Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Above) -

t a time when this great game is un­der pres­sure, it is un­for­tu­nate we are not do­ing our­selves any favours to pro­tect it. Like so many oth­ers, in 2016 I am ex­chang­ing my golf clubs for a moun­tain bike. Here’s why:

1. The elit­ist aura of golf: Noth­ing is more un­com­fort­able than walk­ing into the golf shop on a Satur­day morn­ing. As if the testos­terone-loaded group of lo­cal hack­ers out­side is not bad enough, you are wel­comed by an un­friendly shop as­sis­tant with a look on the face of “you are not good enough to play here.”

2. My for­mer club Waterk­loof in Pre­to­ria has a “rolling block book­ing” sys­tem. Es­sen­tially what this means is that there are large groups of peo­ple who have the same book­ing slots ev­ery week­end. When phon­ing rst thing on a Mon­day morn­ing when book­ings open, we are told that Satur­day’s morn­ing eld is al­ready full. We were a group of mates who joined the club, and were dis­ap­pointed when we found this out. Find­ing a tee time be­came a mis­sion, and this added to the frus­tra­tion.

3. Slow play & hand­i­caps: It is sad that your mag­a­zine has been lled with these

Atopics in the last cou­ple of months. It is even worse though that these top­ics heav­ily fea­tured ve and 10 years ago. De­spite all the e orts, we are un­for­tu­nately not any closer to nd­ing an an­swer for this.

4. Cy­cling is the new cor­po­rate sport: Whereas the gen­eral Mon­day morn­ing topic around the co ee machine used to be Satur­day’s shank, it is now Sun­day morn­ing’s ride. Cy­cling is health­ier, cheaper and quicker than golf, where law­mak­ers are too slow in keep­ing up with modern day re­quire­ments.

I still love the game, and will con­tinue to wait up on a Sun­day night to sup­port Louis and Charl and Grace, but I can­not con­tinue the 5½-hour frus­tra­tion of ev­ery week­end.

On a more pos­i­tive note, in De­cem­ber I was on hol­i­day in St Fran­cis, and I re­ally wanted to play the Links course. How­ever, I didn’t have any part­ners, and I gured it would prob­a­bly be im­pos­si­ble to play 9 holes (even on a week­day af­ter­noon) on a course of this stature. I took a chance and phoned the club – and the re­sponse was amaz­ing!

I was en­cour­aged to come through, and was met by the warm­est wel­come in their pro shop. Since then I’ve read on a few

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