Near the end of last year, I started to look into what Chicago has to offer in golf leagues. Nearly all of the leagues that I found are based just at one course and played only on certain days at that course, which is something that didn’t appeal to me. I eventually ran across the website for something that seemed a little different: Windy City Golf League. A couple months later, while browsing around the Chicago Golf Show, I ran across the booth for league, and I got a chance to talk to the founder, Jason Rotter, about the concept, format, and rules of the league.
The main idea that differs the Windy City Golf League from all other standard leagues is it’s flexibility. Instead of playing all of your matches at one course on one day in the week, the league allows you to choose to play your matches at any course, on any day, and any time. You also can play anyone in your league flight as much as you want, and you can play as many matches throughout the season as you want. Once you play a match, you just enter the results of the match into their website, and they handle all the ranking and statistics from there.
There are two types of formats for the league: the individual head-to-head league and the 2-person team scramble. For the individual league, you are grouped into flights based on your current (or estimated) handicap and based on your typical availability (which, at this point, might not have so much of an effect), so you will most likely play someone who is around your skill level. Your matches are standard 9- or 18-hole stroke play matches, and you receive points based on how many strokes you win or lose by. For the team league, since the league is relatively new, it is assumed that everyone is scratch golfers, and all teams are placed in the same flight. This obviously will change once the league gets enough teams to create multiple flights. Matches are played in scramble format, and recorded in stroke-play format. The 12-week league concludes with one final tournament where points can be earned: the Arghe Isle Cup Tournament. To qualify for the tournament, you need to be the points leader in your group, have the highest player rating, or have the lowest adjusted scoring average. The overall winner of each flight wins the tournament trophy.
The current cost for the league is $60 per person ($120 per team) per season. There are two seasons: the Spring season, which runs from April to July, and the Summer season, which runs from July to October. One really nice thing that Jason has worked on over the past years is creating partnerships and deals with golf courses in the areas. League members get special offers and discounts at some of the popular courses in the area. On top of that, Jason has also been working on other incentives that quickly offset the cost of the league.
So, needless to say, I’m going to join the league for the Spring season. I’m not going in to this expecting to win anything (some people might disagree with that attitude), but I’ll certainly enjoy it if i do. Maybe joining this league will help me with my mental game, forcing me to focus a little more during the round. But I’m primarily joining to meet some new people, play some new courses, and have some fun (and I think most people will agree with that attitude).
Update: Read my end-of-season wrap-up post here.