From The Inbox

A 1st-world problem that needs no solution

Golf, by design, often reinforces a leisurely pace – at Pebble Beach, it’s often glacial – but players ought to focus on the bigger picture

John Hawkins' article on slow play reminded me of something I've long wondered: Since most of us can't wait to get to the golf course, why are we in such a rush to get off it so quickly? (“Why the rush? It’s golf, so slow down and enjoy it,” Nov. 30).

I believe the answer lies in the design of the game itself. Golfers are always trying to get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as  possible; in other words, as quickly as possible. This mindset carries over into trying to finish the round as soon as possible, also, from a time point of view. And I believe that's unfortunate.

My dad and I played Pebble Beach in 1994 on a beautiful day, and the round took six hours. It could have been 10 hours, for all I cared. Now, I realize in the real world of everyday golf that there is a limit as to how long we can tolerate, but I don't think most people appreciate playing golf in an unrushed manner. Many of us are spending time with our buddies in usually-good weather, in an environment that is aesthetically pleasing. Why hurry to end that experience?

It may be easy for me to say that, since in the Savannah/Hilton Head area where I live, rounds rarely take very long to play, unless you're playing one of the resort courses. But I've also been involved in my share of five-hour rounds, and the key is accepting the pace and enjoying the company you're in.

Frankly, slow play is definitely a first-world problem. When you  consider billions of people around the world cannot even imagine what a luxury a round of golf is like and that they would gladly trade places with us in a heartbeat, it puts things in proper perspective.

So, if that next round of golf takes five hours, be grateful you have the chance to do that when so many don't.

Mark Harman
Ridgeland, S.C.  
(Harman is the national course director for the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation.)

PGA Tour vs. PGA of America
Alex Miceli’s article about the “alliance” of the PGA Tour and the European Tour missed the elephant in the room (“PGA Tour, European Tour get on same page,” Nov. 30).

The PGA Tour has been trying to wrest control (say revenue!) of the Ryder Cup from the PGA of America for many years. The Tour also has resented that the PGA of America owns a major championship and the Tour has been unable to establish the Players Championship as the fifth major.

Could this be a hostile takeover and the beginning of the end of the PGA of America's involvement in professional tournament golf?   

Tod Laudonia
Cos Cob, Conn.

The secret is out
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Gary Van Sickle’s article about Foxburg Country Club (“Timeless Foxburg still charms,” Nov. 23).

It is a unique place that I have enjoyed for close to 20 years. I often talk to people who are first-time players at Foxburg but long-time players who say they never heard of the golf course. Your article will help to spread the word.

Ron Paranick
Cranberry, Pa.

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