Keeping Score

Golf, harder than ever? That’s ridiculous

From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding difficulty in the game and leaving the flagstick in to putt

Golf, harder than ever? That’s ridiculous
The game has gotten more difficult? I don’t think so. Not even close (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Aug. 28).

Today’s golf ball has received billions in research and development and has been designed to fly straighter, farther, penetrate the wind better and is durable enough to use for 36 holes, if you don’t lose it.

Remember the old Hogan or MacGregor balls? You could almost look at them with disdain for the next shot and they would cut. Professionals used a minimum of six, usually nine, balls per round back then, because they were easy to scuff, cut or knock out of round. You can’t knock today’s balls out of round with a vice and sledgehammer.

Recreational golf would benefit from individual carts, transportation vehicles or, better yet, walking only. I started at age 6, walking, given the mandate that it’s always my turn for the 12 holes I might play.

Teaching kids “ready golf” is important. As they age, their games and scores will improve. People starting today as adults mimic what they see on TV and observe that is what’s considered conformity. Being deliberate will produce the best results if you thoroughly consider every possibility.

The majority of people would benefit from making things more reactionary, less overthinking and invariably introducing “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” and foiling themselves before they hit this multi-minute algorithm.

Get after it!

David Hofer
Davie, Fla.

A cheap fix to preserve integrity of hole
Since the implementation of Rule 13.2 regarding the option to leave the flagstick in to putt, I have noticed that the cups are being damaged to a larger extent than before. I play many different golf courses and notice that the damage is more pronounced on bentgrass greens over Bermudagrass greens, and later in the day rather than early.

Watching the various "techniques" golfers use to retrieve the ball from the hole gives an indication of the problem: (1) The meaty hand slid down the side to pinch the ball between the fingers; to keep his balance, the golfer invariably presses his thumb down the rim and crumbles it. (2) The violent jerk of the flagstick upward in an attempt to bring the ball with it causes the ball to erode the cup as it comes out (sometimes with the liner). (3) Then there are the golfers with the little suction cup on the end of their putter grip (they have given up bending over). They take three tries to get the putter handle down the side of the hole, trying to gig the ball as if it were a frog, and damaging the rim in the process.

Golfers, it's OK to remove the flagstick and then retrieve your ball "the old-fashioned way" and then put the flagstick back in.

Better yet is a simpler solution: Slip a little plastic saucer onto the bottom of the flagstick (similar to what is on many putting greens) so that holed balls can be retrieved simply by lifting the flagstick and dumping the ball onto the green or picking it off the saucer.

No more bending over, blood rushing to the head, suction or losing balance. What can this cost? Maybe $1 per hole.

Mike Sprouts
Wallburg, N.C.

Reasonable ideas with zero chance of happening
As the angst continues about slow play, is there a solution?

Legislation and rules will not speed up play at the amateur level. Too many variables to expound upon in this forum. The time of a round can vary from 3:15 to 4:45 or more at my club.

At the professional level, with their expertise, they should be playing faster, and the public would be striving to match their pace of play.

Several ideas to encourage faster play by the pros: eliminate green books; add rangefinders with slope; limit caddie discussions; practice self-reliance; and play ready golf.

However, maybe the new paradigm for pace of play for every golfer is, "It is what it is.”

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

Hey, kids, repeat after me …
During the pace-of-play discussions involving Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas pointed out that he doesn’t take a lot of time over the ball but walks slowly up the course to his shot. That is one of the biggest problems with recreational golf: the slow stroll to the ball.

You see it on TV at the elite amateur and professional levels, and it is emulated at the high school level. Playing behind high school and twentysomethings can be torture.

Walk briskly to your ball, look at your rangefinder, take an optional practice swing and hit the ball. Repeat.

Play ready golf. If you’re ready, hit it.

Jim Robinson
Liverpool, N.Y.

‘Player of the Fiscal Year’?
The latest discussions are over who should be Player of the Year: Rory McIlroy or Brooks Koepka.

Because the “year” is over, and it’s not even September, shouldn’t the award be the Player of the Fiscal Year? POFY sounds better than POY, anyway.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.

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