Dear Molly – I’m Nervous!

My pal and I signed up for our first CGA net competition, and we are a little worried it’s going to be more serious than fun. What do we need to know to enjoy the day?

First, let’s talk about all the things you don’t need to do. You don’t need to make a tee-time, recruit a foursome, decide which tees to play, choose a format or, usually, even order lunch! The CGA tournament staff is going to take care of all that for you, even pairing you with other players at your own level! And doesn’t that sound fun?

That’s not to say you can’t prepare, however. If you follow the link you received in your registration to the Golf Genius tournament page, you’ll see a tab of Tournament Information that is updated as the competition approaches. There you may find event information, CGA policies and procedures, pace of play policy, driving directions and even a course weather forecast. Note that you might have an option to play a practice round on the course at designated times and at a special competitor rate.

There’s also something called the CGA Hard Card, which has some general rules of CGA competitions, including one worth noting: Audio devices are prohibited, so no music today. If there are any common golf rules that routinely stump you, this is also a good time to review.

To enjoy the day itself, arrive early enough to check in, get situated, practice a bit and chat with other competitors. Tell the CGA staff and volunteers who greet you it’s your first competition, they’ll give you some extra love, especially if you thank them for all they do! Check to see where you’re starting, with whom you’re playing and riding, and which tees you’ve been assigned. Don’t change carts or start at the wrong tee; all this has been arranged for you carefully and officially.

If it’s match play, you might also want to see how many strokes you are getting or giving, and on which holes.

There will be yet another page of information on your cart that includes local rules and situations specific to the golf course. Take a minute to look it over so you’ll know where to find answers to questions that may come up.

Swap scorecards with your cartmate or another competitor, but also track your own score, either in the space provided or on another card.

Once things get going, you don’t have to arbitrate any rules decisions – just flag down an official or call the number on your scorecard or info sheet if something comes up. It is, however, OK to ask your fellow competitors for rules help along the way; tell them up front it’s your first CGA competition and they will offer guidance. After all, not only is it poor sportsmanship to knowingly watch someone break a rule, it’s against the rules! (See Rule 1.3c(1).)

So be receptive to help you may receive from the veteran competitors. The CGA is proud to present several prestigious competitions, some of them for elaborate trophies, and these are taken seriously by competitors. For most CGA net competitions, the stakes are not high; these events are perks that come with CGA membership, designed and planned for your enjoyment. Enjoy! And try to make time for a chill 19th hole afterward.  

Molly McMulligan, created by golf journalist and CGA member Susan Fornoff, is the CGA’s on-the-course advisor on how to have more fun on the golf course. You don’t want to take swing lessons from Molly, but if you’ve got a question about etiquette, relationships or the culture of golf in Colorado, Molly will find the answer. Send your questions along here.


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