There’s pressure and then there’s everyone you know watching you play in the shootout pressure. I can not think of a greater challenge to an average golfer than attempting important shots in front of a large home club crowd. Typically reserved for member-guest events and other such competitions, the shootout is a real torture chamber for the nerves. After a weekend of grinding through a flight of similarly skilled teams, the best of the bunch get their shot at country club glory. Shootouts are comprised of sorted personalities. Teams that have been playing together for years, partners with business relationships, family member squads, and obscure friendship duos all come for their chance at some cash and to put their name on a plaque. With dozens of on-lookers surrounding each swing, it requires tremendous concentration to perform well. Every shot is riddled with tension. Make the swing, hole the putt, or face elimination. Although the challenge of winning the shootout seems daunting, someone will indeed raise their arms and achieve the unthinkable. There are betting favorites, lovable underdogs, and of course the ones nobody can stand. With drinks flowing and players forced to play through a raucous atmosphere, there’s no telling what might happen and usually, the day is defined by a surprise putt, an unfortunate mishap, or a momentous swing nobody saw coming. That’s the beauty of it. A shootout is unpredictable but there are always countless witnesses on hand to see how a new grill room legend unfolds. It’s simply one of the best environments in golf.
If you enjoy these musings, you’ll probably like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this year as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.