Keeping Score

Slow play backs up flow of course revenue, too

From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding slow play and Tiger Woods

Slow play backs up flow of course revenue, too
I was shocked at reader Charlie Jurgonis’ opinion that we should accept slow play and live with golfers playing an extra hour on the course (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 21). In the same breath, Jurgonis stated that courses cannot afford to turn away the revenue generated by these slow players.

In reality, these slow golfers cost a course thousands of dollars a day in revenue and damage the course’s reputation. If, as suggested, we permit just one or two groups to take an extra hour on the course (especially in the morning), at least an hour of tee-time revenue is lost during the course of the day because the delay soon works back to the first tee. That's lost green fee, cart fee, driving range, pro shop and food-and-beverage revenue. Just as bad would be the negative experience and complaints from most golf patrons on the course behind the slow group(s).

I don't know about other regions, but here in Southern California, there are many public (not private country club) course options for golfers, and courses are busy. Customer retention is crucial. If golfers are not satisfied with course conditions, pace of play, etc., they can and will play elsewhere for their next round. Getting golfers to your course is tough enough, but keeping them there is most challenging. I don't know any course operator who would accept or permit slow play. The damage, on so many levels, is irreversible.

Slow play in professional golf is an animal for which we have no direct control. I watch PGA Tour and LPGA golf regularly, recorded. I fast forward through most of the caddie/player conferences, green-reading explorations and commercials. A three-hour telecast becomes an hour or less of actual golf shot-making. Perhaps when advertisers catch on that viewers won't sit through commercials and slow-play shenanigans during golf tournaments, something might be done.

Penny Siebrandt
Los Angeles
(Siebrandt supervises operations at seven golf courses for the city of Los Angeles.)

Golfers ought to be able to find their own fun
Barney Adams doesn't think golf is fun (“Golf isn’t fun, but it could be rewarding,” Aug. 21). Perhaps Adams shouldn't play with his bridge buddies, bet, pay expensive green fees and a cart fee, lose that many balls or keep score.

I also moved to the desert to retire and play golf. I pay $15, drive my own cart, go out in 100-115-degree heat, buzz around in 2½ hours, play the same cheap practice ball all week, and, yes, we have tons of fun. “Rewarding” is finding under some palm-tree debris a golf ball lost two days earlier that already was three days into play and has lasted another four and counting. Wait, that would be “fun,” as well. Yep, it happened to me last week.

Lighten up. Do we really think the game is going to attract new generations of golfers with "golf is rewarding”?

I can see that commercial now. It starts with some poor dude whiffing, progresses over a year to a shank and another year to a decent 6-iron. Big grin on the dude's face when he progresses far enough and gets fitted for his first set of clubs, to the tune of several thousand dollars. That sounds a little too much like, I have a lot to learn, and I will be darn proud of myself after I dedicate a couple of years to a game and can hit one smooth 7-iron a round.

The fact that so many Koreans are playing indoor golf and having fun should teach us a lesson. Keep it fun; keep it light; play wherever you want to play, regardless of where the tees are; and for fun's sake, stop keeping score. Go home and remember the great shots, not the one that cost a triple bogey and lost a 3-down-a-side push. You will live longer.

It is all golf propaganda that one needs a handicap and that one should test oneself in the crucible with some side bets to keep it “rewarding.” C'mon, man.

Don Beck

Could they finish by nightfall?
Can you imagine a threesome of J.B. Holmes, Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau?

I can hear the fans screaming “hit the ball.” It reminds me of Sergio Garcia at Bethpage in the 2002 U.S. Open.

Dick Greenwood
Bradenton, Fla.

He’s no Tiger Woods
Golf Channel has taken its obsession with Tiger Woods to a new and egregious level.

In a segment Monday about the Payne Stewart Award, the network dealt at some length with the Tiger Woods Foundation. This is fine and would be appropriate in another context, but it was totally irrelevant. At the end of the feature, Golf Channel told us to tune in Tuesday when Hale Irwin would be recognized as this year's recipient of the award (Golf Channel video: Irwin’s acceptance speech).

Wow. What a snub. Couldn't Golf Channel have done a little legwork and come up with a story about Irwin's activities that made him worthy of the award?

Tim Schobert
Ottawa, Ontario

Tuning out of this week’s Tour handicap event
I read Gary Van Sickle’s piece on the FedEx Cup and quite frankly see no reason to watch a single shot (“On balance, Tour playoff formula adds up,” Aug. 21).

I don't watch the PGA Tour to see a handicap tournament. I can see that at any local municipal course. I don't dig the format at all and really kind of enjoyed Steve Sands’ updates by the minute because it was always a moving target (“Sands caps error-free era in Tour playoffs,” Aug. 20).

I'm sure that the Tour couldn’t care less what I think, but maybe the sponsors might.

Garen Eggleston
The Villages, Fla.

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