Re Thomas Brennan article of March 29, "We need to speed up golf"
As Yogi Berra once quipped: "Nobody plays golf anymore, the courses are too crowded."
I am a player assistant at a golf facility in Myrtle Beach. Obviously, I am not a proponent of slow golf or golfers who cannot or will not complete their round of golf within the time limit set by the golf facility. When this occurs on the course that I am assigned to, I do my best, with my experience, to encourage the said players to speed up play. I am a player assistant, not a magician who can pull a rabbit out of a hat. However, I take exception to some of Brennan's distorted reasons for slow play and want to comment on them.
I am a believer in the rules of golf and the penalties that resolve those rules.
However, Rule 6-7 - Undue Delay, Slow Play and the ensuing penalties are designated primarily for tournament play or the more serious and accomplished golfer, not for recreational golf. Many of the "northern snowbirds" who flock to Myrtle Beach in the spring and fall are just that - recreational golfers looking to have fun. As Brennan cited this rule in his article, he didn't mention any remedies to correct it. The player assistants where I am employed do their best to monitor the pace of play and take every step to assist the slower players to improve it. It is not my intention to wave the rules of golf book at players who are not familiar with them. I simply encourage these players to pick up their pace. The end result would be to move them forward accordingly with the possible loss of a hole.
Brennan suggests that slow play can result from the fact that a lot of these golfers were "short-changed at birth without the motor skills to play the game." He referred to them as "flubbers." What a ludicrous thing to say. I guess we all can't be as perfect at our golfing skills as Brennan, and to single out high handicapped golfers as "short-changed" is downright pitiful.
He states that courses have waved the white flag and surrendered to slow play. The golf facility that I work for has a player assistant assigned to each of its courses with two more added later in the day to help monitor the pace of play. Each of these player assistants are skilled in handling the difficult situations mandated to their positions, which are redefined with annual meetings held by management.
He states that high handicapped golfers who play from the wrong tee boxes, whether they are macho or self-taught, are a reason for slow play. It is not up to management or the player assistant to demand that players play from a certain tee box. However, the player assistant will monitor those players and when it is apparent that it will produce slow play, they will suggest to those players that they move up to a more comfortable tee box, not only for their enjoyment, but to enhance speed of play.
He states that the course tee and pin placement setup is too difficult for average shot making skills. I suggest that at the course that Brennan has a problem with, he approach the head professional and state his concerns as Brennan appears to be an authority on the subject.
Brennan seems to be frenetic with pre-shot routines and gadgets that golfers use on the golf course. I suppose he is referring to laser rangefinders, which I feel can aid the golfer with club selection. Also, how about cell phones that Brennan failed to mention as a cause for slow play? When in use, they are a distraction to the other players and can cause a problem with pace of play.
So the result of Brennan's article is that he is dismayed with peak season golf and those amateurs or "flubbers" who test his patience. I suggest that during this season Brennan take up tournament chess for relaxation. It would be a one-on-one sport with a time clock, and if you don't make a play in one minute, you lose your turn.
The writer lives in Conway.