If you play in the same foursome or with the same group of six or eight week after week and often at the same course, you know things can get stale.

You hear the same stories two and three and 12 times. The same tired one-liners and age-old golf jokes are recycled. You’ve shared a golf cart with the same guy so many times you can identify his underarm deodorant (or, more pointedly, if he doesn’t wear any).

Clearly, it’s time to inject some new flavor into your golf adventures. This doesn’t mean a new adult beverage. It means a new goal, a new target, something new to play for. If you’ve conquered your home course (or shot the lowest number in the 90s you’re going to shoot there), it’s time to add incentive.

Our group doesn’t play for money (perhaps because most of us don’t have much). So we shoot for trophies. A trophy is often defined as a memorial raised on the field of battle. This is precisely correct.

Introducing the PIG.

The golden PIG (Pure Iron Golf) trophy will be among the awards players in our group pursue this year. The trick to making these sorts of awards meaningful is to create qualifications that are just within reach of your players. In other words, make it difficult. But not too difficult. It shouldn’t be as hard as winning the lottery but it shouldn’t be as easy as deciding to accept an offer of chocolate cheesecake.

In the case of the PIG, the swine will be awarded to a player who has at least two birdies and at least three pars in a round. The winner keeps the perpetual award until another player reaches the same pinnacle. Or, in this case, pigacle.

It should be noted that, for some foursomes, an award of this sort could change hands virtually every round. Sadly, it also should be noted that this will not happen in our group. The PIG was up for grabs for the first time this week, and we didn’t even scare him. There was one birdie in the foursome, and pars also were relatively scarce. In our defense, the course was a difficult one, and it was very soggy from a long overnight rain. And the 17th and 18th holes are so hard they should be burned to the ground.

Not to make excuses or undue lamentations.

But I digress.

On more than one occasion in past years, players in our group have put together rounds that would have qualified for the PIG if the porker had been in existence then. So, we know it can be done. In the meantime, the PIG is hermetically sealed in a super-secret location, not to be touched by the hands of greedy man. One of our players suggested that the storage spot be comfortable because Porky might rest there for a while.

Whatever the difficulty level associated with the award, there is no question that the PIG will enliven our season. None of us will ever win the U.S. Open. But Dustin Johnson won’t win the PIG, either. So there.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.