Tournament Format

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The Father and Three Sons Golf Classic is held annually on the last or second last Friday of August.

At the conclusion of the event each year, the Host Family officially introduces the Host Family for the following year, who announces what course will be played.  The Host Family (or co-host families) then work throughout the year to plan and organize an event that will continue the tradition and spirit of this storied tournament.

While the Host Family has a significant amount of leeway on the specifics of the event, allowing them to put their own "stamp" in the history books, there are certain guidelines and traditions that are generally adhered to.

Playing Times
Shotgun has become the standard for the tournament and depending on the number of families (usually between 30 and 36), most holes have two groups teeing off in A and B foursomes.  Rounds are typically played in 5 to 5 1/2 hours, so a mid-morning start has become the norm.  From time to time a "backup" will occur at a given hole, which is usually seen by all as a chance to get to know others in the tournament who share a common bond.

Pairings
Despite the strong family nature of the tournament, families do not play together.  Generally, fathers are paired with fathers; sons with sons.  Members of New Families are often paired with members of Old Families with long-standing participation in the tournament.

The Host Family determines hole groupings, usually based on matching similarly handicapped players.  An official handicap is not required - an estimated handicap for each family member can be indicated on the Registration Form.

Scoring
Though families do not play together as a foursome, their individual scorecards are tallied together to determine eligibility for the various awards and trophies presented at the Dinner & Awards Banquet.  The Host Family and host Club Professional work together to determine the scoring system that will be used to determine each family's Net Score (usually the Calloway, or a modified Calloway, system).

While the "Low Gross" Family is considered the tournament "winner", the emphasis of the event is on fun and friendship.  To that effect, there are also formal trophies for "Low Net" as well as "Closest to the Lauers", presented in fun to the family with the worst aggregate score.  Quite often there are random draw prizes as well.

At the discretion of the Host Family and host course, there have also historically been competitions for Longest Drive (separate for fathers and sons) and Closest to the Pin.

Format of Play
The Host Family and host Club Professional will determine specific local rules.  In the past, depending on conditions of the course and expected pace of play, various discretionary rules have been implemented.  Past examples include "winter rules" in effect, drop zones for lost balls on forced-carry holes, and playing all hazards as "lateral".

While not mandated by the Constitution, several formats have been widely adopted as the norm:

  • Shotgun start

  • Maximum score of double par on any hole

  • Option to play front tees for players aged 65+ or under 13

  • Ready golf among foursome