Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How to Put on the Perfect Fourth of July Scramble

Fourth of July is upon us, and because greater powers love 2008, it dropped on a Friday, giving us a three-day weekend to eat, drink, play golf and shoot off mini-bombs made with the precision of an elementary student's popsicle-stick house.

July 4th is to golf what New Years Eve is to amateur alcoholics. It gives people an excuse to drink, make bad decisions and end up in bed with someone who they won't remember in two days, but can justify it behind "Oh, it was New Years Eve, nobody wants to go home lonely." Just as many hacks out on the golf course this Friday with the excuse "It's July Fourth, I had to pull the clubs out of cobwebs."

This Friday all over the nation, scrambles will pop up with hamburgers, cheap domestic beer and the hope that you win some gift certificates in the pro shop or a flag tie for your dad. I've played in my fair share of golf scrambles, and here is my advise to putting on and participating in the perfect July 4th scramble.

1 PM Shotgun - This Thursday night, bars and house parties will be packed with people. In a town like Denver (my current home) there will be downtown fireworks, loaded streets and lots of Firework shots thrown down (a Starry Night, but call it a Firework on July 4th for added smiles). Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to wake up for an 8 AM shotgun. Also, if you have the 1 PM shotgun, it gives people time to finish the round, have a beer in the bar and round up the family for the obligatory firework show at your local club.

Never Pick the Teams - Hey, you know what's fun? Playing in a scramble on a holiday with complete strangers!!!! Seriously, never have a random team pick 'em. If you want the teams to be fair, require a min/max handicap system or flight the teams. Honestly, the whole weekend is based around family which means I do not want to play with Jannie and Frank from down the street. They suck, don't pair me up with them unless you want an "accidental" BlackCat situation. "I have no idea how those went off, I thought I blew out the fuse."

Gimmicks Are Great - Longest drive, closest to the putt, woodys, sandies, longest putt, best hairdo, worst matching shirt and shorts combo, best American flag collared shirt, it all works. Any gimmicky contest you have will improve the atmosphere surrounding the tournament.

An Event at the Pool - If there is a pool at your course, do all the things you'd do for the golfers there. Drinks, food, balloons, streamers, bring out all the works. It gives the wives or non-golfing husbands a place to take the kids.

Hot Dogs Before, Burgers After - It's July 4th, drop your damn diet for one day you lame ass. Have someone grilling out where you can smell the smoke and fat circulating in the air, and give people a chance to load up their meaty meal with ketchup, mustard, relish and some potato chips on the side. I was never a big Apple Pie guy, but bring some of that too. I want people to feel sick at the end of the day.

A Drink Cart Girl That Gets It - If you're a golfer, there is one thing that bothers you on the golf course (besides a group hitting in to you or a fried egg in the bunker) -- shitty cart girl service. Is it that hard? You see every group once an hour (four times a round) and don't lallygag between loops. On a holiday, especially this one, only have one of the four compartments reserved for non-alcoholic drinks, and stock the other 75 percent with as much beer as possible (adding a cooler in your shotgun rider's feet area is even better). Seriously, the more loops a cart girl makes, the more cash she brings in for both herself and the club. If you have a cart girl that has an IQ that could rival that number on the top of an iron, give her the day off. We need efficiency!

Make It as Easy as Possible - Golf beats people up 364 days of the year, let this day be different. Play the up tees for both men and women, put the pins in the middle of the green and offer mulligans. This is supposed to be a good experience and nobody has fun when they've made three pars in a row during a four person scramble.

Cash Payout - You're not hosting this for revenue, you're hosting it for enjoyment. Pay the winners in cash so they've got something to blow over the weekend (maybe at your course).

Fireworks After - This isn't even an option. Find a comfy hill, have someone grilling the previously mentioned hamburgers and get the golfers to invite their families. Also, it helps if you can find the craziest, bigger off-rocker kid in the club and get him to stage the firework show. Todd, I'm looking at you.

Lemonade Stand - Maybe the most American thing possible. Have some kiddos at one of the holes selling this stuff, and it will is a trigger to evoke a story from your dad and grandpa about when they used to do this stuff.

Leave Your Competitive Shoes on the Rack -It's not about winning or losing, it's about fun with your family or friends. If you're playing well, embrace it, if you're hacking it around, smile it off.

Alright, there are your suggestions for a successful Fourth of July scramble. If you have any points to add, shoot them in comments.


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