YOUR SAY LETTER OF THE MONTH
TRIM THE ROUGH There seems to be a growing concern that quick putting surfaces are a major contributor to slow play. Recently, Tour player Matthew Guyatt wrote about this connection on your website.
I totally agree that a green running at 11 or 12 feet on the stimpmeter is going to cause players to take a little bit longer to read their putt and then pluck up the courage to hit the putt. The more the player lacks in ability, the longer they are bound to take. Ever wondered why club championships and monthly medals always take up to 30 minutes longer than you experience in a regular Saturday comp?
But, I believe, the length of rough on a course plays an even bigger role in slowing down rounds, especially at club level. I played a round as a member’s guest at a Sydney club recently, which was due to host a pennants match the following day so, I was assured, the course was going to be in terrific condition.
The course was indeed in great shape. Smooth greens and wonderful kikuyu fairways to hit off. But a missed fairway generally led to me and my three playing partners spreading out to try and locate a ball sitting down in the lush rough. Of the 14 non-par-3 holes, we looked for a ball on at least nine of them.
With each ball found, a short iron was required to gouge the ball back to the fairway. But, more annoyingly, we completed the round in just under five hours. I have played this course previously in under four hours.
I won’t name the course here because I know this long rough is not the norm but it is a set-up I have seen at other courses on a regular basis.
At a time when we’re trying to attract people to the game, I can’t think of a worse advertisement for the game than long rough where you lose your balls, break your wrists and spend a good part of five hours looking for someone else’s mis-hit shots.
The Tour could follow suit too. I firmly believe it is more attractive to spectators to watch players trying to bend shots out of the trees than punching wedges out of thick rough. George Tyler via e-mail