Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Gallery -

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

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