Overview & Orientation
Welcome, and thanks for your interest in our wonderful event.
Visitors to this area who are encouraged to read all of the information below, whether you are a member of an Interested Family, New Family or Returning Family.
The aim is to provide information on what to expect before, during and after the event – from logistics to traditions to dress codes.
Registered Families can expect to receive a formal Information Package well in advance of the event. Whenever appropriate and possible, information in the package will also be hosted on the Father and Three Sons website.
The package will contain finalized agendas, timings, accommodation recommendations and arrangements and specifics for any planned social events.
The Father and Three Sons Golf Classic is held annually on the last or second last Friday of August.
At the conclusion of the event each year, the Host Family officially introduces the Host Family for the following year, who announces what course will be played. The Host Family (or co-host families) then work throughout the year to plan and organize an event that will continue the tradition and spirit of this storied tournament.
While the Host Family has a significant amount of leeway on the specifics of the event, allowing them to put their own “stamp” in the history books, there are certain guidelines and traditions that are generally adhered to.
“Rules” of Play
The only firm rule is to respect the course you’re playing and adhere to the Marshall’s requests. Beyond that, the Host Family and host Club Professional will determine specific local rules, which may included discretionary rules or guidelines depending on the conditions of the course and expected pace of play. Past examples include “winter rules” in effect, drop zones for lost balls on forced-carry holes, and playing all hazards as “lateral”.
While not mandated by the Constitution, several formats have been widely adopted as the norm:
Something that has become the norm, though not at all mandatory, is for families to wear matching shirts (or more). This adds to the fun of the day and helps to identify members of the same family, especially out on the course. In past years many families have had a lot of fun with this, with some even designing custom shirts specifically for the event. Bear in mind that any shirt or outfit should comply with the local course dress policies (i.e. no jeans, tank tops, etc.).
Shotgun has become the standard for the tournament and depending on the number of families (usually between 30 and 36), most holes have two groups teeing off in A and B foursomes. Rounds are typically played in 5 to 5 1/2 hours, so a mid-morning start has become the norm. From time to time a “backup” will occur at a given hole, which is usually seen by all as a chance to get to meet others in the tournament.
The Host Family determines the pairings. Despite the strong family nature of the tournament, family members usually do not play together, although exceptions can be made for New Families and other special circumstances. Generally, fathers are paired with fathers; sons with sons. to promote comradery and relationship building, with the players’ handicaps (stated/estimated on the Registration Form) used to match similarly skilled golfers into foursomes.
Individual scorecards are tallied and family members scores are combined to determine eligibility for the various awards and trophies presented at the Dinner & Awards Banquet. The Host Family and host Club Professional work together to determine the scoring system that will be used to determine each family’s Net Score (usually the Calloway, or a modified Calloway, system).
Although the “Low Gross” Family is considered the official tournament “winner”, an equally celebrated award is the “Closest to the Lauers”, given in good spirit to the family with the worst aggregate score.
At the discretion of the Host Family and host course, there have also historically been competitions for Longest Drive (separate for fathers and sons) and Closest to the Pin. Quite often there are random draw prizes as well.
Throughout the day, you will have several opportunities to be together as a family. However, it is not mandatory that any portion of the day, with the exception of the Family Photo, be spent with all (or any) of your family members. Feel free to move throughout the events as you are comfortable and use any chance to mingle and begin new friendships.
As you make introductions, be sure to let others know it is your first year – you’ll receive a warm welcome from everyone you meet. Past families have been in the event as long as long as 35 years consecutively but everyone remembers the excitement of their first year. You can expect many offers of help in navigating any part of the day’s events.
RegistrationThe day begins at the registration table where everyone checks in, either as a family or individually. Members of the Host Family are at the registration table to officially welcome you to the Father and Three Sons Golf Classic. Generally, you will be presented with a scorecard and reconfirm your pairings, cart partner and starting hole. You will also be reminded of the agenda for the day, and be informed what facilities are available (i.e. Pro Shop) and where the Family Photos will be taken. Depending on arrangements made by the Host Family and course, you may also be provided with additional items such as meal/drink tickets, information brochures and/or a small keepsake from the tournament (i.e. pen, mugs, golf towel, etc.).
An official meeting of all the Fathers (including new family Fathers) is held at some time in the day, with the norm being in the morning before the round. The time will be listed in the official Agenda.
The meeting is chaired by the Host Father, and while the meeting is a formality within the constitution, the structure of the meeting is more of a round table discussion and usually lasts about 30 minutes.
Topics of discussion include proposals from families to host future events, possible amendments to the Constitution, and any other items or concerns anyone would like to raise regarding the Father and Three Sons Golf Classic.
A photographer will be on hand to take an official picture of each family prior to the start of the round. Many families choose to pose with a driver/club, so you may want to bring one to the It is recommended that you have your photo taken immediately following Registration, since there tends to be a rush as the tee time approaches. Usually, pictures are processed and made available to each family member following the round (at supper), though there tends to be a move in recent years to providing digital copies instead.
Quite often, unlimited and complimentary use of the driving range has been negotiated by the Host Family. In this case, at any point before the Ceremonial Tee Off, golfers can bring their clubs to the range and get limbered up for the day.
Ceremonial Tee Off & Group Photo
Nearing the tournament tee time, golfers will be asked to convene and form a gallery, at which time the Oldest Father and the Youngest son in the tournament are introduced. They then officially start the tournament by each hitting an opening shot. Traditionally this has been a tee shot on Hole 1 or Hole 10 but past variations, such as a chip-shot onto the 9th or 18th green, have taken place to avoid a forced carry or blind tee shot.
While everyone is assembled, the photographer will take a commemorative Group Photo, after which golfers are instructed to head to their carts.
Carts & Send-Off
Though not mandatory, the widely adopted format of play is a Shotgun start, which usually means that carts are arranged in rows to be led onto the course by a marshal. Before heading out, it is customary for the Club Professional to briefly welcome the golfers and review any local or tournament rules in effect. On his/her signal, the carts will head out onto the course for what is sure to be a great day of golf!
While more and more courses are providing GPS and electronic scorekeeping, it is still expected that you will record your score on the scorecard provided in the cart, so that they can be handed in at the completion of the round. Be sure to hand in your scorecard to the Club Pro immediately following your round! It is important that this be done as soon as possible, since awards for Low Gross, Low Net and Closest to the Lauers must be determined before the Banquet begins.
End of Round
After completing the round, it is recommended that you immediately head back to the club house so that you can unwind and get ready for the Banquet. Most golfers drive directly to their cars to drop off clubs and then return the cart and hand in their scorecards.
While bar and/or patio facilities are usually available, a “tailgate” atmosphere in the parking lot is not uncommon, as families reconvene and share stories of the day, compare scores and introduce one another to new friends.
It is standard for the course to make washroom and shower facilities available to the golfers, but these can get very busy as the Banquet time approaches, so you should judge your socializing time accordingly. There will be plenty of time for further visiting and conversation during the Banquet.
Dinner & Awards Banquet
The Dress Code for the Dinner & Awards Banquet is smart casual, long pants and dress shirt. Although shower/change facilities are often available at the host course, a tradition of “tailgating” has developed over the years, with many people just changing at their cars.
here is no formal seating arrangement, although a table is usually reserved by the podium for the Host Family. There is usually an hour or so between the end of the round and when golfers are called to their tables. As dinner nears, people often stake out a table they would like to sit at, which may be with family members, members of your foursome or other friends you have made through the day.
The Host Family works with the facility (usually the host course) to determine the menu and style of dinner (i.e. buffet or table service). The Host Family usually appoints an emcee for the Banquet, who informs all diners of the timing and coordination of events and works through the evening to address the formalities.
At some point during the meal, the emcee will call upon a member of the family to line up at the podium and introduce their family in turn. While there is no time limit, keepings things to 30-60 seconds is generally appreciated. A brief introduction is all that is required, and it is appropriate to indicate each family member by name (and location) and mention how many years your family has participated in the event. New Families receive the loudest applause!
What family member is responsible for introductions (i.e. Oldest Son or Middle Son) is announced during the Father’s meeting at the start of the day, so you’ll have plenty of time to think of what you’d like to say. The order of responsibility is generally rotated each year through each of the four family members.
It’s possible that a family member has to leave before the Banquet (or introductions), which is not a problem at all. Usually, another family member performs the duty in their absence.
Throughout the evening, as determined by the Host Family, awards and random draw prizes (if available) will be announced. There are traditional awards, such as Low Gross, Low Net, Closest to the Lauers and Closest to the Coyles. Additionally, there may be other awards depending on the tournament format for such things as Longest Drive, Closest to the Pin, etc.
As awards are announced, the winning family (or individual) makes their way to the front to be presented their trophy or prize, at which time a picture is usually taken as well.
The Banquet traditionally wraps up with a formal thank you from the Host Family and recognition of the host course and staff. The formal conclusion is the Host Family turning over the podium to the next year’s Host Family, who announce their course and extend the invitation for all present families to return.
Family Scramble (Optional)
Increasingly, families are choosing to play the host course together with their family the day before the event. Beyond spending time together, this gives them an opportunity to experience the golf course, which is usually new to most families.
Early in the 2000’s, a Host Family took it upon themselves to negotiate a discounted rate for the Thursday round, a helpful gesture that has continued. Families are individually responsible for paying for the round (cost is not included in the formal Golf Classic registration fees) and in some cases reserve tee times. Specifics will be communicated in the Information Package sent to all registered families.
In 2005, there was such a strong turnout that the idea was floated to the attending families of having a Scramble format, with bragging rights on the line. The result was a slightly more competitive feel to the round, something that most of the participants highly enjoyed. The Family Scramble format has been in place each year since, with a Trophy being donated in 2006 to be presented during the Friday Banquet. The turnout of the Family Scramble was so substantial in 2008 (20 of 32 teams played the Thursday round), that a Shotgun start was implemented for the round.
It is important to note that participation in the Scramble, even if electing to play on Thursday, is in no way mandatory. Many families still use the round simply as a chance to play with family members they may not have seen much throughout the year. As an example of fun traditions that develop, some families with more than three sons, such as the Nash Family (with 6 boys), use the Thursday round as a “playoff” to determine which three sons will formally participate on Friday.
Other Useful Information
Above all else, the focus of the Father and Three Sons Golf Classic is on fun and friendship. To that end, there are quite often social opportunities built into the official agenda. While attendance at these events is entirely optional, they represent a great chance to forge new friendships and experience the spirit of the event that has kept so many families returning year after year.
Over the past several years, a Thursday evening/night social event has been put on. Past variations have been a reserved room at a local pub/restaurant, a host suite at the recommended hotel, and extended bar/patio hours at the golf club following the Thursday round.
Thursday evening social events are available to anyone involved in the tournament. Many families unable to get away during the day for a Thursday round still attend the Thursday evening social, using it as a chance to catch up with old friends and poll the day’s golfers on how the course is playing.
Families are responsible for booking and paying for their own accommodation (if required). When possible, the host family will arrange for a standard rate (and block rooms up to a certain date) at a local hotel or resort, available to families staying Thursday and/or Friday night. Accommodations details will be communicated in the Information Package.
While there has been limited sponsorship in recent years, the event is generally unassuming and non-commercialized. It has become customary for the Host Family to request that any family able to do so provide items for the “prize table”. It is not mandatory to do so.
If you are in a position to furnish prizes, it is requested that they be golf-related (i.e. balls, umbrellas, totes, bag towels, etc.) Depending on the quantity of donations, the Host Family then determines the format for allotting the prizes (such as random draw).
The event is entirely non-profit, with any surplus proceeds being passed to the next year’s Host Family to cover unexpected costs. In the past, when the surplus allowed, Host Families have donated portions to a charity of their choice (i.e. Ronald MacDonald House, Big Brothers, and disease research).