Monday, April 20, 2009

GAP Matches

GAP matches, the gentlemanly practice of the Golf Association of Philadelphia every spring. Formally known as the Suburban League, it is a phenomenally successful and fun practice of pitting 12 players from each club that enters against 12 opponents from another club.

Six players compete at home and six players away. Each fourball on each course (Three at each paired club) play two single matches and a fourball match. Twenty-four matches each weekend for three consecutive weekends for a grouping of four teams. Then at the end of the regular matches the playoffs ensue with winners (and losers) of each group of four eligible to challenge (and defend).

AA division

Sixteen Elite (yes elite) amateur teams compete in four separate brackets for supremacy which enters that team into the four-way finals. That final is held with three players at home and at each of the three other sites. Each player plays three separate matches at once.

A Division

This grouping has 32 teams in 8 brackets. The top teams get to challenge the weakest teams in AA and their weakest get challenged by top B division teams for ascendancy.

B Division

128 teams compete in 16 4-team divisions. Only 127 teams comprised B this year and Lehigh CC Team 1 (Yours truly) had yesterday off. Thus my chance for good fortune below.

C, D, E Divisions

Again each has 128 teams maximum, but E had only 10 teams this year. The great thing is that however many teams a club can field can compete. Huntingdon Valley, Philadelphia Cricket and Tavistock all fielded FIVE teams this year (That's sixty male players from each of those clubs). THIRTEEN clubs fielded four teams this year.

All told, that's THREE THOUSAND, SEVEN HUNDRED and SIXTY EIGHT club players. Every player plays all 18 holes as the format is to gather points. One point front, one point back, one point total for each match, three per fourball. That's fifty four points per Interclub match.

Now the good part. Each hole that you are up after the match is worth a quarter point, so if you win all 18 holes in a match you get 1 + 1 + 1 + 4 1/2 (18/4) = 7 1/2 points maximum possible. This of course never happens, but how badly you beat an opponent adds to your team's point total and helps you win your division.

That's what determines the final outcome in the overall championship - who gets the most points in that four club final death match.

Here's last year's finals

You'll see that winning three matches at home was accomplished by three of the four teams, but quarter points made the difference in crowning Tavistock 1 the overall winners.

All weeks except championship and challenge week has dinner and drinks for all players hosted by the each club.

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