From The Inbox

A plea for golf’s ‘purists’ to pick up and move on

Most golfers would appreciate a well-raked bunker, which demands a difficult recovery shot with or without the benefit of a smooth lie

I read with amusement the cries from the "purists" who want rakes and sand removed from bunkers (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 28, July 29).

Are these pleas aimed at PGA Tour players or those of us who are mere mortals? It's an important distinction. I don't know any 15-handicap golfers who “aim at bunkers” near greens to have an easy out to the green to one-putt. In fact, I don't know any near-scratch or single-digit-handicap players who do it, either.

So, go ahead and remove the rakes and let the grass grow thick and high around the lips of sand bunkers. While you are at it, don't fill them with sand and let them become an eyesore on the course. Just don't curse the greens superintendent.

Lastly, when you've carded an 8 on the hole and haven't putted out yet, please pick up your ball and head to the next tee to keep play moving. The group behind you will thank you.

Steve Maragakes
Buckingham, Pa.

To put squeeze on today’s bombers, pinch fairways
Today’s pros play a game with which I am not familiar.

In my heydays of 1950-70, I was capable of reaching any green in regulation. Even then, I was amazed at the distances the pros hit the ball.

Jack Nicklaus is a proponent of changing the ball to restrict players such as Bryson DeChambeau's driving distance. There was the same complaint about Nicklaus in his heyday.

From the back tees, the 18th hole at St. Andrews’ Old Course plays 361 yards. It played about the same distance in 1970 when Nicklaus won the British Open after driving over the green on the final day and in the playoff against Doug Sanders.

The road crossing the fairway is about 100 yards short of the front of the green, and as I stood there and watched, only six or seven drives crossed it.

You have to remember that Nicklaus used a small persimmon-head driver, nothing like the clubs of today, and the small English ball.

So, is it the ball that needs changing or the layout of the course?

My solution is to start at the average driving distance for the pros and reduce the fairway width by 10-20 yards, adding real Old Course-type bunkers, and increasing the rough severely. Continue until 100 yards from the green.

Now you have a real risk-reward hole.

Bob Jones
Idaho Falls, Idaho

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