Untuck the pins and watch pace of play hasten
Jim Kavanagh's letter about golf not needing to be made so difficult struck yet another chord with me, especially with regard to pace of play (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Dec. 13).
My retired friends and I typically play on Friday mornings during the April-November golf season here in Michigan. We often are amazed (unpleasantly) at pin positions during the height of the summer. When did it become routine at municipal courses to set a flag on a slope? Or a mere 3 feet from the steep edge of a greenside bunker? Perhaps it's just the young people who've been hired for the summer and haven't been given thorough instructions by the greenskeeper, but really?
Hitting a green in regulation remains a challenge for many of us. I've never played with anyone who complained about center-green pin locations, with minimal break. And in the spirit of transparency, I'll be the first to concede that I'm less than consistent at putting on-line anyway.
So, groundskeepers and course superintendents, I beseech you: When moving the hole locations each morning, please consider the skill level (or lack thereof) of your faithful amateurs. We will reward you with faster play.
Golfers enjoy an edge on top-conditioned courses
I agree with reader Dave Richner. Make golf easier and grow the game (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Dec. 18).
I especially got a kick out of the divot thought: A divot is not ground under repair, yet it is supposed to be repaired.
However, let's substitute “more fun” for “easier.” From local to national-level events and amateur to pro, go "by the book" as established by the event/facility, but allow the everyday golfer to have fun and truly comparable handicaps (would the “A” player's handicap be the same at the manicured course and non-manicured course?).
In theory, golfers are expected to play under the same conditions, except that we know it doesn't happen, beginning with comparing the manicured courses on down the conditioning chain.
Or picture yourself tied with your opponent on the final hole, with a lot riding on it. You both drive it into the fairway inches apart, but as you approach the two balls, you can see one ball is on fairway grass and one is in a big divot – you can't tell the balls apart from afar – but be honest: What would you be thinking? Rub of the green? I don't think so.
Move the ball in the fairway (and place it in bunkers, if in a footprint or bad rake job), and all those playing the same course would be playing under the same conditions, with no arguments. Remember: The tables could be turned on the next shot. No moving it in the rough, where the player has failed the test of hitting the fairway and shouldn't get to move it while the other player passed the test.
Winter rules, leaf rule, whatever, but it does level the playing conditions and make the game more fun.
Round Rock, Texas
Moving PGA on calendar won’t make major difference
The PGA of America moved its PGA Championship from August to May so it would be more relevant. To me, it is just another tournament in which the field averages 15-20 under par and is not a major championship (“Like blind tee shot, uncertainty lies ahead,” Dec. 18).
The Masters at Augusta National; the British Open at great old courses, often under terrible conditions; the U.S. Open and its very tough course conditions: Those majors offer unique, long-established standards.
Moving the PGA Championship to May won’t make it more relevant. Making it the exception instead of the norm is what needs to be done.
Forest Ranch, Calif.
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