The MGA was founded in 2006 and now has more than 70 chapters throughout the country that host tournaments at local clubs and courses, scored through a “reverse handicap” system with penalties, for both the current competition and future ones, for those who play too well. Tournaments are often given irreverent names like “The Rebel Beach Am-Am” and “The Bratash Open.”
The Mediocre Golf Association (MGA, https://www.mgatour.com) has more than 70 chapters, including seven in Ohio, now including the newest one opened for the Cleveland area, reported Cleveland.com. The MGA was co-founded in 2006 by Jon Morley, who was raised near Cincinnati, and Willie Dills.
Jared Youtzy, a 32-year-old who works for Rosenberg Advertising, is the head of the newly formed Cleveland chapter, which will begin tournament play in March, Cleveland.com reported. Youtzy started playing about three years ago and moved back to Cleveland from Toledo and hit the links with buddies who played occasionally.
“We’re pretty equally terrible,” he said. “Eventually started getting a little better. It became more fun.”
He spotted a newspaper story and didn’t realize the MGA was a national group, Cleveland.com reported. He found a chapter in Toledo and checked it out, hesitantly.
“I had a blast,” he said. “I was really nervous about going because I was never in a golf competition before. But once I went there I realized everybody was in the same boat, which is really the appeal about the league.”
Youtzy reached out to league officials in October, saying he wanted to start a chapter in Cleveland, Cleveland.com reported. In January he set up a Facebook page. Sixteen men attended an initial get-together last fall at Sleepy Hollow Golf Course in Brecksville, Ohio with ages ranging from their early 20s to 50 to 60. Women are welcome, too, Youtzy said, and now, just more than a month before the group’s first tournament, he has 43 registered members.
The basic association fee is $40, Cleveland.com reported, and Youtzy’s responsibilities involve contacting clubs and courses to schedule tournaments about once a month. He negotiates greens and carts fees with the different properties and maybe gets a bucket of range balls thrown in. The courses that are selected are usually within 45 minutes of downtown Cleveland.
The concept is based on the simple tenet that for most people who enjoy the sport, shooting par golf is next to impossible, Youtzy told Cleveland.com. But that begs the real question: Just how good – er, bad – do you have to be to play?
“Bogey or worse,” Youtzy said.
Here’s how it works, Cleveland.com reported.: A “reverse handicap” is used. “They’ll take the five last golf scores and create a handicap in the system,” Youtzy said. “So if you’re a better golfer than others, you’re going to get penalty strokes added to your game. So if you finish the round and you shoot a 95, you might get 10 strokes added to that if you’re a really good golfer.
“That kind of keeps everyone on a level playing field,” he added. “It kind of keeps people less intimidated who are shooting [in the] 110, 120 range by putting everyone on a more even keel with the handicapping.”
Come in last, and you get the red key, Cleveland.com reported, and with that comes the “distinction of teeing off from the seniors-tournament starting-tee position. And if you win the last tournament, you’re playing from “PGA tee land” the next time out.
Already, some of the registered folks have been reaching out to Youtzy and are excited to play. “You can tell the club feels like a little community, and we haven’t been out for our first tournament,” he told Cleveland.com.
To drum up interest and to encourage people to register and pay, Youtzy will hold a drawing for a keg of beer. And each tournament has an offbeat funny trophy. Win “The Bastards” —a riff on the Masters—and earn “a corny trucker hat,” The “Cleveland Rebel Beach Am-Am” and the “Bratash Open” are other tournaments.
Most of the tournaments are on Saturdays, and Youtzy tries to avoid Ohio State football home-game dates. The 10-tournament slate runs to early October.
“It’s kind of fun,” he said. “It does get competitive, naturally, being a sport. But it’s a really fun type of competition. No one is taking it too seriously; you can have a bad day and have a lot of fun with people.”
The Cleveland.com report also included a link to the amusing video produced by the MGA to explain the organization’s “guiding principles”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=nZqEb84Rw1s&feature=emb_logo