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Motivate Yourself for Match Play This Year


Match Play is one of the oldest forms of competition in golf. It pits players one against another, rather than one against the field as in stroke play. Opponents compete to win individual holes, and the player(s) who wins the most holes wins the match.

Match play can be played by two individuals, one on one, and that is known as Singles Match Play. Or teams of two players can square off, with Foursomes and Fourball the most common formats for team play.

As an EWGA Portland member you have several great opportunities to participate in these games. Portland Chapter has a match play ladder league where we play Singles (one player against another) with others in our Chapter. We also have teams forming to participate in Fourball and Singles competition on a Regional basis against other Chapters. The final opportunity is (closed at this point) is Women’s Interclub Play launched this year by the Oregon Golf Association. Our EWGA Portland Chapter plays against other Greater Portland Area women’s golf clubs. Next Year this WIP will be statewide and expand.

The Single Match Play league will close at the end of June so you still have some time. The Regional opportunity is a team event and YES teams are still forming. What makes a good team?

  • A variety of handicaps (not all high, not all low)
  • A Steady Edith: a straight hitter who may not be long off the tee but is deadly around the greens.
  • Wild Wilma: a long hitter who can turn a par 5 into an eagle opportunity

Steady Edith should look for a Wild Wilma as a partner to give the team potential. Wild Wilma has a chance to reach the long holes in regulation. Steady Edith gives the team stability, getting pars to offset her partner's disaster holes. Our team play (regionals and WIP) are 6 to 8 people and requires a captain that understands how to make a good team with fun being a primary goal!

Team Strategy Examples:

  • For example, a 12-handicapper should seek a partner who carries a 18. So far so good, but there's more to it than mere numbers. The 18 won't do you much good if she is the Steady Edith type who shoots 90 by making 18 straight bogeys. She must be the Wild Wilma sort who gets a handful of pars each round, pars that become net birdies. Presumably, the 12-handicapper is getting the pars; what she needs from a partner are net birdies.
  • All teams need partners with the right kind of temperament. The best partnership is one in which both players know their capabilities and limitations, and have the patience to play their normal games. Too often the high-handicap partner gets frustrated because she isn't helping the team and the low handicapper gets frustrated because she isn't getting any help. When that happens, the team invariably loses.
  • Another thing a team can do without is a player with a low boiling point. There are countless golfers who, after hitting a couple of bad shots, fall to pieces and are virtually worthless to the team thereafter. And there are an equal number of players who can sense this weakness in an opponent and quickly take advantage of it with some psychchatter. Avoid the partner who loses her cool.
  • Temperament--or attitude--is an intangible thing, but if it is present in the right proportions, it can produce positive results. Call it a winning attitude. A winner doesn't have to be a bad gal, but she is a little meaner and tougher than most when she has to be; certainly, she doesn't get soft-hearted or careless when she gets his opponents a couple of holes down.
  • A Captain needs to understand match play and make her knowledge of people pay off! It helps if she has some knowledge of how her prospective team members achieved their handicaps. If they are based on scores shot in casual weekend rounds, when nothing much was at stake and many short putts were conceded, it might be a bit low. A player whose handicap is based mostly on competitive rounds and who is accustomed to holing short putts under pressure will likely be more reliable.

Come on out and join this great golf opportunity this season and if not this year then plan for next year.

Carlyne Lynch