Keeping Score

From the Morning Read inbox

Golf should be ready for ‘ready golf’ 

Perhaps it is time that the industry should get together and develop a program called “ready golf.” The PGA of America has done a fabulous job with its program to get new golfers into the game. At this year’s PGA Merchandise Show, it was stressed at our seminars that we need to take these new golfers and keep them in golf and get them to the golf course. We won’t be successful in keeping them in the game if pace of play becomes an issue.

Now it is time for all aspects of the industry to figure out how to increase the pace of play with ready golf. It should start from the PGA Tour and filter down to local golf courses. My association can continue its efforts with its junior-golf programs and eliminating the stigma that if you don’t play 18 holes, it is not true golf. Golf courses can focus on making their facilities appealing yet simpler to play. The USGA can modify the rules in areas that would help to speed up play as well.

In my opinion, we all will benefit from the program of ready golf. Time is what every new golfer and existing golfer talks about when it comes to playing the game. Together, let’s focus our efforts on playing faster golf. 

Mark Anderson
Alexandria, Va.

(Anderson is a PGA of America member.)


Golf’s sticky wicket

Initially, Andy Jackson’s proposal sounds like a good solution: do not micromanage a player’s actions during the round but upon completion of play review the overall time required to finish the round and apply varying penalties (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 7,

The issue is that when any group is slow, all groups that follow also will be slow and have the same or worse time. It’s no different than an accident on an expressway. All cars will have to slow or stop until they pass the wreck. Golfers are in worse shape. They cannot exit and find alternative routes to their final destinations. All must play the same holes, in the same sequence.

A more drastic approach is to state that if a group falls out of position by a hole, it is a wreck and the entire group is disqualified from the tournament. Just like a car wreck, remove them. After all, they are pros.

Part of the Q-School requirement should not be solely that the best scores advance, but the event also should penalize for slow play. It would prepare the pros to understand that scoring is not the only metric upon which they would be judged.

Golf is not a cricket match.

Bill Martin
Quitman, Texas


Slow play and the Tiger fixation

The No. 1 problem at our course is slow play. Every sport has a time limit in which the ball must be thrown or the shot taken or three seconds in lane, etc.

I am glad that Tiger Woods is back and hope he does well, but why do we have to watch him walk down the fairway, look for a lost ball or just stare off into space while others are actually doing something? 

Gary Peterson
Temple, Texas 


Nothing wrong with slow play on Tour

I don’t understand the opinions of many of the commenters on slow play on the PGA Tour.

Unless you are actually at the event walking with the players, you don’t even notice the pace of play. The TV broadcast generally shows just the shot or putt, including some bit of preparation time right before the shot or putt. If a guy is taking too long or is getting a ruling, etc., the broadcasters go to a player actually taking a shot or putting. TV uses tape to record shots and fit them into the broadcast as warranted. (There are exceptions, of course, such as when the final group is playing the 18th hole and no one else is on the course to show.)

And, unless there is a playoff, the TV broadcast and tournament generally ends right on the hour, which is what the PGA Tour and the networks really care about.

And, to think that if the pros played faster, the public would somehow play faster is wishful thinking.  

Mike Villarrubia
Metairie, La.


The wrong approach in Montana

Archaic is not a strong enough word for this particular group (“Montana’s stymie of parents defies logic,” Feb. 8,

Nice article. Tell them to quit letting people come to football and basketball games while they are at it and completely stymie the chance of any of these kids going to the next level.

Mike Nixon
Nashville, Tenn.

(Nixon is the director of golf operations for the Tennessee Golf Trail.)


Entrenched attitudes

“I just don’t know why they are so stubborn on changing it,” Leslie Spalding said (“Montana’s stymie of parents defies logic,” Feb. 8,

If Spalding has been in golf since 1987, it is hard to believe that she could be in any way surprised or uncertain as to organized golf’s unyielding resistance at every level to change, no matter how compelling the evidence for its implementation. 

Richard Ferris
Cocoa Beach, Fla.


Not so fast, Montana fans

Unfortunately for parents of golf school participants, I must agree with the Montana policy of banning spectators on the basis of legal liability.

Participants in golf events assume the risks inherent in the game and what they encounter naturally on the course. The same is not true of spectators and those not actively participating. Non-paying people wandering a golf course expose themselves to all sorts of dangers, and the golf course and tournament provider can become the subject of negligence claims. As such, it imposes undue responsibilities upon the course and tournament personnel in safely managing and operating the event, not just for the benefit of the golfers but for their parents as well. Written releases and waivers are not absolute, so golf courses and tournament providers are most prudent when they deny entry to anyone not actively participating in the event.

This is to be distinguished from events where entry fees are charged or where there are resources for sufficient insurance, in which case adequate cautions can be put in place, including marking the course, roping it off, employing security personnel and volunteers to ensure that safety precautions are in place and monitored as well as assuring that etiquette and proper behavior is maintained. There is also the consideration of course resources for parking, sanitation, food and beverage and rest areas, plus consideration of others, beside the tournament players, who may be using the facility. 

Ed Smilow
La Quinta, Calif.

(Smilow is an attorney whose business, Golf Course Law, represents golf course owners and operators.)


Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.

Related Stories