Brandon TuckerThis Week at July 30, 2009

Slow play is golf's inconvenient truth

I play almost exclusively at upscale, destination golf courses. So as you might imagine, slow play drives me absolutely bonkers.

The great shame of the modern era is how long it takes a player to get to their ball due to poor golf cart management. Too many recent course designs have long drives between holes, or cart paths that require huge detours around heavily constructed holes.

And don't get me started on "cart path only."

I've noticed that policies regarding slow play greatly vary based on destination.

In Scotland, the rangers (or members behind you) won't hesitate to sheer you like their sheep if your group is lagging. There, the curmudgeonly staff is part of the charm. Many top Las Vegas golf courses, to my delight, seem to have a reputation for being less-than-turtle-friendly, too.

But that's not the case in other leisurely resort spots like in Florida, South Carolina or Mexico, where golf carts are the norm, and most rangers can't lay the smack-down on their paying customers, no matter what.

The fear of making one slow golfer so mad he'll never come back outweighs the potential groups who be turned off this slowpoke golf sport altogether.

I was In Toronto last week, where the talk about faster golf was geared towards more nine-hole courses, easier course setups and ensuring the rangers can play Tie Domi-like enforcer roles. But luckily for Torontonians, more than 200 area golf courses, ranging from $20-$200 mean there won't be any weekend stampedes of overbooked tee sheets like around New York City.

Next month in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the World Amateur Handicap Championship will experiment for the first time with threesomes in an effort to speed up the notoriously slow event that often faces six-hour rounds, so it seems the people have finally spoken. I'd play in the World Am every year if I knew we'd get around in four hours.

As many of us continue to lose vacation time, and retirement for a lot of folks is looking to be a little further off on the horizon than it was at this time last year, curbing the slow-play epidemic is our game's global warming/health care/infrastructure disaster waiting to happen.

As always, welcomes your comments.

England's "Royals" (4 Nights | 4 Rounds)

England's Royals - Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham, St AnnesDates: July 18, 2009 - October 31, 2009

Take a turn on four challenging links-style golf courses on this tour of England’s “Royals.” You will get to play at the Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Royal Liverpool, and the Hillside Golf Club.

Price Range: $1020 - $2350

For more information, please call 1-800-767-3574 or visit us.

Lorena Ochoa - Ricoh Women's British OpenOchoa, Wie, Creamer to do battle at 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open

With stiff winds and no doubt a fair bit of rain sure to provide a severe examination at this week's Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes on England's north-west coast, the winner will probably be a strong links golfer. LPGA Tour stars Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie are all eager for a major victory.

Also: Creamer cut-outs grace London


Paula CreamerRicoh. Moving Ideas Forward

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Hilton Head National Golf Club - Weed Course - Hole 3Hilton Head National in Bluffton, S.C.: Consistency among chaos

Hilton Head National Golf Club, at least part of it, is lying in the path of progress. Despite the turmoil, the course remains true in its core offering - a fastidiously maintained course with an friendly, efficient staff. A remarkable attribute in the Hilton Head golf world is that the course has had only one owner, and General Manager Shannon Archer has been at the course's helm since 1999.

Also: Nightlife on Hilton Head Island

The Mirage 20th Anniversary Golf Offer

The Mirage Hotel and Casino - Las Vegas Dates: April 22, 2009 - December 30, 2009

Book a minimum 3 night stay at The Mirage and receive up to 40% off at Bali Hai Golf Club, Royal Links Golf Club and Desert Pines Golf Club, starting from $119 per night.

Price Range: $119

For details, call 1-800-767-3574 or visit us.

Reynolds Plantation's Oconee Golf Course - Hole 16Forget tradition: 10 North Georgia golf courses for the non-purists

Sometimes they move hundreds of truckloads of dirt. Other times they redirect or dam creeks. Trees are often picked up and placed in other places. They use modern methods to alter the terrain they're given and produce a quality golf course. Here's a look at 10 such non-traditional golf courses in North Georgia. None are more than two hours away from downtown Atlanta and will provide a fun day of golf for anyone.

Also: North Georgia golf for TRADITIONALISTS

Forest Greens Golf Club - GreensForest Greens Golf Club near D.C.: A private-club round at daily-fee rates

Forest Greens Golf Club in Triangle, Va., may seem like a private club, but in reality, it's a daily-fee track with perks like on-course beverage services and a large practice area. It's a fair course, without a whole lot of tricky drama or hidden treachery. With big, welcoming fairways and huge, modestly fast greens, this is a golf course you can enjoy again and again.

Also: There's golf value at Williamsburg

El Cajon Golf Packages
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Price range: $209