by Eva Dean Folkert
The Hope-Calvin Rivalry took a friendly and distinctive turn on Saturday at Railside Golf Club in Byron Center.
Instead of competing with a typical, individual stroke-play format, the women's golf teams of Hope College and Calvin University played against each other in a partner stroke-play format with Ryder Cup features.
The unique, first-time event was the brainchild of Hope head coach Greg Stafford, who offered the new format as an alternative after a few other colleges withdrew from the previously designated stroke-play event.
"Unfortunately, we had a total of three schools drop out of a usual stroke-play match that we were hosting at Railside," said Stafford. "It was just some unforeseen circumstances that happened. That left just us and Calvin. So, I said to Jerry (Bergsma, Calvin coach), 'Let's try something new. We play a lot of stroke play against each other in the league (jamborees) as it is.'"
So, Stafford and Bergsma settled on a modified team format of sending three pairs of their players out to play against each other in this way: six holes of alternate shot, six holes of best ball, and six holes of scramble.
The result was an uncommonly good competitive time. As well as a two-stroke Hope win, 234-236.
"But honestly, the win was secondary this time. Both teams just had a blast," said Stafford. "The women were excited to play something different. It was really a great, friendly match."
The Flying Dutch go back to league and stroke play on Tuesday, September 24 when they travel to Lenawee Country Club to compete in the second MIAA Jamboree hosted by Adrian College. Tee time is 1 p.m.