SLOW ROUNDS HURTING GOLF IN UK
Having read your April editorial on the “futurists,” I doubt that the R&A and USGA are addressing your demographic nor any golfers who choose to pay the relatively expensive costs for the private members clubs that are represented by Muirfield and Wentworth in the UK. I’m currently enjoying a break in the Strand, and I can appreciate that waiting for the group in front here is not unpleasant, even in 360C. However, where I live, in Liverpool, unless one can afford the fees for clubs such as Royal Liverpool, Royal Birkdale, Wallasey, etc, and unless one knows a member well enough to be sponsored for membership, one is compelled to play at clubs where there is a serious decline in members.
I am a member at a municipal club (Kirby Valley) but only to maintain my CONGU handicap and play in competitions, but that is the demographic where the R&A and USGA believe changes are needed. The more affordable clubs are losing members because of the regular six-hour rounds encountered, even during medals. It’s one thing to stand around in pleasant weather, but quite another matter in cold and rain, watching the group ahead take 10 minutes to line up a putt, or search 10 minutes for a ball worth pennies.
The game in the UK also suffers from class-ridden elitism whereby talented youngsters can neither afford membership, nor are welcomed by clubs who don’t want their elderly members disturbed by 11-year-olds with a 6-handicap. I know a youngster with unbelievable talent who cannot get a low cost membership.
I could personally afford a membership at a decent club, but with my regular golf buddies we choose to play around the many fantastic courses in the area, despite the long delays.We personally welcome the proposed changes, although we’re not interested in six-hole rounds.We are keen to get back to a fourball round of under four hours. Brian Lavery, Liverpool, England