It’s Europe v the USA in the Ryder Cup this month, so why not set up your very own office golf contest? We’ve come up with a Ryder Cup-style golf game, complete with rules, to get you into the swing of things.
Choose The Teams
If you have any European colleagues, you could force them to be on the USA team to annoy them, but in the spirit of fun, it’s much easier to split the teams evenly.
Set up teams: Let’s say there are 10 players. Get 10 slips of paper and write USA on five and Europe on five. Fold over and ask players to pick one each at random. Now you’ve got your teams.
Give them names: Golf is famous for players with unusual names, like Tiger Woods and Fuzzy Zoeller. So your players need good names too.
For the USA golfers, use a random name generator that creates names from American census records. Be sure to set the name style to ‘rare’ for the best results. When I tried it I got Dirk Slone. Really.
For the Europeans, we’ll cheat a bit (there are far too many wonderful names to choose from, all around Europe). So we’re going pseudo-British and using a Charles Dickens name generator – now you can have Ernest Arfybert on your European Ryder Cup team.
Set Up Your Course
Real golf courses have three basic parts – tee, fairway and green. The tee is where you start for each hole; the fairway is normally a gentler part where you line up your shot for the green, and the green is where you putt.
Along the course of each hole you have hazards like bunkers or pools of water. On the sides you’ll have the rough, tall grass and bumpy bits where balls can get lost.
For each hole, start in an open area for the tee, moving into a smaller space with obstacles around for the fairway and finally into a tighter area for the green. Perhaps you’d tee off in a corridor, aiming for a space between two desks for the green and finally into the corner of a room.
Create holes with a mix of lengths and obstacles and use crumpled up paper scraps to create a rough area for a hazzard.
Real golfers at the Ryder Cup face all kinds of obstacles on the course, so we need to inject a bit of danger and excitement into our office course. How do we do that? Hazard Cards.
If a person’s throw lands on a desk, it’s like landing in a bunker. The player draws one hazard card at random and has to follow the instructions. If they throw into the rough, perhaps chucking a ball into the boss’s office, they get one card. Accidentally hit a spectator – two cards. If they go for a hole in one and miss, two cards. (Have the player declare they’re going for a hole in one before throwing.)
Remember to define hazards and the parts of the office that are designed to be the rough. Once a Hazard Card is used, put it back with the others and shuffle them.
Like forfeits, set out the instructions – think amusing the spectators, rather than making things tough for players. Here’s a selection, but you can invent your own.
Ask players to putt:
With their weak hand, while patting their with the other hand
Standing on weaker leg reciting the alphabet backwards
While hopping on one leg and talking like a pirate
With their back to the hole [they can look over their shoulder or in a mirror]
Blindfolded [player chooses a person to move them into position, help them aim and tells them how hard to hit the ball]
Each team picks a player to tackle a particular hole. The person with the fewest goes wins that hole for their team and the team gets one point.
Let’s say Europe wins the first hole. They get one point. If the USA wins the second hole, they get also one point and scores are level. This keeps going for all 18 holes – or however many holes you want in your office course until you have a winner of your office Ryder Cup tournament.
Of course, if one team keeps winning holes, it may be possible to have a winner for the match before you get to the 18th hole since there’ s no way for the opponent to come back.
Have fun and don’t forget to dress in hideous golfing attire to complete the look.