From The Inbox

From the Morning Read inbox

Straight talk, from one senior to others
Reading the letter on making pin placements easier and improving pace of play makes me wonder whether some of my senior brethren have given enough thought to that complaint (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Dec. 19).

First, spending some time on the practice green, maybe with an instructor or, even better, a putter that you trust, would improve your chances of better scores. Perhaps not so much as making more putts but rather getting the ball closer on the first putt, which would offer more opportunities at two-putting. I rarely see seniors practice more than simply hitting a couple of putts “to get the speed of the greens,” as it were.

Second, most seniors – at our course, anyway – use power-driven carts, which certainly improve speed of play. However, what I see most often is one guy sitting in the cart while the other goes about hitting his shot, and the sitter’s ball little more than 15-20 yards away. Walking a little more would help you get in a little better shape, likely improve your ball-striking as a result and certainly reduce the amount of time it takes two guys to hit their shots. It seems, however, that none of this has crossed many of their minds.

Third, many seniors don’t fix ball marks nor rake bunkers, so moving pin placements helps save wear and tear on the greens, particularly in hot conditions. What happens in many cases is a ball is knocked in low, resulting in more roll and placing the ball mark several yards from the ball's resting place (don't tell me you forgot where it hit), and the ball mark rarely gets repaired. If it is, it’s often done poorly or too hastily. Bending over a few times a round also is good for you. Reducing wear throughout a green is good for it, right?

We could use a little more straight talk about our responsibilities to the golf course, the maintenance crews (so many golfers complain about course conditioning, hole placement, etc.), the guys in the shop that have to listen to numerous gripes and, finally, the other golfers on the course today, tomorrow and beyond. I fixed exactly 50 ball marks in nine holes (some of them my own) one day this fall. Who was it that didn't fix their ball marks? Well, most of the weekday players are retirees. I know. I’m there. A lot.

I've had both knees replaced and major back surgery, and I find that the more I do during a round, the more my body responds positively. So, why don't y'all get off your behinds and do something other than complain, and maybe practice a little, arriving to play more than 5-10 minutes before your tee time? You'll likely find that your attitude around the golf course improves, too, if you put one or more of these suggestions into your routine.

Jim Higginbottom
Fenton, Mo.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T … for the game and its players
A public course that I play occasionally with some old retirees has instituted a couple of local rules based on the condition of the course and the inability of players to have a little respect for others. So, because of open divots, we lift, clean and drop from divots. They believe that at our age, injuring a wrist or hand doesn’t heal as fast as the divot and takes days away from playing.

Also, because of the lack of sand in the bunkers and players not raking after they play, they lift, rake and place the ball.

They are only a small group of maybe 8-10, and regardless of what the GHIN requires, they all know everybody’s real handicaps.

No one gets hurt, and they actually have fun and remember how good they were – or thought they were – over a beer.

Another suggestion is for the superintendents to actually read the suggestions on pin placements. A simple Google search would be valuable. When you have a 3-foot putt from above the hole that ends up 8 feet below the hole – or even off the green – this adds time to the round, which pleases no one.

I’m a firm believer that the golf course setup should be fair, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be hard or tough but fair.

Respect for the game is directly related to respect for one another.

Vince Zachetti
Greensburg, Pa.

Wanted: Big-game Tiger hunter
In the long run, is this type of Tiger hype good for the game? (“Golf turns red again in ‘Year of Tiger,’ Dec. 20).

Where’s the young dominant challenger fit to mow down Woods? I thought it would be Jordan Spieth. It could have been Rory McIlroy. Or Rickie Fowler. But it has to come in a manner similar to how Jack Nicklaus upstaged Arnold Palmer in the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Nicklaus went on to legendary success as Arnie’s Army waved the white flag, knowing that they had just witnessed their general being thrown from his horse.

The TV production of golf needs to do a better job of creating/covering the sequence of events as the final two days are played, and not just of Woods. To do so, we need a legitimate Tiger hunter. To date, there isn't one.

I have my tickets for Riviera and would love to see a mano a mano competition between Woods and a yet-to-be-named young Tiger hunter. We’ll see.

Daniel Cahill
Santa Ana, Calif.

Woods is neither ‘lord’ nor ‘savior’
Adam Schupak’s use of the phrase “lord and savior” referencing Eldrick Woods in any context is one of the most offensive, ignorant and sacrilegious statements I have read in media in decades (“Golf turns red again in ‘Year of Tiger,’ Dec. 20). Talk about pandering.

Not every golf enthusiast is rooting for Schupak’s hero to reclaim his throne. Golf did just fine without him.

David Parske
Fort Myers, Fla.

Hawkins delivers with Reed story
I savor and appreciate great writing, and John Hawkins’ piece on Patrick Reed is exactly that (“Bad-boy Reed gives golf an edge,” Dec. 19). Kudos.

Josh Asher
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Judge Reed on his playing ability
As a small part of Team Reed, I want to congratulate John Hawkins for his piece on Patrick Reed (“Bad-boy Reed gives golf an edge,” Dec. 19).

I wish that people would judge Reed more on his playing ability.

Jim Dickson
Comfort, Texas
(Dickson, the former director of golf at The Woodlands [Texas] Country Club, is retired.)

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