The green can seem pretty crowded in the spring, with disc golf and gennis being played simultaneously. Gennis, or golf with a tennis ball, “exploded in popularity about a year ago” on campus, said senior David Butler. For that reason, he and junior Steven Van Wyhe have organized a best-ball gennis tournament on Friday, May 6, with all proceeds going to the Bridge. The winning team will win “the coveted jacket.”
Senior Klarc Korver, an avid gennis player, said that he has “only good memories” of playing gennis on campus. Korver remembers people in his high school youth group playing gennis, but he didn’t start playing until he came to NW.
Korver and his friends play regularly, using a variety of planned and impromptu courses. The holes range from the soccer fields, to the door of a friend’s plex, to a random target on the green. He and his friends sometimes use the golf cart regularly driven by SGA president Justin Jansen for long courses. Korver laughed at a memorable swing in which he accidentally took a chunk out of the sidewalk and his club went flying, sailing over the top of a light post on the green.
Korver said that he plays the highway as a water hazard with penalty strokes. The same rule applies for hitting anything you shouldn’t—like cars or people. When asked about the rules of gennis, Butler said they are the same as golf, and reminds players to replace your divot and watch out for pedestrians.
Butler recalls his most memorable hole of gennis as “hitting out of the lake on the spot of the late Heemstra Hall in the early spring, barefoot with the mud seeping through my toes.” He jokingly refers to gennis as “poor man’s golf” because all you need is a golf club and a tennis ball.
The 18-hole course for the tournament is a par 78 and will take participants all across campus. Up to 18 four-person teams will compete in the tournament, and 11 teams had already registered when I spoke to Butler on Tuesday. The tournament is best-ball, which means all four players will hit, and the team will play from the best of the four balls.
Butler said that it was Van Wyhe’s idea to use the tournament as a fundraiser for the Bridge. They are well on their way to their goal of $350, having already collected over $100 with many participants and sponsors having yet to pay.
The tournament has a $3 entrance fee per player. Holes can be sponsored for a fee of $5. The names of the sponsors will be listed on the marker for each hole. Current sponsors include President Christy, the missions department and a variety of other departments on campus.
The tournament starts at 4 p.m. on May 6. Entrants will be accepted until the starting time or until they reach the maximum number of teams.
Butler hopes that this tournament will become a tradition here at Northwestern.