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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Powerball: A New Era in Golf Betting

For years, my friend Jack Hession had been talking about how we needed to employ a "Powerball" during our death matches on the golf course. What exactly he meant by a Powerball was far from concrete, but the basic idea was that everyone in the match would get a Powerball that they could bring out at any time during the round and use it to their advantage. Of course, the Powerball would be yellow.
For a long golf weekend this January in Hilton Head, Jack brought a box of yellow Top-Flites with him. He was insistent that the Powerball Era begin in Hilton Head. We argued about how we should set up the rules during the nine hour drive, but we didn't come up with anything definitive until we had a thorough 60 minute discussion at Chez Marin in Hilton Head.
Here's what we decided. Each player gets one Powerball per round. He can pull it out at any time, as long as it's used when teeing off. You have to announce that you are going to use it and how you are going to use it. There are two ways to use the Powerball: 1) As a Mulligan Ball -- this is self-explanatory, or 2) As a Zero Ball -- this means you can step up to the tee, yellow ball in hand, and state to the rest of the group, "Zero Ball!" The Zero Ball is a pre-emptive strike at the other team because after you hit your shot, you lie zero.
The Zero Ball became the major weapon of the weekend, although plenty of Mulligan Balls were used. The Zero Ball is an incredibly strategic tool because it enables you to take further advantage of any strokes you might be getting in the match, and it can serve as a method for stepping on your opponents' necks when you're really beating them down. Most of the time, unless we were desperate for a spark, we would hold onto the Powerball until late in the round. If it was burning a hole in our pockets, at a critical juncture in the match the Zero Ball was usually pulled.
Sometimes the strategy didn't work out. As a matter of fact, most of the time we hit terrible shots with the Powerball. I guess it carries with it an extra bit of pressure. I used my Zero Ball at a very opportune moment late in our round at Heron Point on a par 5, but I proceeded to push-slice my drive into the other county. Zero Ball gone -- retee -- hitting two (instead of three). It was a pathetic display, but it made the round that much more fun.
We should figure out a way to trademark the Powerball, but I don't know how it's possible to make any money off of it. I would be satisfied if the game caught on and became an international phenomenon, which I think it could if enough people are exposed to it. We'll know it will have hit the big-time when we start reading reports from Top-Flite about skyrocketing sales of their yellow balls.


Anonymous Brian Iverson (Chandler, AZ) said...

I love it John. Going to try it out on my friends out here in AZ. With all of the tough desert courses in our neck of the woods, any way to inject some fun (and strategy) into the game should be welcome.

6:34 PM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

Good to see you're keeping up with the blog. I think you'll have fun with the Powerball. It can be especially diabolical when you need to press the bet. Best to the wife and kid...

9:15 AM  
Blogger Sugarmouth O'Riordan said...

Heya neighbor--Thanks for throttling back on the ads. Their name was Legion for they were many. ;)

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Hey John,

I dig the site. Sorry to leave this as a comment vs. an email. I couldn't find a quick way to contact you otherwise.

I wanted to let you know I linked your Powerball blog ( on our site and thought maybe you could check it out and possible add us to your blogroll.

I noticed you live close(ish, minus traffic). I'm in Germantown, MD.

Keep up the good work and shoot me an email if you'd like to talk more.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Any excuse to use a yellow ball is good enough for me...;)

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The powerball should catch on as long as the balls are supplied to the players and this should be introduced into the Pop-Pop.

11:15 AM  

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