One of the best parts of my job is working with club presidents to help them grow and improve their teams. An interesting trend I continue to hear is that Presidents are beginning to collaborate with one another (Virginia Tech and UVA already compete in the Commonwealth Cup) and have their own Ryder Cup style tournaments. I had the chance to interview UGA's President Richard Hardeman about a "Peach Cup" event they recently competed in against their rival Georgia Tech.
How did you guys arrange the match? I got in contact with the Georgia Tech president, Andy Zweig, about playing an interclub match in early August. Originally we were hoping to play it at Capital City on the Crabapple Course, but when that didn't work out I suggested that we play at the UGA Golf Course. We worked together to come up with dates that would work for both teams, and we both liked the 12 vs. 12 Ryder Cup format because we felt it would bring more of a team atmosphere to the tournament. We also hope to expand it over the coming years to include more teams from Georgia. This year we entitled the event "The Peach Cup" and got a trophy that the winning team will get to hold for a year after winning.
Who won? The tournament was a two day event with two man best ball the first day and individual match play the second day. We took an early lead over Tech up in 5 and down in 1, but they came back to almost tie it on the first day leaving the score 3.5-2.5. On the second day we needed 6 points to secure the win, and I I felt very confident about four of our matches in particular. We were down in the other 8 so I went around and told the guys that they needed to make a move if we wanted to win. Two of my guys won 17 and 18 and halved their matches to give us a chance to win. At that point we only had one match left on the course that mattered and they were all square on the 15th green. On 16 tee, Adam stuck it to about 6 feet and made the putt to win the hole and then went on to win 17 to bring home the tournament for us.
Would you recommend other NCCGA teams play in these types of events?I would highly recommend planning these types of events for your team. They give you the ability to play with the format to give the guys something other than traditional stroke play. I also think that they are a good opportunity to not only connect with other teams in your area but also to give your team members more competitive rounds.
What are your thoughts on NCCGA's growth over the past year? I think that the growth of the organization is great for the college golf scene. This question really hits close to home because The University of Georgia is one of the teams contributing to the growth of the NCCGA. Here at UGA, there was a huge pool of talent to field a team, and now that we have one up and running we can not only compete in the NCCGA but also bring guys together who all love to play the game.
How have you managed to grow the UGA Club Team? Last semester we didn't even have a team, but myself and a few other students decided that it was time to get one going. We put up fliers at the golf course and across campus, as well as emailing individual fraternity presidents to try to get the message out. We currently have 24 formal members on the team but 92 students expressed an interest in being part of the club and so we are very optimistic about the growth of our team moving forward.
Should the NCCGA offer match play events? I think this would be a great addition to the NCCGA. The match play format really promotes the team atmosphere, and I think it would be a nice change of pace every once in a while from stroke play events. The guys on both teams were all really fired up about the tournament especially since it came down to the last match, and it was personally really cool to get to watch it all happen after all the hard work everyone has put in over the past 6 months to get the program here at UGA going.
With the heavy increase in social media and blogging permeating NCCGA, I am excited to help facilitate more "one-off" matches amongst local NCCGA teams. Obviously the Regional and National Championships are the highlights of the season, but Ryder Cup matches are a great way to stay competitive while reducing travel and also some of the non-core players to get involved in competitive play as well. If you want help connecting with another president, let me know and I'll help you guys get a tournament going!