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