'Least worst' golf players take a swing in Yellowknife's Mediocre Golf tournament

This is the seventh tournament this summer for the Yellowknife chapter of the Mediocre Golf Association, where not-so-average players get a chance to have some fun and maybe even win a couple dollars.

7th tournament for players who know they aren't very good, but still want to play the sport

Flannagan is number three in the world for money won at mediocre golf tournaments. But of course, the pot is never that much. After six tournaments, Flannagan has won $4.73. (Alyssa Mosher/CBC)

Most of the players at this weekend's golf tournament in Yellowknife would consider themselves less-than-average — on a good day.

"Mediocre at best," laughed Chris Flannagan, who was dressed in tacky, neon clothes to go with the theme of the tournament, which is called "The Douche Bag Open."

Flannagan and at least 22 other golfers in Yellowknife are members of the Mediocre Golf Association (MGA), a club meant to acknowledge those players who might be a bit shy from going pro.

"Oh, I'm damn good," one golfer said with a laugh. "But the score doesn't represent the same."

This is the seventh tournament this summer for the Yellowknife chapter of the MGA, adding to several other events that take place every year since the inception of the Yellowknife Golf Club in the 1950s.

Rick Savard has lived in the city for 25 years and has always liked going out to the golf course — even if he's not quite the best.
The necklace around the neck of Rick Savard, right, displays his trophies from the last few mediocre golf tournaments in Yellowknife. Savard is literally the best of the worst: he's ranked number one in the world for money won, $5.91, at mediocre golf tournaments. Here he is with his wife, Mary-Ellen. (Alyssa Mosher/CBC)

On Sunday, he adorned a necklace with three small, silver trophies, recognizing his work as "the least worst" player in Yellowknife.

"It's just fun," Savard said. "No pressure because nobody is any good."

As of Sunday afternoon, Savard was the number-two ranked player for money won at MGA tournaments. His total? $5.91. His competition is Diego Esquibel in Albuquerque, N.M. who's won $6.44.

Here, Hughie Graham takes a look at his final shot at his first hole during Sunday's tournament. It took him eight shots to get the ball in the hole, when the par for the hole - or the expected shot number - is four. (Alyssa Mosher/CBC)
The pot at Sunday's tournament was $1.35, but players like Savard can't ogle too much at the case; if they get too good, they're penalized.

In the "mediocre" tournaments, if a player scores lower (which is better in golf) than 90, he or she has a certain amount of points added to their total score.

"It's a double-edged sword," said Flannagan, who's the number-three rank in the world. "When you're really good, next time they hammer you with some penalties.

"But I like it," he said.

'Mediocre' players on a mediocre course

Most of Yellowknife's golf course is covered in sand, which, of course, isn't typical.

Golfers are encouraged to use their 'mats', which are small, square cut-outs of turf, to avoid catching too much sand in their swing — or ripping up the grass the club has grown around most of the holes. 
Most of Yellowknife's golf course is covered in sand. Golfers are encouraged to use their 'mats' when putting, which are small, square cut-outs of turf. (Alyssa Mosher/CBC)

Hughie Graham and Shaun 'Moose' Morris are the founders of the Mediocre Golf Association's Yellowknife chapter. This is the group's first year.

"I'm never going to be a Matty Gray [Editor's note: Gray is the Yellowknife Golf Club's head pro], but I'm certainly going to be a Hughie Graham and play as best as I can and suck at it,' Graham said.

Hughie Graham, left, and Shaun 'Moose' Morris are the founders of the Mediocre Golf Association's Yellowknife chapter. (Alyssa Mosher/CBC)