I too read the Wall Street Journal's articles, but had a little different take than you from them. I will not argue your point of better training - but it is not in how to swing the club, it is rather about the traditions of the game of Golf and acceptable behavior. As far as I'm concerned what is disturbing is the number of AVID golfers leaving the game because they have to suffer the behavior of "new beginners" who arrogantly play AT the game with "I paid my money now leave me alone" attitudes.
Open toed sandals? No problem. Twenty minutes late for your tee time - your problem, get me out. Took three hours to play the front nine? don't infringe on my rights! Screamed at the Player Assistant when he asked politely for you to close the gap in front! Well, of course, how dare you or he infringe on my right of free speech!
In my opinion the game better start addressing the twenty percent of the golf population who are currently playing not only eighty percent of the rounds, but are also spending additional dollars on equipment, food, clothing, and housing. In a few years ten percent of the golf population will be playing ninety per cent of the rounds, and that's a good thing.
We ought to follow the European model of having Golf Professionals QUALIFY new golfers in order to let them on the course, and to also have the power to remove their "privilege qualifying card" for gross breaches of etiquette, poor care of the golf course (not tracking bunkers, not fixing ball marks, not fixing divots, and, most of all slow play! Then the game can start attracting appropriate people into the game and leave the rest for the other boorish sports that continue to disgust and disappoint with the behavior of their participants!
Joe Sciortino, The Links at Boynton Beach
Club memberships that provide a greater sense of connection to the game with more opportunities to meet other golfers and play in organized events is one of the best solutions to help reverse this disturbing trend and grow the game.
John Montague, via email
A couple issues ago you had all the answers that PGA pros were not doing their job. This time you simplify all of the woes in golf by just lowering the cost to play. That must be good news to an owner who needs $75 to break even. There are way more issues in this game than cost to play.
Dave, PGA Professional
Your story concerning the number of golfers being lost every year.. As with any sport that becomes very popular there is a point where people just won't pay that asking price in order to participate.. Golf courses in general should wake up and lower green fees making the game more affordable for all. Then there are the club makers and ball makers, asking ridiculous prices for clubs and balls. In my opinion golf has lost its appeal to many people because of its high costs and shall remain that way until someone makes the game affordable again.
Gerald Lapalme, via email
My family and I own two golf courses. We have been in the business for over 30 years. Our courses are lighted. one being the longest lighted course in the country (6777 yds par 72) the other one is a par 33 not a par three. I believe another major reason has been the types of courses that have been built in the past few years. TOO TOUGH AND THEREFORE TAKE TOO LONG TO PLAY. TOO tough then relates to the cost of green fees. much more expensive to maintain these type of courses. people just do not have time to play five hour rounds of golf. many of the high dollar courses are built in housing divisions and the developer never pays into the a fund for the course when they sell the lots. they should it cost more to build and maintain a course in a neighborhood than one without.
Basically it relates to time and money and if some of these banking committees would of had some experienced golf pro / superitendents on some of these loan committees we would not be having these problems today. Hey, people use to play golf because it was fun, but now when most golfers shoot scores 10 strokes higher thann they think the should they feel like an old boxer after a prize fight, except the prize they get is a wife telling them that they spend too much time playing golf. Night golf it works. We built and they came.
Dean Wilson, Beacon Lakes Golf Club
I, like many amateur golfers (I have only been playing for 3 years) have become a somewhat frustrated with my play (at this point I have no intention of joining the defectors) and realize I need some help. I read "tip" articles and watch "videos", all are good but don't come close to hands on instruction. That brings me to my point. Right along side of "high" green fees are the "high" costs of golf schools. I am not in a position (I imagine most novice players are in the same boat) to afford $150.00 - $200.00 for 1, 2, or 3 hour course. These fees must be brought down and more of this great games losses will be reduced if not stopped.
Dominick Leone, Palm Bay, Fla.
Another reason people are leaving the game of golf includes the increasing slow pace of play. From public daily fee golf courses to the private clubs. Add in a noticeable decrease in social behavior on and off the golf course. Golf is a game that should bring the best out in people. Unfortunately, today, that is just not the reality. Golf should be a game of honor and courtesy towards other golfers. That too is not the case.
Now add in the fact that daily fee courses are cramming too many people onto the course without allowing enough time between groups. The result is some golfers grow impatient and will just hit up into the group ahead without regard to courtesy. These courses are damaging themselves and the entire game of golf. Golf courses are not assembly lines where the management loads to many people out onto the course during any given day. More is not better for this business. This management style is wrong for golf.
The USGA and the PGA need to create policies and procedures that will benefit the golf consumer rather than the golf course developer and management. Then a education campaign is needed for every single golfer to learn and understand and respect these on course policies. Begin with empowering the player assistants and rangers to manage and if necessary remove golfers. If everyone shares the responsibility on the golf course, there will be an improvement. Suggestion to the USGA and the PGA, read up on "Quality Management" by E. Deming. It has helped corporations throughout the world grow successfully. Check it out.
J. Brown, via email
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