Greenskeepers Revenge: An Unforgiving Tournament Format

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Have you ever been on a round with golf and noticed a pin location? “Was the greenskeeper mad when he cut the hole? Does he even like golfers or is he just out there to torture everyone?”

Sometimes, its an accident and part of golf. Other times, it’s something you can willingly sign up for in what’s referred to as aGreenskeeper revenge Tournament. Which is a superintendent’s dream where they get to do pretty much whatever they want to golfers.

These tournaments can be found here NotLike a normal round. It is pure torture in some instances, but it’s also one of the most entertaining rounds you will ever have. Luckily, it’s a team event so you and your favorite golfing buddies can go through war on the golf course together.

Continue reading to find out more about a greenskeeper tournament of revenge and why it is so important that you sign up as soon as you can.

Greenskeeper Revenge Golf Tournament

If you want to make golf even more difficult, play in a greenskeepers revenge tournament. This type of event is also known as an impossible scramble or superintendent’s revenge, which describes the event perfectly.

Let me begin by saying that this is NotYour average tournament or round of golf. This is where the greenskeepers and their staff make the course as difficult as possible. In some cases, it’s beyond hard and just ridiculous or silly, but that’s the point.

They will use every trick in their arsenal to make the golf course feel like a major championship venue. They want you to earn every stroke and walk away feeling exhausted (which I’m sure you will). Luckily, they’re usually only one day events because that’s all golfers and the course can usually handle.

I’ve had the “honor” of playing in several events and can say they’re a ton of fun. Sure, they’re diabolically hard, but they’re actually very funny as well. Your team and you will need to play the best golf to have any chance against it.

Before getting into how the course is set up 10X harder than an average day, let’s talk about the format.

Superintendent Revenge Format

There are many formats that can be played in golf. This is one of the reasons it is so much fun. Traditional stroke play is enjoyable, but there are many other events you can play.

  • Scramble
  • Shamble
  • Four-ball
  • Match play
  • Alternate shot (or Worst ball, which is the more difficult version)

The format is a scramb for greenskeeper revenge tournaments.le. Additionally, some golf courses might require 3-4 tee shots from each player, so one person doesn’t carry the team off the tees. This makes it more interesting, so make sure to recruit each golfer carefully.

I’ve played in 2-man scrambles, 4-man scrambles, and a best ball with a partner. I’ll say the best-ball with a partner was not fun, as you have to see your individual score after 18 holes which is humbling to say the least.

The scramble format is more fun and, depending on how hard they make it, the only way to make it fair. Preferably, try to find a 4-man event as I think they’re the most fun and take a lot of pressure off individual scores.

Even though it’s a scramble format, don’t expect scramble scores you tend to see at your local golf course. For example, a 4-man scramble winner who is -20 in 18-holes, expect it be around half (or less) of these types of events.

Plus, mulligans aren’t something you can usually purchase in the pro shop like a lot of other scrambles. These events don’tYou should also have a bogey limit so that scores can rise quickly, even with four great golfers. They might also have longer drive holes, closer to the pins, and/or longest putts on some holes.

These tournaments are more difficult than normal setups.

Playing the Tips

Distance is the first defense a golf course has.

Playing the white tees regularly will make a big difference in your approach shots to green. Simply switching to the tips or blue can make a big difference. Instead of hitting a wedge or short club into a par 4, you now have a mid-to-long iron.

This type of event sees players playing the tips to make the course last as long as possible. Your back foot should be in the rough as the tee markers will be far behind the box. This is to make each hole as long possible. They might do one of these things to make it even harder:

  • You can create a new tee by cutting the grass short and giving it a longer or tougher angle.
  • They might also use a different hole teebox to make it longer or to force a longer carry. You will often encounter more trees, water, or other obstacles.

This is why it’s a good idea to always have at least one bomber off the tee in your group. Even if they don’t have the best accuracy with a driver, having someone who can carry it over hazards or other trouble is key to scoring decently in these events.

Expect the course to play every yard up to the tip. Double-check where the boxes have been aimed. The superintendent will often aim them into the trees and rough without you realizing.


Rock Hard Greens

These tournaments usually take place right before the course is closed for maintenance or overseed. In Arizona, for example, all courses close in October for overseed season.

But the final round is usually a tournament like this, with names like “Rock Hard Open” and more. The course will be closed for a while so they can dry it and make the greens feel like Shinnecock hills in a US Open. Even if you live in a location that isn’t overseed, expect the greens to be faster than normal.

It is almost impossible to spin the ball on greens that are very firm. You will have to play for bounce. Plus, they’re superfast (usually an 11 or more on the stimpmeter) to make putting a lot more challenging than normal.

Greenskeepers may also be a nuisance by only mowing certain areas of the green. Some holes may only mow a section of the green, making it difficult for players. Or, “forget” to mow around the cup, so the greens are slow as putts get closer to the hole.

While the greens are challenging, don’t forget about the pin positions either.

Amazing Pin Positions

The pin locations are the final defense that makes the event feel as difficult as Sunday in a major championship. They usually use the 6-6-6 rule to set pin locations in tournaments.

Six easy pin locations, six moderate and six hard pins. In a greenskeeper revenge tournament, all bets are off and no mercy is shown.

Expect to play 18 holes in some of the most difficult places. It is better to have a good day than sorry. This is when the superintendent vents all his frustrations on golfers who forget or dont repair any ball marks on the greens.

Usually, the pins can be found:

  • Directly behind water hazards and bunkers
  • 2-3 paces from the edge of green (basically, the fringe).
  • Directly below a large tier or slope makes it impossible for you to putt downhill.
  • One pace on top a huge hill, falsefront, or tier. If the putt is missed, they will travel 10-12 feet beyond the hole depending on the severity.

Sometimes they may leave the flag completely on some greens. This will force you and your partner to hit different parts on the green in an effort to find one that is close to the cup.

More Greenskeeper Revenge ideas

The course should be played slowly, the greens fast and the pins almost impossible. However, they can make it even more difficult. This is where it gets borderline fun vs. silly and depends on your greenskeeper’s sense of humor.

Here are some of the other things I’ve heard about from fellow golfers who compete in these sadistic events:

  • Miniature holes Non-regulation cups are another way they can make the course more challenging. I’m sure you’ve seen these on some courses as a practice aid where the hole is barely bigger than a golf ball. This makes putting almost impossible because you need to be fast enough to locate the bottom of the cup.
  • Huge holes While miniature holes are challenging, sometimes they’ll make them 2-3x the size of a normal cup… which you think would make the hole easy. They will often make the hole larger than normal by cutting the pin on a slope or ridge. When they cut holes like this, you will be glad it’s a scramble format.
  • Multiple holes on this green This is quite funny but it can happen that greenskeepers will make four holes around the original one. Players will have to putt around the four holes in order find the original pin. They will be penalized if they find any of the other four. They might also leave branches, bushes, or other obstacles on the green.
  • Tee off from fairway bunkers It is too easy to play golf if you have three other partners. Sometimes, they’ll move the markers into the absolute worst fairway bunker on the hole and make you play from there.
  • One club rule.Grab your favorite club and start playing. I like a mid-iron or hybrid in these scenarios as you can hit it pretty long and it’s versatile around the greens.
  • There are no clubs until the greens. If you can’t use one of your 14 weapons, it’s time to throw it to the green before you get to use your putter on the greens. This might happen on short par 3’s so hopefully someone has a baseball past and a cannon of an arm. Don’t injure your shoulder trying to throw too hard.
  • Mini-golf greens. In some instances, I’ve seen the greens change from a normal golf course to one that looks like you’re at a family fun center. Players can be made more difficult by greenskeepers who may add hoses, rakes and other obstacles to the course. There’s usually no direct shot for the cup and requires some serious imagination from players to find the bottom of the hole.
  • Obstacles in your approach shot or drive. Finally, I’ve seen greenskeepers leave their mowers, tractors, and other equipment in the way to affect your tee shot or approach to the green. Or, they might “accidentally” leave a loud leaf blower on for a par 3 or other challenging shot to distract players. If you try to move an obstacle, it’s an automatic DQ.

Although not all tournaments are this silly, you never know what the staff will come up with. If the greenskeepers could get bad weather to make it harder, I’m sure they would. This is not your typical 4-man scramble, as I said at the beginning.

Final Thoughts

This tournament is for you and your golf buddies who enjoy a challenging round of golf. While the great players who invented this game might not approve, I can say they’re pretty fun and worth the money.

The greenskeepers revenge tournaments are unique to golf and another reason we love this sport so very much. Plus, they’re usually for charities and other good causes too.

Most of the time these events are for a good cause so don’t get too frustrated with the results and have some fun with your buddies. You can bring your patience pills or a beer to help you get through the bad shots and enjoy the brutal day of golf.

Finally, don’t forget to tip your cap and compliment the greenskeeping team on the challenge they set up.

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