Explaining the Member-Guest Tournament in Golf

What is a member-guest tournament in golf? It is a golf tournament in which a member — of a private golf club, of a golf organization or association — invites a non-member to be his or her partner in a two-person tournament.

Member-guest tournaments originated at private country clubs, where guests can get on the golf course only through an invitation from a member. But the term "member-guest" has evolved to also include associations/organizations whose members invite non-members to join them for the tournament. For example, the Corpus Christi chapter of the Pan American Golf Association holds a member-guest; each of the participating organization members gets to ask a guest to be his or her partner for the event.

What format is played during a member-guest? It can be anything suitable for two-person teams.

But country club member-guests are often quite serious affairs. In fact, at many private golf clubs, the member-guest is second only to the club championship in importance on the tournament schedule. Many touring professionals even play in their clubs' member-guest tournaments. Imagine, in 1950, being invited to partner Ben Hogan in the Seminole Golf Club Member-Guest, or, in 2020, joining Phil Mickelson on a team for the Del Mar Country Club Member-Guest.

A big country club member-guest is most likely to be a multi-day match play tournament, or a single day stroke play tournament.

We've spoken only of two-person teams to this point, but a member-guest doesn't have to be limited to two-person teams. It can have three- or four-person teams, too. And some golf clubs and associations use expanded member-guest tournaments as a way to introduce potential new members to the club.

More definitions:

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