Golf Australia - - AROUND THE TRAPS -

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

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