Chris BaldwinThis Week at May 2, 2007

Why do U.S. golfers lie through their teeth on walking and playing nine holes?

American golfers are as hypocritical as a priest with a mistress.

They talk about wanting to walk courses, croon over the prospect of playing nine holes. Then, whenever they get the chance to do either of these, they act as outraged as Shawn Kemp is over Alec Baldwin's voice mail.

Ask anyone in the golf business and they'll tell you American golfers morph into that Joe Pesci character in Casino when it comes to walking or getting in nine holes. They're all talk.

Take Saguaro at We-Ko-Pa in the Phoenix-Scottsdale Valley. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw - the men behind Bandon Trails - designed this golf course specifically for walking. They wanted to promote a joy of the game that's often lost in the United States.

So what happened? Everyone rides.

This despite the fact Saguaro makes walking cake. The club provides motorized push carts for your bag that go up the fairways themselves with the press of a button.

Still, when I played Saguaro, two players (including myself) were the only golfers walking on a packed tee sheet.

"A lot of people just seem more comfortable sticking with the traditional carts," Saguaro Marketing Director Derek Crawford said diplomatically.

Turns out, all that passion for walking is a lie.

It's more of the same when it comes to playing nine. This is a great solution to golf's time problem, a chance to get your fix in around two hours.

When I argued that more courses should offer the nine-hole option and promote these rates, letters from golfers poured in supporting the notion. Courses that actually provide a nine-hole option will tell you no one takes them up on it.

"I thought we'd have a bunch of golfers deciding to play nine," said Todd Howard, director of golf at Starr Pass Country Club, a Tucson golf facility with three Arnold Palmer nines. "But people look at you like you're deranged if you suggest just nine holes. It's like it's not even golf to them if it's not 18."

What gives, America? I thought we were pushing the populist cause here at Instead we're like Sheryl Crow, advocating one square of toilet paper and getting laughed at?

As always, welcomes your comments.

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