18 holes, five courses, and a shit-ton of wine. If your club isn’t holding a “Gastronome” competition, it bloody well should be.
“Gastronome” literally translated means “gourmet” and there is no better way to describe this competition, which, even with a 50€ entry fee, fills up within ten minutes of being able to sign up. Basically, every few holes there is a sit-down course of a six-course meal, each one paired with wine that compliments the dish. Could it BE any classier? Each course is provided by one of the top six restaurants in town – gastronome in-freakin-deed. Sound amaze-balls? It is.
The format of the Gastronome is suuuuper interesting. It’s called a Four-Ball Yellow Ball (in France anyway) and it’s almost the same format as a Four-Ball/Better-Ball, where each member of the team plays the hole individually, and the best two scores are counted as the team score. However, in a Four-Ball Yellow Ball, the four team members rotate having the “yellow ball” and that person’s score has to count as one of the two scores per hole (the other score that counts is the lowest of the other three players’ scores).
So every four holes, you have to perform to get a good score. It’s not like a normal Four-Ball where you can kick back as long as two other people are scoring well. And that makes this competition particularly interesting because when you mix wine and golf, things tend to get interesting, rather fast. Especially when, every four holes you know you’ve got to score and the pressure mounts. You can’t just kick back. You’ve got to man up, eat what’s on your plate, throw back drinks like a champ and don’t choke on the tee (figuratively, that is).
I don’t care what the competition is, if it’s called a ‘competition’ there has to be a prize. I don’t play to participate, I play to win. Historically the prizes are a meal for the four team members at the restaurants who have participated in the Gastronome. Winners pick a restaurant from unmarked envelopes on the table, like a lottery. Gross (brut) winners pick first.
And this year, we – pardon the expression – kicked everyone’s ass. Sorry that’s not very politically correct. We “liberated the others’ responsibility of taking first place.” We finished two above par gross, an average of +1 per player because you’re counting two scores per hole. The next best score was seven shots behind, so we were pretty stoked. It was a team effort of good scoring when it mattered. We held strong as a team – when someone played shitty, there was someone there to step in and get a good score. And we didn’t have any disasters on the yellow ball, which is key. It’s a great format and a great day out. It takes at least six hours to play because you’re shoving food into your mouth for 15 minutes every ‘meal’ stop. Long day, but enjoyed every minute.
For the last 13 years this competition has by far been the most popular tournament of the year, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Golfers get an incredible round of fine food, on the golf course, between good shots and bad (usually more bad shots after the third glass of wine) and the local top restaurants are granted prime access to their ideal clientele in a spectacular setting. Time to write a letter to your Golf Commission? Go on then… get your ‘gastronome’ on.