Golf Outing

The ABCs of Golf Etiquette and Play

By: Dan Merfeld So you've decided to take the plunge. Curiosity finally got the better of you and you're trying out the great game known as golf. Congratulations and welcome.

If you're concerned about not knowing the rules, proper etiquette, or what to wear on the golf course, please read on. We've got you covered.

Gameplay First, you should know, we'll be playing a particular style of tournament golf called a "scramble" - which is typically played for such outings as ours. The rules are designed to make gameplay fun and enjoyable for players of all skill levels - especially beginners - so you've chosen the right place to start! Here's how we play this particular style of golf.

You'll be playing on a team of four golfers. At each hole every player in your team takes a turn at teeing off. After everyone in your team has had a turn, the team collectively decides which ball has the best position and all the other players pick up their ball and play their second shots from that spot. That counts as one stroke for the team. This process repeats itself until the ball is holed (or as Happy Gilmore might say "finds its home,") a player dies, or someone gets frustrated and throws their club (bad form - never throw your club.) At that time, the total number of strokes taken counts as your score for the hole. The lower the score, the better.

Each hole is rated with a number based on its overall difficulty to play. That rating represents the "average" number of strokes to get the ball in the hole and is referred to as "par." As you score your team will either be "under" - which means you're doing really well and have a negative score - congratulations, you must be a pro; "even" - which means you're exactly average - congratulations are still very much in order, or "over" - which means you're playing at a level most golfers (even experienced ones) play at. How much you're over par is really the question you'll be asking yourself, so don’t be discouraged if your score doesn’t land in one of the other two categories.

Dress Code You might be wondering what to wear. The golf course we will be playing at does not have an official dress code (some do) - it's recommended that you wear a shirt with a collar, and pants (not jeans,) shorts (not jean shorts), or a skirt (not a jean skirt.) For that matter, leave out jean jackets, and, well, anything made of jeans. You're going to see a lot of Khaki and plaid out there, I suggest you just roll with it.

For footwear, avoid open-toed shoes, sandals, or bear feet (for your own safety.) If you have a pair of tennis or soccer shoes they will work just fine. If you're thinking of using grandpa's golf shoes, be sure to check with someone at the course to see if the shoe spike type is allowed (some older golf shoes have metal spikes that can hurt the greens and are not allowed to wear.) All modern golf shoes (the ones with plastic spikes) should be okay to wear.

One final point about dress, remember you're going to be out in the direct sun, bring sunglasses and sunscreen.

Three Tips To Hit The Ball Like a Pro  Well, you've made it this far. You're dressed, at the golf course and ready to play. But how exactly does one go about hitting a golf ball you may ask?

First, let's get your head straight. Keep in mind that some people spend a lifetime perfecting this game and only scratch the surface of what could be their true possible potential. It's important to make sure your expectations are inline with reality. If you're a new golfer, you should expect to hit the ball in the general direction of your target and not much else. That's okay, remember, your team can always use one of the other player's shot if you don't do well. If you play other sports, particularly baseball or softball - you might find it shocking how different the swing is and how that might actually add to the challenge of hitting a golf ball. Be patient with yourself as you work out the differences.

1. Go for accuracy - not distance. Everyone wants to hit the ball far, and while that does give you a competitive advantage on the tees and on the longer holes, it can be disastrous for new golfers to attempt to go for distance. Instead, focus on hitting the ball well, and in the general direction of your target.

2. Don't swing your club too hard. Again with the distance. Hitting the ball far means swinging the club hard and fast - or so it would seem. When you're swinging the club, let the club head do the work. The less you try to force it, the more accuracy you'll get out of your shot.

You'll know you're forcing it if, when you swing, you completely miss the ball. When that happens it's a sure sign you're trying to swing way too hard. Take it down a notch or two and try to make it more of a natural and even swing then a blast of power. You'll give up some distance, but you'll enjoy the game much more if you're not always fishing your ball out of the woods or a hazard.

Club Selection Another aspect of golf that can be confusing to the outsider is which club to use. It's really quite simple though, if you keep the following in mind.

Golf clubs are broken into four main categories: Woods, Irons Wedges and Putters. The Woods and Irons have numbers on them. An easy way to remember what the numbers mean is to keep in mind that the lower the number, the farther the ball will travel and the higher the number the higher the ball will fly through the sky (referred to as 'loft.')

Let's talk about the main kinds of clubs.

Woods Woods are not actually made of wood any more, but that's how they originally got their name. They propel the ball the farthest (from 200-250 yards when in the hands of an experienced golfer.) They are only really used once, at the beginning of the hole. They work best when the ball is teed up and they have two defining characteristics - they are the longest of the clubs and they have a larger area to strike the ball on the club head. This is good and bad. You can get into a lot of trouble with your woods, so be careful.

Another thing worth noting, the 1 wood is the only one referred as the "Driver." It's the club that should, when hit properly, go the farthest and have the least amount of loft.

A standard golf club set might have a 1, 3 and 5 wood. Being new to golf, it's recommended you pick one of the woods (doesn't matter which one) and stick with it for your first rounds. You're not going to notice much of a difference between the clubs until you mature your swing a bit more with practice.

Irons Irons, like their woods counterparts, are no longer made from their namesake metal, iron. They are made of a metal mix. They're meant to be somewhat heavy to help strike the ball better. The club head is angled, and they will have much more loft than the woods.

Irons are numbered 1-9 - but it's likely you won't have all of them in a standard golf club set, so don't worry if you're missing a few. The "long irons"; irons 1,2, and 3 will get you the distance, while the short irons; 7,8, and 9 will get the ball up higher in the air and more quickly. What about 4,5, and 6 you say? Well, you guessed it, they're called the "middle irons" and they're for the in-between moments.

You should make friends with your irons before you make friends with any other club type - after all you'll be using them the most. It's recommended to pick one long-iron, one middle-iron and one short-iron and play exclusively with those clubs.

Wedges Wedges comes in all shapes and sizes too, and they don’t have numbers, they typically have letters (I know it’s like they’re trying to confuse us right?) There are really only two that you need concern yourself with - the Pitching Wedge (PW) is the highest lofted club of the bunch and the Sand Wedge (SW) which - you guessed it - comes in handy if you happen to be caught in the sand.

Putters If you’ve ever been mini-golfing, you’re probably already familiar with what a putter is, what it can do and how to use it. There is some discussion about how close to the hole you need to be before using a putter, but if you’re new to golf, it’s probably a bit unnecessary for us to get into such level of detail. Suffocate to say, if it looks like the putter might be a good club for the job, do it.

Etiquette rules to know Much has been written about the etiquette of golf and in some ways can be quite intimidating for new golfers. Here's a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Don't be loud - golf requires concentration and, at times, it can be frustrating to other golfers if they hear a lot of noise. It's considered particularly bad form to speak or make noise while a golfer is about to hit the ball. You might hear the warning "don't talk in my backswing!" which is golfer code for "please be quite while I'm attempting to hit the ball."

2. Position yourself - another consideration is where you stand while someone else is playing. It makes golfers nervous to see people standing in their field of vision or near them when they're about to hit the ball. Try to stand behind or off to the side of a golfer when it's their turn, and with quite a bit of distance between you and them. Avoid moving and remain quite, as not to distract them when they attempt to hit the ball.

3. Never Walk the Line - when putting it's generally considered bad practice to walk in-between the ball of a player and the hole, referred to as the "line." Why? Well, by walking in this area you may unknowingly affect the way the ball would travel over the grass on its way to the hole. Sometimes this is unavoidable, and if you have to walk over another player's line, try to minimize your disruption of the green you might create with your steps.

Well that’s it in a nutshell, you should be fully prepared to go forth and take on the sport of golf.

And last, have fun and enjoy!

Calling all Golfers and Non-Golfers: Meet us at the 19th Hole

Join us for the 19th Hole Social event on Friday, June 19th.

By: Jill Shiroma

Golfing or not, please join us for the 19th Hole Social after the Magnet golf outing at the Pleasant View Club House. What better way to kick off your weekend than with fellow Magnet members and guests at the top of the hill at Pleasant View overlooking Madison?

Maybe golf didn’t go your way? Challenge your friends to a game of bags on the lawn outside. Midwest Tailgate is providing cornhole sets for the evening.

There will be tons of chances to win, with raffle prizes and other games. For golfers, we will be announcing outing winners, as well as course contest and secret hole winners. Food will be provided, along with cash bar. The 19th Hole is free to golfers and $10 for those that did not participate in the golf outing.

Check out more of the event details here.

And be sure to sign up for the event on June 19th.

Be "On Par" With Your Golf Course Attire


By: Taylor Kohlmann With our annual golf outing quickly approaching, we thought it would be a good time to share some tips on how to dress your best for the golf course. So whether you’re a frequent golfer or a golfing newbie, check out these rules on appropriate apparel. And be sure to sign up for #MagnetsDayOff at Pleasant View Golf Course on Friday, June 19th.

For men, appropriate attire typically means a pullover shirt with a collar, polo shirt, sweater, windbreaker, fleece, or vest. Avoid tank tops, t-shirts, or shirts with inappropriate words or images. Pants or shorts made of linen, khaki or cotton are appropriate. Be sure to tuck in your shirt, and maybe even polish off the look with a belt. In most cases, jeans and athletic shorts are not acceptable on the course. In terms of footwear, if you don’t have golf shoes, most places prefer you wear soft spikes or a good pair of tennis shoes.

For women golfers, try out a polo (tank or tee) with a skirt, skort, Bermuda shorts, or pants. Make sure your skirt, skort, or shorts are an appropriate length; typically that means near your fingertips. Avoid gym shorts, short shorts, or cutoffs. If it’s a chilly day, grab a sweater, pullover, or windbreaker to stay warm. Footwear can be a golf shoe, soft spike or good pair of sneakers. Stay away from street shoes with a heel because the heel could make an impression in the green.

Check out these looks for some inspiration:

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9 Reasons to Sign Up for This Year's Golf Outing


May 14, 2015

By: Corinn Ploessl and Barret Van Sicklen

Magnet's 9th Annual Golf Outing for Madison Area young professionals will be held Friday, June 19th at Pleasant View Golf Course in Middleton. As a reminder, tomorrow (5/15) is the last day to save $20 with the Early Bird Discount!

Without further ado, here are 9 reasons we think you'll want to sign up for this year's outing:

10351961_10152499029832485_7644726788195188000_n1. The Goal -- Have Fun!

We call this outing “Magnet’s Day Off” because it really is just that. It’s an opportunity for young professionals to take the afternoon off and enjoy spending time with friends, both old and new! More than anything, it's about having fun!

2. Experienced & Novice Golfers Welcome

Our outing is catered to golfers of all levels. Whether you golf in a league or golf once a year (like say for example, our Board President,) you’ll love our scramble-style outing where there will be more to do than swinging your clubs. 

 3. Awards

While this isn’t a highly-competitive outing, we do give out awards to our winning foursome! In addition, we’ll be hosting course contests including: longest drive, longest put, and closest to the pin.  We want to reward those who golf well, but there are still plenty of ways to win prizes on June 19… keep reading!

4. Hungry? Why wait…

10012609_10152499021782485_1667724917959702868_nIn addition to grabbing your box lunch prior to the shotgun start, you’ll have the opportunity to sample fare at a few "food holes." The Harmony Bar, Bubbles’ Doubles, and potentially others will have food sprinkled throughout the course for your sampling. You definitely won't go hungry!  

5. Beer!

Did that headline get your attention? Wisconsin Brewing Company will be there to quench your thirst with some samples of its tasty brews. In the words of Homer Simpson, "mmmmmmm beer."

6. Holes with a Twist

Clubs needing a rest and/or looking to spice up the game? Then you’ll really enjoy the activity holes we've added throughout the course. Think hockey sticks for putters and voting off your weakest player during 'Survivor'!

 7. Secret Holes

New this year! There will be two secret holes on the course. You won’t know when you're playing them, but they may end up being your favorite part of #MagnetsDayOff. Doing well on a secret hole could mean everyone on the foursome gets a prize or maybe the score on that hole gets deducted!

10422042_10152499028992485_1537768398741901904_n8. Raffle

We have an awesome lineup of raffle items at this year’s outing.  To give you a little preview, we're sharing the following items:

  • Madison Mallards Duck Blind Package
  • $100 Gift Card to Flemings
  • Overnight Stay at the Hyatt Place Downtown
  • Karben4 Brewery Swag Package

9. The 19th Hole

After 18 holes, you won’t want to miss our 19th Hole party!  Enjoy appetizers and a cash bar while we announce the outing winners, secret holes and raffle prize winners!

With all this excitement going on, you know you want to golf on #MagnetsDayOff! Sign up today to receive the Early Bird Discount. We'll see you on the course!


Enhance Your Golf Outing Experience with Live Scoring System 'Little Green Pencil': Q&A with the Founders

This year, Madison Magnet's Golf Outing participants can enhance their golfing experience with Little Green Pencil, a live scoring, real-time texting system that displays golf scores on a live leaderboard online. We caught up with Will Robus and Steve Raming, Little Green Pencil founders and Madison Magnet Members, to ask our most pressing questions.

Madison Magnet: Where did you get the idea for Little Green Pencil?

Will: Little Green Pencil was actually born out of Madison Magnet.  I was sitting in a Magnet board meeting and the board was discussing that year's golf outing.  I thought to myself, "What can we add to this that will be cutting edge?  Something cool and exciting, worthy of Madison young professionals?"  Then, I had an idea. Live scoring.

I remembered the previous year's outing, where three groups were tied and happened to be next to each other.  After one team finished, they watched the team behind them finish. It ended up coming down to the third team's last shot that determined the winner, a shot that was witnessed by all three teams as well as some others. I wanted to bring that excitement to the entire event, so I came up with the concept of live scoring.  I knew enough about databases and programming that I was able to recruit a fellow Magnet member and a colleague of mine to put together a prototype, and Little Green Pencil was born.

Madison Magnet: How does Little Green Pencil work?

Will and Steve: It's extremely simple and fast. When a golfer checks in at the outing, they are given a registration code for their team. They text the code into the number for the event which signs them up to score.  Then one person from each four person team texts in the team's score after each hole.  The scores are posted to a LeaderBoard webpage, a link which each team is given via text.  Overall, registration takes about 30 seconds per person, and you can score the entire round in about 87 key strokes.

Madison Magnet: How will we use it during MAGNET’s golf outing?

Will and Steve: At the Magnet golf outing, Little Green Pencil will be used for live scoring during the event.  One of the features of the live leaderboard is a message feed.  Participants who are registered to score can post messages via SMS on their phones, and maybe talk a little smack to other groups.  It also displays Twitter messages that are tagged with the Magnet Golf Outing hashtag, #MagnetsDayOff. You can even post pictures via twitter, and they will instantly be displayed on the leaderboard page, my personal favorite feature. Check out the live leaderboard here.

Madison Magnet: Why SMS texting instead of an app?

Will and Steve: We get this question a lot.  Apps are all the rage, but texting offers several advantages:

  1. Almost everybody texts (ages 16 to 66+)
  2. Texting is very fast
  3. Texting is less taxing on your phone's battery.  We actually had a gentleman at an event last year that scored his round on a flip phone!

Madison Magnet: How can I learn more?

Will and Steve: Anyone can email us at, or go to our website  We'd love to hear from event planners or golf courses that are interested in offering our system to events hosted at their clubs. You can check out our very concise one minute video as well.

Madison Magnet: Most importantly, are you going to win this year's Golf Outing?

Will and Steve: 2014 was Little Green Pencil's "soft launch" year and we managed to do over a dozen events. The travesty of it was that we were so busy with the business, that we didn't find a lot of time to golf.  One of our goal's this year is to golf more, and so far we've played at least a couple rounds.  So we hope to be on our game and maybe squeeze out a top 3 finish this year (but probably not)!


Register today for Magnet's 8th Annual Golf Outing.


Whether you’re on a semi-professional golf league and you subscribe to Golf Digest, or you last held a golf club in high school gym class, there’s a spot for you at Magnet’s 8th Annual Golf Outing. As you prep your golf bag (or scramble to collect clubs from your golfer friend), we’ve got your top 5 need-to-know details to help you brush up on your golf politesse.

1. Golf Etiquette
According to “Arnie’s Rules” on Golf Digest (yes, that is a thing), golf etiquette is as simple as remembering to turn your cell phone off, and keeping your temper under control (we’re looking at you, Woody Austin). Leave the course as nice as you found it by fixing ball marks and replacing divots, and if you’d only like to remember one rule of thumb to save thinking space for golf strategy, remember to be courteous to staff and other golfers.


Dress Code
But what does one wear to a golf scramble? Bridge’s dress code is casual – Magnet encourages collared shirts and dress pants, or skirts/dresses for ladies. Check out for some golf style inspiration.

3. What’s a Four-Person Scramble?
In a four-person scramble, the four players on a team compete against one another. Each player hits from the tee box, after which the team members choose the best of the four shots for the next shot. All team members then play the second shot from that location, and again choose the best shot. Playing in a four-person scramble gives novice or occasional golfers an ability to contribute to a team’s success, and helps speed play. (See Arnie’s Rule #1.)

4. Golf terms
So you don’t know the difference between a bogey and a birdie? Fear not, we’ll get you started with the top five terms here. To learn more, or to giggle at some other funny golf vocabulary, check out PGA’s Golf Glossary.
• Par: The number of strokes recommended to take on a hole, either a three, four, or five.
• Birdie: A score of one under par on a hole.
• Bogey: A score of one over par on a hole.
• Ace: Hole in one!
• Divot: A piece of the ground removed when hitting the ball. Make sure you replace it! (See Arnie’s Rule #4.)

5. Not a pro? No problem.
Plenty of un-golf-like folks have tested the waters throughout golf history, like this guy and this guy. And hey, if they can do it, we’re totally confident you can too!

Be sure to register to join us on Friday, June 13 at Bridges Golf Course for Madison Magnet’s 8th Annual Golf Outing, or to RSVP for the after party under the tent at Bridges! We know Arnie would recommend it.

A Golf Newbie's Experience at the Magnet Golf Outing

Golf 1Let me set the stage: I do not golf. I run, and play tennis, and will play soccer when forced to, but I do not golf. So when a fellow Magnet member and friend asked me to join a golf foursome at last year’s Magnet golf outing, I politely declined. However, this friend is quite persistent and convinced me that it would be a great way to meet new people, learn some golf and get some sun on a Friday. So I signed up.

We arrived at Bridges Golf Course around 11:30 a.m., and it was a beautiful day. With coffee in hand, we registered and chatted with the gentleman from the Little Green Pencil who created a live scoring system via texting that we could use to track  the other foursomes.

With a shotgun start (which means that everyone starts on a different hole) we were off at 12:30 p.m. Thanks to my patient foursome, they were very forgiving with my driving (I’m just terrible) and they were impressed with my putting (I sank a 20-foot putt on the eighth hole!).

Golf 3At every other hole, we had a surprise waiting for us to sip and nosh on. Food Fight restaurants featured a drink and appetizer to refuel all of the golfers. We indulged in margaritas, Old Fashioneds, chips and salsa, and even apple pie at one hole. We talked work and even talked through some challenges we were experiencing, as well as best practices. Outside perspective is always helpful.

Not only did I get to know my foursome well, but I also met many new people as they caught up with us (I’m also a slow golfer) and afterward at the clubhouse and the Karben4 after party.

At the end of the day, my winter skin was sun kissed, my network expanded and my golf game…stayed terrible. But, if you’re looking for a judgment-free zone to try golf, meet new people and take a Friday off work, this is a great opportunity.

--Melissa Johnson

Golf 2

The Eighth Annual Magnet Golf Outing is Friday, June 13th. Members get special pricing (sign up to be a Magnet member here).  If you sign up before May 17th, you’ll also receive an early bird discount.

This year’s event is expected to sell out, so sign up today!

Register for the Eighth Annual Magnet Golf Outing