THE MOD­ERN DAY ABUSE OF ETIQUETTE IN GOLF

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Gallery -

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.

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