Behind The Scenes

ESPN Golf: Gray skies, green day

A day with constant rain is one usually reserved for staying inside and lounging on the couch.

When more than 300 ESPN employees have an annual golf tournament scheduled, even heavy-at-times rain won’t keep them away.

In fact, despite the awful weather, the 2011 ESPN Employee Golf Tournament went on as planned and everyone finished their round.

It was the 30th annual event, so there were some new elements added to spice things up.

Employees participated in the Par 3 Challenge to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

To be eligible for raffle prizes, you needed to land your tee shot on the green.

That contest was in addition to the existing V Foundation general raffle, plus longest drive and closest to the pin contests.

One golfer landed a shot within three feet of a closest to the pin hole to win a gift certificate to the pro shop.

Then there’s the wildcard — the yellow ball competition.

Each foursome got a yellow ball with its team number written on it at the start of the round.

The simple objective: Don’t lose the yellow ball!

Teams had to rotate which golfer would play with the yellow ball each hole.

The water and woods of Tunxis Plantation Golf Course in Farmington, Conn.  is now home to 200 numbered yellow balls.

Only about 33 percent of them were returned at the end of play, leading to well-deserved prizes for the survivors team owners.

While the event is much more about socializing with colleagues than serious golf, team scores are kept.

This year’s winner of the scramble-format tournament included members of ESPN’s facilities and security departments.

Planning already has begun for next year’s event.

And while the rain jackets given to all players this year turned out to be a much needed accessory, perhaps they were also a forecast of things to come when they were ordered weeks ago.

So the committee is already discussing how it’s never too early to order the ESPN sunglasses for next year’s gift.

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