Whether it is the Race to Dubai, the FedEx Cup or the Ryder Cup Points List, we golfers love an Order of Merit, don’t we? The thought of a fitting reward for a year of consistently strong performances appeals to our competitive natures. But all the above are the preserve of the game’s elite.
Not so the Titleist Order of Merit powered by HowDidiDo and Golf Monthly, which is for amateur golfers at any of the 1800+ clubs who rely on the market-leading HowDidiDo handicap and competition software.
2016 was the second time that the 40 leading protagonists by the October 3 cut-off date have found themselves converging on the world-famous Belfry Hotel and Resort for the Grand Final over the Brabazon course. They were among 27,000 club golfers who registered for free early in the year. Then, from March 31 to October 3, 2016, their five best medal scores at their home clubs counted towards their Titleist Order of Merit points tally.
Ten Grand Final spots were up for grabs for each of the four home nations in six different divisions, with the prize also including an overnight stay, a full Titleist tour truck experience, a chance to try out the latest Titleist 917 drivers, 716 irons and SM6 wedges under the watchful eye of expert fitting technicians, half a dozen Titleist balls to suit their game, and a gala presentation dinner on the Friday night.
Competition for places at the Grand Final was, as you can imagine, intense, with no qualifier guaranteed of his or her spot until the last Medal at any registered club. Several finalists reported a nervous check of the HowDidiDo website on that final Monday morning to see if their efforts had been good enough, pending the outcome of competitions elsewhere up and down the country!
The Brabazon course that awaited them was in incredible condition for late October, but playing long. Add in slick greens, testing pins and holes like the 10th and 18th that are capable of playing games with the mind as well as the golf swing, and there was always going to be a thoroughly deserving champion.
Whether or not it was Rhys Lawrence’s big-hitting that ultimately saw him crowned Titleist Order of Merit Champion 2016, it definitely turned up when it counted on the Longest Drive hole. Pat Doran, who claimed the Ladies’ Division 1 title by the narrowest of margins on countback, was no doubt aided by her Nearest the Pin effort. The other divisional prizes went to Gary Wright, Barry Elsby, Barry Wilson, Kathleen King and Liam Duncan who all walked away with brand new Titleist standbags.
The spoils of overall victory for Rhys Lawrence included a custom-fit set of Titleist irons, an impressive Titleist tour bag, and a dozen Pro V1s to help replace any that may have fallen prey to The Brabazon’s famous water hazards along the way.
If all that has fired your competitive juices, and you’re a member at any of the 1,800+ HowDidiDo clubs, make sure you get your free entry in when details of the 2017 Titleist Order of Merit powered by HowDidiDo and Golf Monthly are announced early in the New Year. Who knows – next year it could be you at the Grand Final seeking to emulate Rhys Lawrence’s achievements this time round.
2016 Titlest Order of Merit winners
Division 1 Men
Division 2 Men
Division 3 Men
Division 1 Ladies
Division 2 Ladies
National Team Event (best eight net scores from ten)
1st – England – 696
2nd – Wales – 700
3rd – Scotland – 710
4th – Ireland – 714