Our own Ryder Cup

Growing a golf rivalry

By Josh Howald

A new chapter is about to be written in the book of local golf history.

Kincardine Golf and Country Club will do battle with Ainsdale Golf Course in a head-to-head tournament much like the PGA’s Ryder Cup – which pits Americans and Europeans against each other for golf supremacy.

“A friendly rivalry between the two courses has always existed,” said Walter Hogg, who came up with the idea of holding a Kincardine version of the Ryder Cup. “And I think this is something that is just going to grow over time.”

Hogg was golfing with Don Turcotte when he mentioned he had seen an interclub Match in Wales that used the same format. He told Turcotte everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves – the players taking it seriously, spectators waving flags and sipping champagne. Turcotte liked the idea so much; he shared the idea with Al Mackay of Ainsdale Golf Course.

“It just took off from there,” said Hogg. “We had some scurrying around to get things ready for this year, but we are all set and ready for Sept. 22 and 23.”

Each golf course has selected 12 golfers of all skill levels to compete, as well as one non-playing captain. Grant Clark will handle the duties for Kincardine Golf Course, while club pro Joe Rettinger will take care of the Ainsdale team. The line-ups could change right up until tee time. While Rettinger and Clark won’t golf, they will be whipping around the course keeping track of scores and looking for the best match-ups to suit their respective team.

On Saturday, Sept. 22 the teams will play nine holes at Ainsdale Golf Course beginning at 9 a.m.  The following day, the action shifts to Kincardine Golf Course, where 12 single matches will be played out. The first team to 12.5 points will win the Ryder Cup.

Or what looks like the Ryder Cup. Hogg picked up an exact replica of the historic trophy, first handed out in 1926. The golf courses kicked in the green fees for each day, while Presto-Crest is providing uniforms for the teams at a reduced cost. Shewfelt Financial is covering the cost of Kincardine’s uniforms, while Miller Insurance has looked after medals for the championship winning team.

“It is essentially an interclub with 12 golfers per side,” said Hogg. “It is based on match play principles, not total strokes but total holes won. The captains select who plays with who and the match-ups – they will have to run around and try to keep everything together.”

Keeping it together is one thing, pulling the tournament together was another.

“I think it was done too fast this year,” said Hogg. “And a tournament at Kincardine Saturday further complicates things, so it has been hard to get a true spectrum. But I know it will be hotly contested.”

Those who wish to throw on some slacks and a blazer (not mandatory) and watch the tournament are more than welcome. There is no charge for admission, and for a cost, you can stay for dinner Sept. 23 at Kincardine Golf Course (RSVP).