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Dear DougCarey, Publications Director:

As far as the state of women's golf...why doesn't the LPGA tour market thefact that the women are getting longer and scoring better other than tryingto sell the sex factor? Please, does the LPGA tour really need to be(promoting) attractive women shooting in the 90's?

Douglas Schulte, Golfer's Guide Marketing Solutions

Dear Steve Rocca, Senior Writer

In regard to Arnold Palmer's statement that belly putters are unfair: They are only unfair if everyone is not afforded an opportunity to use one. If you want to make every golf tournament an equal challenge, then make every player use the exact same equipment and let the outcome be determined on ability only.

Dennis Lesh, Hayden, ID

Dear Doug Carey, Publications Director:

Is there any way you could get the TV networks that broadcast golf, and the PGA and USGA, to focus more attention on getting the public to repair pitch marks on greens? I see Tiger Woods conscientiously repairing his own ball marks, so why can't the average player do the same? Yet it's easy to find 5 or 10 unrepaired pitch marks on most greens on public or daily fee courses. The only way to change behavior is to show the public what their role models do and thus give them an example they will want to copy. Perhaps the networks could use one of those short breaks in which they demonstrate a rule or a type of shot to show a pro the public admires fixing his or her pitch marks and reminding everyone that this is a basic courtesy to other players and also critical to maintaining the condition of the course.

John K. Atchley, via email

I fear you're overestimating my pull with the networks, but I appreciate the note. For what it's worth, I'd love to see David Feherty focus on this topic for a few minutes. Good suggestion. - DC

Dear Shane Sharp, Contributing Writer:

I am a former General Manager at one of the American Golf courses in Southern California. Let me tell you all that that was the biggest mistake of my life. I thought that I was entering a company who cared about the "game" of golf not entirely about profit. If there can be one word to sum up American Golf's mission it would be overbook. That corporation does not care about the golfers; if you complain to regional you will just get a free foursome to some course - just to shut you up. They want your money, your friend's money, any person's money - and will do anything to get it. I was always instructed by Regional Directors to always be at least 15-30 min. behind on the first tee. If you were not behind you were not doing your job right. Overbook, overbook, overbook. Manage your tee sheets, squeeze times, put out as many five somas as possible, upsell were and still are all the things that they crammed into those poor starters heads.

That's another thing, please don't blame the starters. I know it can be hard when you have a tee time and you are going to be 30 min. behind and have a 5 1/2 hour + round. It's not their fault. American Golf encourages managers to pay their staff as little as possible. In fact, you are given a pat on the back so to speak if more than half of your staff is making minimum wage. Now that Goldman Sachs owns the company -- because David Price (the former Chairman) set the company to fail and he bailed out with all of his buddies with over 40 million -- its going to get even better. Our new Regional Managers that they are hiring are coming from companies like Pepsi Co., AMF Bowling, Coke, and have no golf experience. How can you run a golf course and not play golf???? I asked a new Regional Director that and he stated that golf is just like any other business. You have a product and you just sell it. It's all about sales!

I implore all of you that read this, please don't go to a American Golf Course, they overcharge, overbook, and under spend on the course maintenance. Also, look in the kitchens of their courses, they do the bare minimum just to keep the health department off their backs. I know I was always told, Don't spend any money, just generate revenue. American Golf does not care about its customers (believe me, please); it does not care about its employees and it does not care about its courses. It just sees it as a way to make MONEY.

If you have had a problem call them at (800) 345-4259. (press 0 for an operator) Let them know how you feel.

Name withheld, via email (Santa Monica)

Dear Shane Sharp, Senior Editor:

I couldn't help but agree that there is an arrogance and an attitude that the customer has paid his money and has to take what is given. We've gone to MB for the past three years after previous spring trips to Nags Head and prior to that Virginia Beach.

Paying a premium and finding freshly plugged and sanded greens at Carolina National sucked. Being insulted by on course hucksters to play the "on the green" game at numerous courses sucks. Being treated shabbily by bag handlers at Black Bear was lousy. And also other courses. Conversely I've never, at 25 or so courses, had any complaints in the pro shop.

Most of the issues that we have come outside. Like having the earliest starting time on our getaway day and a half an hour later following my patience with things finding out that my name was the same as a members who the starter didn't see amongst the crowd. Or getting to a course and discovering that your name wasn't on their list. No ever says I'm sorry and maybe offers a small gesture for their screwup. Just pay and get out of our way.

We're also looking at other golf destination as we've been to MB 3 years although we enjoy staying at a quiet place like Brunswick Plantation. By the way, we are four non-drinking duffers in their early 60's. All we want is good reasonably priced golf and courteous service. It was much better in 2003

Dennis Abbott, Newmarket, NH

Dear Shane Sharp, Senior Editor:

Once again, Shane hits us where it helps! Although SortaGolf didn't mention the "Texas" wedge, or foot wedge, it is very much a part of my game. Although I do use strict guidelines when deciding on it's use (only ONE kick per lie, and always perpendicular to the hole), my wife is more liberal in her interpretation of the use (kick it as many times as it takes to get where she wants it...). SortaGolf is for those of us who want to enjoy our play, don't really keep score or maintain a handicap but play strictly by the rules in charity tournaments. If I'm ever playing in the Open (ANY Open), then the USGA (or rule-enforcing organization) can watch me like a hawk! Excuse me, I need to join yet another golf organization!

Jay Nichols, via email

Dear Shane Sharp, Senior Editor:

Right on!!! If anyone out there, just non-pro to the hackers, has NOT played SortaGolf of their own brand, there are a lot of liars playing golf. For those of us who do not have pretentions at joining the PGA, LPGA or whatever other A, lets face it, this sounds like our kind of game. We all love our golf, which sometimes gets to us, so let us play SortaGolf and get the fun back into our sport. (Isn't that what its supposed to be??) Thanks for the idea, now will someone send me the rules so we can start it out here. Keep it on the short green stuff.

Graham Riley, via email

Dear Doug Carey, Publications Director:

(In response to Carey's suggestion to add golf as an Olympic sport): In my opinion, the Olympics should be reserved for sports in which this event is the highest honour. In the case of golf, the Masters will always be the highest honour attainable therefore the Olympics would be secondary. In essence there already exists an Olympic level event for golf; there's no need to make it an actual Olympic event.

Jean Guibord, via email

Dear Doug Carey, Publications Director:

I hate that the PGA and golf in general would allow someone to phone in an rule infraction. The officials are all around there and should call it if they see it. If not, like basketball, baseball, football, etc., it's not a foul if the referee doesn't call it. It's the onsite official's call. It is not fair that someone else may get by with something because they were not shown on TV. It's ridiculous and unprofessional. Change the name to UPGA.

Chuck Denton, via email

Dear Doug Carey, Publications Director:

I have wondered for some time now why tournament officials take phone messages and from fans and then decided to make a ruling. It is indeed absurd, as you noted. No other sport would do this and as you stated there are enough competent officials on duty. I am glad you have taken a stand.

Keith Willson, via email

Dear Doug Carey, Publications Director:

Give me a break. When the tour makes millions off television, you invite me to be part of the game. All rules should be enforced, even by those just watching...if not, get it off TV.

Roy Castlebury, via email

Dear Doug Carey, Publications Director:

1. Totally agree that whoever called in to report (Duffy) Waldorf's "infraction" has NO life. I know someone in my area who is a freak about the rules. He has practically memorized the rule book and it could have been he.

2. I would like to see you do a story on American golf broadcasts, contrasting them with the European Tour. I would like to see you interview the network producers and some of the commentators. The contrast would highlight cultural differences and illustrate the U.S. media's fascination for hype, hyperbole, endless promotions, lack of golf broadcast literacy, meaning that producers spend too much time lingering over unessential footage, like a guy walking off the green, as opposed to the rapid fire European approach of showing one golf shot after another, which I love. I totally admire Bruce Edwards but frankly got sick of the interviews and "special" smack in the middle of the last round coverage. Enough already!!

3. When I review a golf course and I am not able to honestly praise it the way I might like, I use code by saying something like, "This course is set ideally for the casual vacationing golfer and his family." It's easy to swoon editorially when you absolutely love a golf course but when you are asked to praise a course that has obvious limitations, that is how I do it. This is all to say that too damn many course reviews are misleading. I have seen a course praised to the skies that I have played and find unrecommendable. I suggest that the writer either put in qualifiers or don't do the damn review, just to get the course's advertising.

Alan B. Nichols, via email

Dear Shane Sharp, Senior Editor:

Let me clear up a few facts. The decision to close down the On The Green forum was my decision and in no way forced upon me by Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday as suggested. The forum in itself is a good idea, certainly an exchange of ideas and information is always productive.

When Bill Woodward came to me to start the forum I gave it my blessing. Most of what appears on the forum is good but it has also become a tool for unfair negativity and self interest. On The Green Magazine has the right to control our own editorial; the forum could be interpreted as our view point and that's simply not true. Sure, we could go in there every day and edit all the comments or give our viewpoint, but we simply don't have the time and resources to do it.

Bill Woodward's comments about how this decision was made are simply not true. Bill did not have all the facts, and acted on the closure without my permission. He helped start the forum and personally hated to see it go; the truth of the matter was he was upset. He reacted accordingly. But he got the facts wrong. Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday never told me to close the forum. I closed it because it was becoming controversial and not in the best interest of my publication.

To label Golf Holiday as the culprit is ridiculous. Golf Holiday and On The Green Magazine are working together to help improve the golf business in Myrtle Beach - that's it. Everyone on the forum that wants great-conditioned golf courses must understand that we have to be profitable to do that. In order to be more profitable, we have to bring more golfers to Myrtle Beach. We will be working together to achieve that goal, and in the end present you with the best possible golf experience.

I personally encourage all those involved to continue the forum and I am glad On The Green was the platform for getting it started. Remember one thing though, not everything you read is the truth. It is important to monitor the forum for its accuracy, and to call the golf courses themselves. They will generally give you a true report on their conditioning, prices, etc.

Paul Himmelsbach, Chairman
Himmelsbach Communications / On The Green Magazine

Dear Doug Carey, Publications Director:

I know you like to get enthused. But there are limits! As a Jersey boy, if Jason Kidd mauls San Antonio -- or Stevens has seven goals against the Mighty Ducks -- Annika will be just a footnote on the 2003 sports scene! Remember -- she did not win, place, show - or even make the cut!

What she has shown is that we take a lot for granted. Even the middle-level male tour pros are unbelieveably talented golfers. The women are good for their class -- but the best of the men are a class above. Performance in the tournament is the metric that counts. Annika is out of her league. She's a tremendous women golfer. But she doesn't have the skills the men do. Look at the scores.

Phil Crowley, via email

Dear Doug Carey, Publications Director:

It sure is WAY TOO early to name Annika Sportswomen of the Year! Let's see how many tournaments she wins first. Playing in the Colonial is NOT basis for winning any award. C'mon Doug! Right now, at least until Saturday, Funny Cide deserves it more!

Nick Aramino, via email

Dear Editor:

I am glad to see a review of the golf in Alabama and we are happy to see more people come and play in Alabama. But I was offended by the headline to the story ("Gulf Shores is nice, very nice, so don't be fooled by the location -- Alabama"). Would you write an article titled "Golf is great in San Francisco, but watch out for the Gays," or the "Rude Yankees up North," or "Mexicans in the Southwest." I guess you do not have to be "PC" when dealing with the South. It is a shame that "Southern Hospitility" has not spread to the rest of the country.

Ken Harper, Bham, Ala.

Dear LasVegasGolf Editor:

Played Desert Pines in Las Vegas and found it to be an enjoyable experience. The staff was quite helpful and friendly and the practice facility is one of the best! Desert Pines puts a premium on driving accuracy and the pines frame a number of holes in a fashion pleasing to the eye. Greens have recently been redone and were a bit soft but rolled true. This is a course I truly enjoyed and will play again when next in Vegas.

Rick Maass, Portage,Wisc.

Dear Shane Sharp, Contributing Writer:

I read with great sadness your story about the temporary/permanent (?) closing of the Marsh Harbour Golf Course. For the past several years, my wife and I, and my best friend and his wife, have vacationed in North Myrtle Beach.

Over the years, we have been fortunate to have played most, if not all, of the top courses in that area. Bar none, our favorite course is/was Marsh Harbour. Every year, we play some old favorites (always Marsh Harbour) and some new courses. We played Marsh Harbour in June, 2002, and it was is fine condition, as always. Who is the new operator/owner to claim the course is unplayable? Is this the same person who owned/operated Ocean Harbour, only to close that course for an undetermined period of time? Is there a pattern developing here? It is such a shame that such a great course will not be open this year. Shame on the new ownership!

Kevin Campbell, Medina, Ohio

Dear Editor,

I always find it interesting when an area like Phoenix finds itself in a situation whereby the tourist isn't coming to spend $250 to play golf. In this case it is because of the war in Iraq, a time to be praying for our soldiers. All of the sudden they, the golf course owners, CVB people etc. think it is a good idea to try to get local people to come and play golf, and save their butts from a totally disastrous golf season. Perhaps they should think about a way to let the local golf enthusiast play, whether they need them or not. I would tell them to take a hike, and keep my money for golfing at courses that appreciate the daily fee player, and charge prices that say, "Welcome"!

John Jessup, Traverse City, Mich.

Dear Shane Sharp, Contributing Writer:

I read the Tiger fashion story with amusement. I cannot understand how so-called "traditionalists" think that they are in any way, shape or form, adhering to golf tradition by wearing collared polos. It's a bunch of horse caca! The closest thing modern golf had to a true traditionalist was Payne Stewart. Yes, it was an updated version, but nonetheless, his style was rooted in the era of Bobby Jones. True adherence to the tradition of golf would have golfers wearing ties, long-sleeved dress shirts and knickers again. Of course it's not practical and is restrictive of a golf swing, but we're talking tradition here, right.

Well, you see what I mean. Polo shirts and khaki slacks are no more a golf tradition than a titanium driver! Mock-T's for everyone!

Albert Madariaga, Richardson, Texas

Dear Doug Carey, Content Manager:

Read your article on Augusta National...you are an idiot. Until you figure out that the Augusta National debate has NOTHING to do with discrimination, and EVERYTHING to do with the right to freedom of assembly, please keep your mouth shut... wait, who am I to try and restrict your freedom of speech, go on and keep writing your senseless drivel.

Robert Engels, via email

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • tom watson

    william blackwell wrote on: Jun 18, 2014

    great interview by Jeff Ritter on Tom Watson in the jul issue, but what ruined it for me was the end where Watson obviously doesn't care about millions of people whom are getting health care for the first time or understanding the ACA. Stick to golf Tom...


  • John Ball

    Tudor Williams wrote on: Mar 14, 2006

    I have just read your article on the great John Ball. My interest in him was rekindkled by the fact that when he retired to Wales he settled near Holywell in Flintshire and was reputed to play the Holywell course which is located in nearby Brynford. I am a member of said golf club and as we are celebrating our centenary year (established in 1906) I have been researching the records of the ladies section for information.I previously stated that John was 'reputed' to play at Holywell because most old records have been lost. However, I have just discovered a reference to him in the ladies section records of their meetings in 1925. Apparantly they sent a signed score card, belonging to John, in order to get a reduction in the scratch score for some new holes which had been opened on the course. It would be of great interest to Holywell Golf Club if any other references to him in connection with us were to be found.
    It has been said that there was an entry in an old visitors book that John had signed in a fellow Open winner by the name of Harry Vardon, but this is a record which has been lost!


  • Why 18 holes?

    Maria Campise wrote on: Feb 7, 2005

    How and why was the game of golf deemed to have 18 holes?


  • golf statistics

    Priscilla Smithers wrote on: Nov 5, 2004

    Where can I get some world statistics like: how many people plays golf?? more or less, the percentage of players that brake the 100's,90's, 80's,70's. how many of these golfers are women, number of muscles used in a golf swing, which are the five or ten most difficult sports in the world, etc.... and interesting things like these???
    Please let me know where can I get this info. Thanks


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