From The Inbox

Take it easy, golfers, and revel in the moment

Reader enjoys the game and his playing companions, regardless of the pace, because who knows how long we will be able to play

It was a pleasure to read John Hawkins’ article about the slow-play/fast-play argument (“Why the rush? It’s golf, so slow down and enjoy it,” Nov. 30).

I, like many, I'm sure, head out to the course to enjoy a round of golf, not to set an 18-hole speed record. If that is your goal, please play early in the morning with so many of the other speed golfers. I am 65 years old, and along with my 63-year-old wife and our usual older partners, we actually are there to enjoy one another's company and some time away from what seems to have become such a hectic world, this year more than ever.

Like Hawkins, I can get annoyed by guys who stand and plumb bob every putt, even when it is their fourth one, to say nothing of the slow sashay to their golf cart, where they meticulously clean the assorted clubs used to take eight shots from 50 feet, only to then take the time to write in their unusual “par” on the card. All this while, they sit beside the green while we wait to hit our approaches. Let's not mention the time with the beverage cart girl.

Hawkins is so very correct that bad golf takes time. I have been fortunate to play very fast golf early in the morning by myself and excruciatingly slow golf in the afternoon. Did I play better when I played fast? Probably, if for no other reason than it allowed me to keep a consistent rhythm. Strangely, I also have played equally well as I wait forever on every shot in that 5½-hour journey. Sadly, more often than not, it is more common that I played unevenly, regardless of the pace of play.

What I do notice is that regardless of how the game went or how long it took, I walk to the parking lot thinking, What a great time that was.

Take a breath, folks, and enjoy what you are doing and where you are doing it. Enjoy the view, the fresh air, the wildlife and your friends, because all too quickly, you may not be able to do so.

Baird Heide
Bradford, Ontario

Saving time on course adds up  
John Hawkins suggested that there is little or no evidence that slow play has negatively impacted golf's popularity (“Why the rush? It’s golf, so slow down and enjoy it,” Nov. 30). Yet he started the article by saying that slow play is one of the reasons that he doesn't play as much as he used to.

I'd bet that there are many past golfers who stopped playing because they just don't have 4-5 hours in their lives to play a round, plus the prep and drive time to and from a course. I don't have any idea whether anybody has, in fact, studied this. If not, the lack of evidence of the impact of slow play doesn't mean that slow play hasn't negatively impacted golf's popularity.

My wife's and my adaptation to slow play is to be the first going off on the course in the morning. Occasionally somebody will start off the back right as we're getting there, but overwhelmingly the course ahead is ours alone. We play 250 times a year, so saving an hour a day is really a pretty substantial time savings for us. I can't imagine that we'd play as much if we were typically in the middle of slow players.

Michael P. Hoff
Rocky Face, Ga.

Consider formats other than four-balls
I disagree with John Hawkins (“Why the rush? It’s golf, so slow down and enjoy it,” Nov. 30).

Four-ball golf is the worst format of the game, as it takes so long. In the U.K., I prefer to play at clubs which ban four- and three-balls. This speeds it up for everyone. And we play a lot of Scotch foursomes, which is a great format and more exciting than any other one.

I know lots of people who have given up memberships of four-ball clubs to join quicker two-ball-only ones.

Chris Spink
Brighton, England

Taking note of a job well done
I just wanted to write about Gary Van Sickle’s piece in Where To Golf Next (“Timeless Foxburg still charms,” Nov. 23).

I am the Andy Rapp mentioned in the article. What is amazing to me is that during the 18 holes of golf on that October day, “Vans” never once took out a notebook or took notes. He carried us on his back during the round, maintained humorous and serious conversation, and took it all in without taking any notes. We had no clue he was putting together an article on the course.

I have received countless emails and text messages on Vans’ article on how classy it was. We thank Vans for such an outstanding article on our beloved old course.

Andrew Rapp
Foxburg, Pa.

A ‘stupendous’ portrayal of Foxburg Country Club
I am reaching out as a member of the Foxburg Country Club board to thank Gary Van Sickle for such an amazing job done on the article in Where To Golf Next (“Timeless Foxburg still charms,” Nov. 23).

It was great to see our little course get some of the recognition that we think it deserves. We know that it is no championship course, but we are proud of the history that comes with the course.

Van Sickle did such a stupendous job of portraying the course and bringing up some of the history about the course. 

Nick McGuirk 
Foxburg, Pa.

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