Mo­tor­ing on

Inside Golf - - In the Mail Box -

I RE­FER to the in­creas­ing use of mo­torised bug­gies dur­ing important club com­pe­ti­tions.

Sev­eral years ago, my club re­laxed the rule pre­vent­ing use of mo­torised bug­gies dur­ing Monthly Medal, Hon­our Board and other important com­pe­ti­tions. The Board’s advice to mem­bers was that they faced a risk of com­peti­tors su­ing the club should they be af­fected by a med­i­cal con­di­tion while walk­ing the course. This was no doubt a re­sult of le­gal advice aris­ing from the fa­mous case of an Amer­i­can Pro with leg prob­lems who was granted free­dom to use a buggy.

The re­sult is that now we see a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the use of bug­gies in medal com­pe­ti­tions, with a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of young and able low hand­i­cap­pers us­ing them. This is par­tic­u­larly no­tice­able in events run­ning over 36 or 72 holes. These play­ers are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the bug­gies to en­sure that they will be fresh when it counts– in the fi­nal holes.

Of course they will jus­tify their use of mo­torised bug­gies by re­fer­ring to the club rules al­low­ing their use. But what they ig­nore (or refuse to ad­mit) is that they are not play­ing the game as it was in­tended, and that their de­ci­sion to ride gives them an un­fair ad­van­tage over the rest of the field. On some cour­ses (in­clud­ing mine) the in­creased buggy use has re­sulted in dam­age to fair­ways and other ar­eas of the course.

What I can’t un­der­stand is the whole­sale sub­mis­sion of clubs to this mode of think­ing. Surely an age limit or med­i­cal cer­tifi­cate would pro­vide rea­son­able jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for rid­ing? Or per­haps I am miss­ing the real rea­son, which might be re­lated to the ex­tra dol­lars earned from the in­creas­ing use of bug­gies. Peter Rogers-Clark

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