THE MODERN DAY ABUSE OF ETIQUETTE IN GOLF
Slow play, discussed so often in your magazine, is an interesting phenomenon, because there are so many facets to it.There are no simple solutions to speeding up play, even though it would largely disappear if every golfer obeyed this maxim: Be ready to play as soon as it is your turn to play.
Golf started out in Scotland as a game that was played quickly.There are reports of 18-hole matches being played in not more than two hours.That could have had something to do with the inclement weather, and also the fact that people didn’t have time to waste while playing golf.There was no such thing as “leisure time.”
However, as golf spread around the world, different cultures embraced it, and played the game at their own pace, particularly in warmer climes.
The game became slower and slower with the increasing rise of inconsiderate people, who see the world, and golf courses, as their exclusive playground.
Golf is a game which has always relied on Etiquette to keep everyone happy on the course, but there are no penalties if you abuse it, other than nasty looks.
The modern day abuse of Etiquette is one of the biggest changes the modern game has seen. Golfers today largely pay lip service to Etiquette.
They don’t pay respect to the golf course, their fellow players, or the Rules.
We see that in the brown pitch marks defacing greens, unrepaired divots on fairways, unraked bunkers, and liberties taken with the Rules.
The R&A and the professional tours should have introduced severe penalties for slow play a long time ago, before tour pros became multi-millionaires and celebrities. If the pros were required to play at something other than a snail’s pace, club golfers would do the same. Golf would be a better game if there was a clock counting down on each hole.The failure of the governing bodies to take any action is one of the unfortunate things that has hurt golf, and has resulted in the situation today where golf is considering shorter formats so that it won’t take as long.
In years to come, golf might become a 6-hole game played in two hours, whereas the game’s forefathers would have played 18 holes in the same time.