by Jane McGriff
Over the weekend of September 18 & 19 the long-anticipated Atlanta/Birmingham Challenge was played on the RTJ Grand National, Lake Course, in Opelika. A fun rivalry for over twenty years, the Challenge is a 2-day match play tournament involving four golf formats: scramble, alternate shot, best ball and singles. Just as in the Solheim and Ryder Cups – each team consists of 12 players.
The team hosting the event alternates each year and this year was Birmingham’s turn. Following our practice rounds on Friday, we had our usual meet & greet with the Atlanta team. As always, it was great to see our old friends and meet the “rookies.” Rules were discussed and a bit of good-natured trash talk could be overheard!
Even more than tournament jitters, everyone’s main concern was the weather. The forecast was for rain, rain, and more rain… and rain it did – but mainly at night and in the early mornings. The good news was that we were able to play each day -- the bad news was that it was Cart Path Only and very muddy and wet. Moving your ball out of “standing water” was a constant activity!
For the most part, this year, the Birmingham team had lower handicaps than the Atlanta team - which meant that we had the pleasure of giving them LOTS of strokes. After Saturday’s round, Atlanta led by one point. However, on Sunday, Birmingham was able to turn the tables and won this year’s Challenge 16 to 14 – holding onto the trophy for another year!
Despite the sloshy weather, it was a great tournament and a good time was had by all!
Postscript: If you are interested in playing in this event – Qualifier rounds will be held in late Spring or early Summer 2022.