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Quiet, please! Golfers at play

Music has no place on a golf course (“Trend could be music to golfers’ ears,” May 2).

It is distracting to all within earshot. Golf is a place of contemplation, where people should not even be talking while you are playing, either in your own group or those nearby. The cry of "fore" is used to shut people up.

Since when did golf cease to be a game of respect for others? I, for one, don't want to listen to someone else's noise. It’s obnoxious and inconsiderate.

As far as I'm concerned, if you want to socialize and listen to music, go in the bar. The golf course is for playing golf in peaceful tranquility, getting away from manufactured sounds blasting through a radio or iPod.  

Edward Smilow
La Quinta, Calif.


Proponent of growth

Who is really growing the game?

Growing the game requires attracting players who would not otherwise take up golf – a kid from a non-golfing family or adult who has not played before.

The Masters’ Drive, Chip and Putt Championship? I've watched the finals, and I don't think any of those kids just took up the game or came from a non-golfing family. Maybe some at the local level, but I sincerely doubt it.

The First Tee? Things are getting better. The provision of instruction is great, but again most participants probably are from a golf family. More importantly, The First Tee does not provide consistent, low-cost access to play.

Which brings us to Kids on Course. This has real potential. Where I live, you can sign your kid up for rec-center athletics for $100-$200. This will provide practice, coaching and games for the entire season. Yes, equipment and uniform may be extra, but this is a real bargain. A combination of First Tee and Kids on Course at this price level (I know these are free programs, but read on), properly advertised beyond the golf community, might be attractive to non-golfing parents. Equipment can be a problem, but First Tee programs usually can provide donated clubs.

The USGA, PGA Tour, LPGA and PGA of America? Well, they're all First Tee founding members, and that's great, but maybe a few of the millions they take in could be used for playing privileges for kids at local municipal courses. I'm especially talking to you, PGA Tour. You're always talking about all the charity money that is actually raised by outside agencies at your tournaments.

What if a non-golfing mom or dad could drop off his or her kid at the course, and the child could receive some instruction, hit balls in any open bay, chip and putt and tee off in any open tee time. And all for $100-$200 for the summer? That just might bring in some kids who otherwise would not be exposed to golf.

The Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, Minn., is scheduled to open this month and seems to have a policy that provides some of these features. As for new adults, providing some low-cost introduction, again properly promoted, would be great. Many ski areas use this approach for children and adults. 

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.


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