Walking 18 in Scotland reminds us U.S. golfers just how spoiled we've become
As I soak two aching feet and 10 little calluses in a warm bath - a result of five straight days of walking 18 holes on some of Scotland's finest courses like Turnberry and Prestwick - I can't help but be reminded how superior golf is when you walk, not ride.
My first decade of golf was spent walking on munis and in junior tournaments. Then the lazy, young adult years hit. I've used a cart almost exclusively ever since - just like most other American golfers. But why? I'm a better golfer when I walk. There's a rhythm I can feel when walking that translates to a smoother swing and consistent short game. Mentally there is a huge advantage as well. The game is just more fun.
Even still, I rode … I rode so far away …
It's almost impossible to find a golf cart in Scotland, and I haven't seen one on a course yet.
When is the last time someone walked a course in Scottsdale or Myrtle Beach? Has this happened in the last decade? For regions that are hotbeds of golf, their failure to encourage walking may be doing more harm to the game than good. Masses are learning a lazier, duller spin-off of the true game.
A foursome of walkers is also faster than a foursome in two carts. No zig-zagging across fairways to go to each others' balls. Any head pro or GM who says carts are mandatory for pace of play are either ignorant, greedy or compensating for a poorly planned layout that has long distances between holes.
Sure, carts allow people so out of shape they should be bowling to golf. But since they're riding every time, they'll stay that way. Golfing with a cart isn't exercise, but walking is. You also never see golfers overseas sucking down a six pack during their round. That's saved for after.
True, the U.S. is responsible for elevating golf to a global phenomenon, so it's been doing something right. There are about as many courses in America as there are in the rest of the world.
It's safe to say we took a good thing born in Scotland and, well, rode with it.
Want to get your feet wet and the rest of your body pampered on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and the wild 10,000 Islands? The Naples Grande Resort and Club, a luxury resort smack dab on a sandy beach in southwest Florida, has been undergoing a multi-million dollar renaissance. As always, a huge draw for guests who golf is access to the course at Naples Grande Golf Club, a Rees Jones design with treacherous greens and well-manicured fairways.
Photo Gallery: Naples Grande Golf Club
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