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May. 20, 2022 | Friday
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Doria is #1 pick in NOTL men’s draft
Head pro Billy Simkin and men’s team captains conduct the NOTL Golf Club Men’s Night draft. (Kevin MacLean/Niagara Now)

Joe Doria, a talented low-handicapper who finished second in the NOTL Golf Club’s championship tournament last year, was the top pick in the first-ever draft conducted by the club’s Men’s Night competitive league last Thursday.

Roughly modelled on the popular fantasy sports pool draft format (without the fantasy component), the draft featured 11 team captains selecting players from among more than 120 men who signed up to compete in the weekly league.

Captain Ted Wiens, a NOTL Sports Wall of Famer, won the draw to choose first. After selecting Doria, he opted with his second pick to draft Harry Huizer, the eminent and affable statesman of the club, and a former club champion.

“Commissioner” Billy Simkin, the club’s pro, and assistant Ricky Watson managed to keep the room of rowdy hackers focused and entertained, wrapping up the whole draft in barely one hour.

The Men’s Night league, which hits the links this Thursday for the first time this season, uses a handicapped Stableford scoring format under which participants play nine holes each week and accrue points for their team. 

So, a high-handicap player who has an exceptional game one week could be an invaluable asset as he would tally far more points than a low-handicapper who has just an average outing.

To keep things interesting for the gents, gross and net skins games and 50/50 draws are included each week, with hundreds of dollars at stake on some occasions. 

As well, sources say, some teams also compete among themselves for loonies, toonies and more. However, like many gamblers, none of them would admit to doing worse than “breaking even.’’

No signing bonuses were reported, but matching, colourful plastic beer cups were distributed to members of each team. Many of them promptly forgot them when they headed home after the draft.

The Men’s Night league will culminate in a finale banquet in October, with high-stakes closest to the pin shootouts on the first fairway, a delicious meal and literally thousands of dollars worth of prizes up for grabs. And, apparently, some beer is consumed. And some golf is played.

* Full disclosure: The author is a member of the NOTL Golf Club and a participant in the weekly Men’s Night festivities.