You say slow play is a pox on golf? Bollocks!
Tim McDonald has continued to bang the drum about the pace-of-play issue in his golf blog, first defending Rory Sabbatini for playing out of turn at the 2005 Booz Allen Classic (pissed as Sabbatini was at Ben "The Snail" Crane's glacial pace) and more recently writing about a Scot named W. Eric Laing, who wrote: "Slow play has become a universal curse in American golf and is talked about on every course in the country."
The Laing quote reminded me of a round I played at Nairn Dunbar Golf Club in the Scottish Highlands this past fall. A guy in our foursome started talking about pace-of-play problems. The more he talked, the faster we played. He was making a passionate argument that there's no problem with slow play. "How can you say that?" I asked. "You read about the 'plague' of slow play all the time, how it's killing the game!
"Bollocks!" he said, walking on to his next shot. "That's not my problem, is it, lad!? Course owners are crying about it but I don't see it. I pay a lot of money to come out and play and I don't want to be hurried along. Look at this course, look at this day - you won't see me hurrying to leave and get back to my wife or the office!"
It occurred to me that, on one level, the guy was right. I hate slow play but POP has become one of those golf industry rallying cries that's really not the problem of the average hacker (unless, of course, you get stuck behind a foursome of Crane clones - but how often does that happen, really?).
Faster play means more rounds and more profit for course owners. Well, bully for them. But why should we hackers care?
Same goes with growth-of-the-game programs. Bringing more people to the game is admirable. But why should recreational golfers with no stake in the golf industry really care if kids in downtown Detroit learn golf? Equipment makers care (someone has to keep buying their stuff). Club pros care (someone has to keep taking lessons). Owners care (new blood = round$). The pro tours and broadcasters care (someone has to watch).
But maybe my new pal in Scotland was right: A lot of the "problems with the game" just aren't our concern. Golf is great to play and a lot of fun to watch, period. So what's the problem?
Oh, and back to pace of play - on foot, our foursome at Nairn Dunbar finished in well under four hours.
After a lackluster 2004, an Italian magazine asked Sophie Sandolo to pose for a calendar. She'd dabbled in modeling, so the shoot was natural. And while racier than your average golf pics, that too was a natural. "In Europe, when you go to the beach topless, it's not a big deal," she says. Don't let the pretty face make you forget her game. She finished 15th on the 2005 Order of Merit and is looking to a hot 2006, new calendar and all.
In her debut column, Jennifer Mario chats with author John Feinstein about the agony of Q-school (which is the subject of his next book), Tiger ("... a waste of talent in the sense that his role model should not be Michael Jordan, it should be Arthur Ashe."), Michelle Wie ("I always worry about young athletes who are pushed that hard by their parents that early ...") and more.
Innovex Golf is quickly carving out a niche as a company developing interesting clubs for even more interesting prices. By not paying big names to play their products, Innovex is keeping the prices low, yet the quality is up to par. With the cup-face design (CfD) driver, Innovex has a product that may not equal some of the big-name drivers on the market, but for the price it will have many golfers feeling pleased.