From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding slow play and PGA Tour viewership
Slow play is not new, so don’t blame it for golf’s ills
Slow play cannot be the biggest contributor to the lack of growth of golf (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 3). Everyone agrees that slow play has been around for decades. However, in the 1990s and into 2000, golf was growing. If golf grew while slow play was around, how can they say that the decline is also because of slow play? The logic doesn’t hold.
Golf is not growing for two reasons. It is not appealing to the younger generations because of high cost and other interests. And it is losing older long-time players on fixed incomes because of cost. There’s a common denominator there. Golf is a business, and business is revenue and profit. It costs money to maintain a golf facility. If membership or public play is down, the cost to play goes up, or care for the facility goes down. Both are not appealing to new as well as existing golfers.
If the economic indicators are correct, this may be as good as it ever will be. So, enjoy what we have; we may not have it for much longer.
As for slow play, our group has found a solution. We now allot 4½ hours in our day for our round of golf. If we play in 4:15 or so, we’re happy. It’s all relative.
No dawdling in the desert
My group (either three or four, depending on the day) easily gets around our course in just over 2½ hours when no one is ahead of us (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 3). We range in age from 65 to 80 and ride, as most do here in Arizona. We were putting with the pin in the hole long before it was “legal” and play the right tees (about 5,900 yards) for our ages.
We cannot figure out what takes so long for some groups to play, other than the 25-cent bets that must be a part of their game. We would rather get done and head for the coffee shop.
Not so fast, Koepka and McIlroy
There are inherently fast and slow players due to ability that involves ball-striking as well as the thought process (“Golf’s big riddle, wrapped in a mystery,” Sept. 2).
The two biggest complainers, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy, are very good players – Nos. 1 and 2 in the world, respectively – who get the yardage, grab a club and execute very efficiently. They are happy to penalize others who just aren’t as good and to minimize possible competitors. It is time to relax on this.
John R. Cameron
Port Orange, Fla.
(Cameron is a PGA of America member and secretary of the Daytona Beach Junior Golf Association.)
Hunkering down with thoughts on pace of play
Some more thoughts on the scourge of slow play as we wait out Hurricane Dorian:
1. It’s in their members’ interest that the PGA Tour address the issue. If average times per round increase, fewer members get to participate. They’re not making any more daylight and, given a fixed TV window, that’s fewer players/sponsor logos passing through my field of vision.
2. The Tour should pursue an initiative that utilizes new technology. Get some smart techie group to put GPS chips in the players’ badges, objectively analyze their behavior for a year with the help of artificial intelligence or whatever, and come up with conclusions and recommended actions to speed up play. That could involve new practices as well as managing individuals’ actions.
3. Be transparent and share findings with other golf stakeholders, which includes us golfers. We’re the ones who support their livelihood by tuning in, buying products, making our clubs available for their use, etc.
St. Johns, Fla.
Tour won’t listen until business, viewership fall
The major-championship season just seems to be too compressed for my liking, but the PGA Tour does what its members tell it to do and what its sponsors demand. Viewers certainly will take a back seat until sponsors hear of sales drops and less viewership.
The Villages, Fla.
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