Canadian PGA Master Professional Michael Schurman certainly kicked up a lot of dust in this blog last week about how conditions and length of golf courses are taking the fun out of the game for the average golfer.
That blog was brought up several times as I wandered around the Ontario PGA buying show last week and judging from the comments I heard there, in responses left on this website and votes cast on the GNN Poll, readers are nearly unanimous in support of Schurman’s opinion.
Whether the golf industry will translate that support into actual action on this subject remains to be seen and I like Schurman’s idea of a “Stimp 9.5” campaign to slow down green speeds and make them playable for all skill levels.
However, it’s difficult to talk about change at an industry-wide level. Meaningful change will be decided at each individual golf course, based on their own individual practices, theories and philosophies.
The same holds true on how they deal with their own specific members or public golfers, which I believe is the other side of the equation on this subject.
Few will argue that a significant percentage of golfers have an inflated opinion of their games. In my own case, if my ball goes off the fairway, I usually start looking well ahead of where it actually landed, even though I know I’m hardly a big hitter off the tee.
Even if I do think my ball has gone farther than it really has, I like to think I choose the right tees for my game, but I’ve been with others who automatically want to play the back or near-back tees.
Even if they do have the power to justify such a decision, it’s been my experience that many of these big hitters tend to spray the ball, which means taking time to search for their ball as often as not.
Then, the emphasis is put on short game, which many golfers don’t practice enough to be as proficient as they could be around the green, the result being, in many cases, slow rounds, especially if combined with the fast greens and other nasty conditions that we talked about last week.
Golfers themselves can inadvertently lower their own enjoyment level of a round and cause a domino effect on others through slow play, but how far would you take policies designed to deal with this problem?
It’s tough to get to know the games of people who come into a public course through sheer numbers. It can be a time-consuming process on a busy day in the middle of the summer. Also, how can you tell somebody who has paid significantly for a membership or green fee something that may damage the ego?
That brings us to the GNN Poll for this week:
How far would you take slow play policies? Would you ever remove people for excessive slow play
- If they've been warned, give them the hook (78%)
- It's their dime and I can't push it too far (22%)
Be sure to cast your vote at and we’d also like to hear in the Comments box below any innovative ideas that you may have to enforce slow play policies or to speed up play?