A golf league born of middle-aged hoopsters.


With season 13 approaching it's halfway mark, action in the annual "Best-Nine" Summer Shootout at Heron Glen, Hunterdon County NJs only public golf course, is mounting as July's hot sun sets in. The summer-long tournament started as off-season recreation for a group of middle-aged men striving to fill the athletic void left during suspension of the townships over-30 men's recreational basketball league during summer school closings. This article summrizes the history of the event and the current scoring system.


DISCLAIMER This is a private golf tournament designed and run by a small group of hackers using a NET scoring system that Rube Goldberg would be proud of.  


The Summer Shootout was conceived by Jim T., a direct descendant of Blackbeard the Pirate, and coordinator of the men's Over-30 hoops league. An artist by nature and profession, he is know as 'Condor' among our hoopsters from undoubtedly holding the unofficial, all-time-township record for blocked shots in the league, at least for the past three decades that I know of.


At the onset, the concept and rules were simple:


1) Play twilight golf once a week on Tuesday night at the local course with a group of friends during the summer beginning in July after school closed and until it opens.

2) An entry fee of $10.

3) Your 5 best nine-hole scores will be tallied and compared among the group to determine Gross and Net winners.


 "Ahh", Gross is one thing, you're thinking, but how did you handicap Net?" Below is the Season 1 scorecard.


2003 Score card


The numbers in parentheses are each one's handicap index that determined during a special liar's dinner held before the annual spring golf getaways to Atlantic City or Allentown, depending upon whoever became motivated enough to organize something. Its design belies an artisan's touch, and its implementation was informal insofar as we principally used first names for season 1, which ran for only 8 weeks, after which the individual having the lowest scores in a category won. There wasn't a tie so its outcome was clear and unquestionable. Ed. K (12) won gross and Greg H (14) won Net. 


The topic of awards for the winners of year 1 arose at the 19th hole. In a moment of weakness, or perhaps from weariness stemming from organizationa stress, Jim T. loosened the reigns and delegated the awards duty to the two inaugural victors, who, presented with a rather unique opportunity to name an award after themselves,  intergated  last names. Consequently the tournament became the 'Best-Nine Summer Shootout for the Kiman Trophy'.  Since then, various participants have helped run the event, various rules have been tried, and booith the scoring method and trophy has evolved.


The rules and current scoring system are:


1. Play begins after 3:30 pm on Tuesdays for a season starting the Tuesday after Memorial Day and finishing the Tuesday after Labor Day.


This results in 14 weeks of tournament play, or 28 9-hole rounds if you make every week from just happening to be around all summer with nothing better to do. Those who play the most increase their chances of winning by having the opportunity to discard up to almost 2/3 of their "blowup" rounds.


2. The net scoring index for each player is calculated using 90% of their average gross scores. The scoring index is recalculated every 5, 9-hole rounds so that Net scores for rounds 6 to 10 use the 5-hole calculated index, Net scores for rounds 11 to 15 use the 10-hole index, etc. In this manner, individual indexes are periodically adjusted to reflect hot and cold streaks which makes this game so delightful at times, and unbearable at others.


3. For established players, Net scores for rounds 1 to 5 use their overall 9-hole index carried forward from the end of the previous season. New players establish their first index after playing their first 5, 9-hole rounds, which are then used to back-calculate their first 5 Net scores.


4. A player's 10-best scores over the course of the summer determine the regular season winners for low gross and net.

Thriteen years after its conception, we're still playing Tuesdays during twilight hours from the white (intermediate) tees reaching just over 6000 yards.  A seasonal volunteer books four groups, two weeks in advance using special privileges given to those participating in the course's frequent fairways program. There is currently a group of about twenty players filling 16 available slots. It's first come first serve to snag one. We play regular golf rules with some exceptions that help ensure a quick rate of play, which becomes more of a factor long into the summer when twilight shortens, and one strains to finish a 'keeper' round against mounting darkness. Emotions  run high when your one over on the back nine, heading into 16, and you can't see where your drive went because there's no sunlight, not to mention the "Glennie's" fescue patches and strips. To that end, the maximum score one can tally on any hole is double par. Players should pick up their ball when scoring double par and move on. We also can roll the ball in the fairway either to avoid unpleasant lies and boost confidence. Out-of-bounds is stroke and distance, or, replay an new ball where you hit it out from. We also play 'inside the leather' gimmees for close puts (the variable length from the bottom of a putter to the bottom of its grip).


The stories stemming from this event are often resurrected and embellished at most gatherings, and although some players move on or simply lose interest, new players are added occasionally by invitation from an established player. It hasn't got out of hand yet. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of participating is the opportunity to play organized, competitive golf on a regular basis that helps one appreciate the 'greatest game' among friends.


Thanks Condor.


Greg H.