August 5th, 2016 — Day 2— 399 days until the 2017 GTC

If you read the introduction or any heading below an article’s title, your have already been acquainted with the GTC, as earning a green towel at this event, 400 days from today, is the ultimate goal of this project. But, what is the GTC, and why do I care about some stupid towel?

15 years ago while working the grounds crew at Edina Country Club, two 20-year-olds, now known as “The Founders” created a golf tournament that will last a life time.

The Golf Tournament of Champions (GTC) is a golf tournament was created 15 years ago as nothing more than a fun way for a bunch of kids to compete, but has evolved as a way for 17 friends from high school to remain just that. over the years that number of players has grown from 8 to 12 to 16 to 17, but has never shrank. I don’t imagine it ever will.

Every year on the weekend after Labor Day, the seventeen of us take a road trip (far enough away that no one can go home between days) for a three day adventure of golfing and drinking and golfing and golfing and drinking and golfing and drinking and golfing. There is a lot of both of those things.

The GTC is organized each year by 2 captains. At the culmination of each event, that captainship is handed off to two new captains at the previous captains’ discretion.

The Captains of each tournament are responsible for the following:

  • Choosing venue
  • planning and organizing golf accommodations
  • planning and organizing lodging
  • creating the format for this years team event
  • planning and organizing the opening ceremony dinner
  • collecting and distributing funds, if need be

Thanks to the diligent work of this year’s captains, the schedule for the 2016 GTC at Harvester Golf Course in Rhodes, IA has officially been set.

Friday, September 9th

  • Players arrive via flight or 3 hour drive to Rhodes, IA
  • Optional practice round at the course, for those that come early
  • Opening Ceremony dinner

Saturday. September 10th

  • Morning 18-hole team event
  • Afternoon 18-hole team matchplay event
  • Dinner and Poker game

Sunday, September 11th

  • 18-hole individual stroke play event

The GTC is comprised of 2 events; a Team event and the individual event.

For the Team event, he format and teams can change from year to year. Typically, it has been two teams of 8 playing against each other with one captain leading each team. But, it has happened that the captains have elected to go with three smaller teams.

Each member of the winning team each year is rewarded with a gold towel, which they can proudly display on their bag to signify their status as “reigning” for the next year.

The team event for the 2016 GTC will be a 36-hole battle between two teams played on Saturday. Each 9 holes will have a different format and will be played as follows:

Saturday AM, front 9 — Shamble — two members of each team vs. two members of the opposing team. Each teammate tees off. then each team member plays the rest of the hole from where the better tee shot landed.

Saturday AM, back 9 — Alternate Shot — two members from each team play one ball on each hole, alternating shots.

Saturday PM — 18 holes — individual match play.

One of the most exciting events that takes place at the GTC is the team pairings draw. On Friday night, following the opening ceremonies, each team will submit their pairing for which team members are pitted against which in the Saturday team match. In the interest of strategic competition, The pairings are submitted one group at a time. For example; Team A will submit their first pairing to Group 1, and Team B will submit a pair of golfers that they believe matches up well with Team A’s pair. After that, Team B will submit the first pairing to Group 2, and Team A will submit a pair that matches up well, and so on and so forth. This process will then be repeated again between the two Saturday rounds as well.

The intensity and strategery swirling around the pairings draw and the effect that those pairing have on the outcome of the match is is second to nothing as it relates to building excitement for an event.

The individual Green Towel event has, for the first time, been moved to Sunday morning this year. Typically, this event has been held either Friday afternoon or embedded within the Saturday team event. The event itself is simple. 18 holes of individual stroke play. The best score is the GTC champions and gets to hang that green towel on their bag as “reigning” over all other GTC golfers for the next year. My goal is to win that towel. But with a handful of golfers in the field with sub-8 handicaps, I have a long ways to go before I can put myself in the running for it.

Thanks to this year’s captains, the 2016 GTC has the potential to be every bit as great as any GTC in history, and is an opportunity for me to climb the ranks and take a step closer to my goal of a green towel.

Fairways & Greens,


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