It appears that we have lost the sense of the “Real” game of golf and its traditions. Golf is supposed to be fun, yet challenging, a game that everyone can play but not take 5 to 6 hours to play 18 holes. What can we do to get back to the good old days when a round of golf was played in 3 to 4 hours?. Technology & T.V. have helped with the demise of the sport. Every club wants to have a “Championship” length course. Unless these courses are over 7.000m long they are not worth playing. 250m par-3 holes where you need to carry a lake, 600m par-5 holes, 18 bunkers on one hole and lakes galore. Green speed is out of control as some golfers want European tour speed greens daily to putt on. We now have golf clubs and balls that can hit over 300m. An accomplished golfer stops at every shot, gets out his range finder, throws some grass up in the air for wind direction and plays his shot. He may find the putting surface then spends even more time looking at the putting line from all angles before finally putting.
The majority of all golf club members have middle to high handicaps. They cannot play Championship set up courses. If you give them greens of 10ft 6” to putt on they end up 3 or 4 putting on every hole. They fall victims to the lakes, the bunkers, the high rough areas etc. Is it any wonder the golf industry is in crisis?
On a recent visit to Portugal I played golf with a past President of a famous club. I asked him why there were no junior players at the club we were playing and he informed me that junior golfers were not encouraged in Portuguese clubs. His own club had gone from a membership of 600 down to 300 the last 4 years. What future for golf in Portugal then?