In the article ‘High Societies’ (June 25, 2021) I referred to the ‘Creek Hack’ golf society that I am part of and have enjoyed immensely for a number of years.
Originally known as the Creek Hash House Harriers, or CH3, this was in fact a spin off from a running club founded in Asia (actual location unknown) and according to our Creek Hack Chairman, Ian Olwagen, “it was initially intended for drinkers with a running problem or runners with a drinking problem.”
Ian Olwagen, Chairman — The Creek Hack Golf Society
The Creek Hack is attached to the beautiful nine-hole Jebel Ali Golf Club at JA Hotels & Resorts and was set up by British golfer Clarence Benbi around 20 years ago. Back then it was a men-only affair and thankfully times have changed. A number of talented lady golfers are now Creek Hack players, in fact my wife has the honour of being the society’s first lady member. All matches are played over 18 holes on the last Friday of each month, with various prizes awarded for that day’s event. The overall winner on the day will experience a pyrrhic victory however, as their handicap will be cut accordingly.
Under the meticulous management of Creek Hack member Mark Littlechild, a rolling monthly competition known as ‘The Eclectic’ is a popular feature and also poses some interesting questions.
‘The Eclectic’ is quite simple in theory (Mark would challenge that statement when his weekend is consumed with entering scoring data for the 54 players currently involved in this year’s event). Essentially each player has a rolling monthly scorecard based on their Stableford points score, but only calculated on three-quarters of their Creek Hack handicap. This theoretically gives lower handicap players a better chance to compete for the annual Eclectic prize (JA Hotels & Resorts provide a personally embroidered golf bag to the winner).
So, January’s score is what it is. On completion of your February round, the holes on which you improved are added and replace the previous month’s entry. As the month’s pass, your points total improves (hopefully) and the league table takes shape, with all players able to see their 18 holes progress and which holes to target each month to add to their points. As if golf isn’t hard enough, this can inflict unnecessary pressure as you stand on a tee box knowing that you haven’t made par, birdie or eagle on that hole for six months already and this is a good chance for more points to replace the quadruple bogey (and no points) you had in January.
So what questions does the Eclectic format pose?
For one, this reveals how good a golfer you could be if you could just put it all together on the same day. Let us assume that after 12 attempts you have made par on each hole on the course. Maybe you even birdied every hole by December. For a scratch handicap player, this would see you at -18 for your round and with 54 points (you’re going to need an eagle or two for the four-pointer hole!). That is probably still not good enough to win the Creek Hack Eclectic this year.
Is the Eclectic good for your game? In my experience, only if you don’t burden yourself before you play with knowing which holes you need to improve on. It is a great addition to the Creek Hack society and certainly holds all members’ interest for 12 months.