From The Inbox

Is Masters responsible for higher green fees?

Augusta National’s pursuit of perfection raises bar for other courses, and all of that greenery costs golfers more of their green

There is one thing that I hold the Masters responsible for: the change in what American golf courses are like, and the increased costs that resulted. Augusta National is perfect. I don't know exactly when it became perfect; sometime in the late 1960s or ’70s, I think. Old footage seems to show a regular golf course: some brown spots, maybe a few scruffy spots, but not anymore. It looks like the formal gardens at the Palace of Versailles. 

It's beautiful. I love watching, and I'm sure the competitors love playing in those conditions. If you're a traditionalist, it's certainly not the cross-country game through varying conditions as golf originally was played. (No sheep poop, for one thing.) Now, golfers seem to think that that is what a golf course should be like. Few, if any, others achieve the ideal, but all courses now feel pressure from players to try. It is expensive. Pesticides, herbicides and more water all cost money, plus larger crews. These costs are reflected in the green fees.

In the very near future, the use of all of these courses will be restricted, with probably even greater costs if the pursuit of even limited perfection is continued.

Augusta National has pursued and accomplished perfection, but I kind of wish that the club hadn't. 

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

More distance, please
Please, please, please let this distance thing die (“Augusta National can’t be shortsighted on distance debate,” April 8).

99.9 percent of the golfers in the world never will hit it as far as the pros do. Why penalize those of us who love to see them “tee it high and let it fly”?

Yes, Alex Miceli, you are right: Don’t kill the golden goose.

Sam Albert
Reading, Pa.

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