradley,” 12 teams from Alabama came down to Hammond this year. Most of the guys play with each other regularly. For me, this year was quite surreal because as I mentioned earlier, I’ve have been in charge of the event 10 times. It was dif- ficult but at the same time nice to go out and not worry about if every little detail or if something was not getting done. I always had a great time when I was working the event as I like being in charge and making decisions. However, I must say sitting back and seeing how much fun it is to be a participant isn’t bad either. My play in the event was as if I was only there to enjoy the weekend. The first round I was as jittery as I’ve been in a long time playing golf. That is a good thing if you can settle in and use that extra bit of adrenaline to your advantage. However, it worked the opposite for me, and I didn’t play very well. I did pretty well the second round but it was too little way too late and we finished as also rans. I’m sure you have an event or two like the one I’ve described that you plan around every year. If not, I would highly suggest to find a partner who first and foremost you enjoy playing with and hopefully compliments your game. I know I can’t wait to play in the Budweiser/Bradley again next year to redeem myself. And if I don’t, I know I’ll have a good time none the less. Jake Jake Narro, PGA professional, head golf coach at Southeastern Louisiana University and Backspin publisher 5