Hot-and-cold golfers, try this gambling game to start scoring low

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Cut out the valleys and ride the peaks by playing in an eclectic format.

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The “psycho scorecard” is a rite of passage in the world of golf — no matter the visceral, occasionally exhausting level of frustration it causes players. The sight of rows of 2’s and 3’s alongside 6’s and 7’s (or worse, the dreaded snowman) is enough to raise the blood pressure of any sane golfer.

But worse than the outcome (which is typically a ballooning handicap) is the knowledge that accompanies the psycho scorecard. You know what you’re doing at least some of the time you’re on the course. But for whatever reason, you can’t seem to put it together for longer than a few holes in a row.

I know all this because I am the holder of more than a few psycho scorecards in this season alone. I know the pain of going 3 under on the first four holes of the back nine only to record a 42 coming in, of starting the day bogey-bogey-double and realizing I need to go low to salvage my score.

Frankly, it stinks. I’m tired of it. Which is why during my next round(s), I’m trying out this week’s golf gambling format, the Eclectic Tournament.

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The big picture

An Eclectic Tournament is, essentially, a collection of your best scores from playing multiple rounds or multiple balls. This tournament is perfect for boom-or-bust players because, over the span of several rounds, your outlier scores should begin to vanish, while your lower scores remain.

How to play

  1. Set your parameters: Typically, an Eclectic Tournament will serve as an add-on to a stroke play event, but this isn’t entirely necessary. If you’re looking to play with your friends, set the parameters for how you want to play (36 holes in a day, each player uses two golf balls, etc.). Just beware of maintaining proper pace, especially if you’re playing two balls.
  2. Tee Off: Play the round as you usually would, tallying your scores for 18 holes. If you’re playing two golf balls, tally the both scores for every hole.
  3. Calculate your scores: After the round is complete, collect every player’s lowest score on each hole over the parameters you and your teammates set. For example, if you were to play an Eclectic Tournament with two balls and on the first hole you made 6 with one ball and 4 with the other, you’d take the 4 as your score for hte hole. The player with the lowest 18 hole score under the parameters is the winner.
  4. Money: Typically, money is determined in advance with each player contributing an amount to the pot. Players can choose to tier the winnings or to give it all to the winner, depending upon the format and any other side games that might be going on in tandem.
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Why you should try it

An Eclectic Tournament is a perfect format to follow if (like me) you’re someone who often falls victim to the psycho scorecard. You don’t need to constantly score low, but if you want to be in contention, you have to ride your peaks while avoiding valleys on the same holes. For those whose golf game is feast or famine, it’s time to feast.

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