With only a couple days left until NYE, we’ve once again reached that time of year when all the opportunistic content vultures such as myself pounce on the wounded deer that is the “Year in Review” piece. I haven’t decided if I’m going to full unoriginal and offer up some cheesetastic “New Year New Me,” self help BS. I want to rant about all the shit you and I (but mostly you) need to stop doing before you destroy society, but I don’t know if acknowledging the audacity of a piece so hypocritical permits me to still write it. At the very least I am going to indulge in just a little shameless pandering and list some things I want Golf to leave in 2017.
Price Wars: It’s no secret golf has struggled. I think this has been the first year I can remember reading a golf publication that didn’t devote at least one article to the decline of the game. I don’t want to get into the library of incorrect diagnoses for the downturn that’ve been provided by any and every GM with more than a year of experience at a 36 hole property. Instead I want to focus on the ineffective and damaging attempts to right the ship. Specifically, price wars.
I get that it’s easy to think your apples are too expensive when people stop visiting your apple cart. This is an even more plausible reason when you’ve been promoting your apples as being of a rather high brow variety. But if you decide that on Tuesdays, or every day after lunch, you’re going to charge $1 for your apples, how do you expect to be able to charge $5 for them every other time? Do you really think people are going to bite a $1 apple and go “Damn that’s so good I’m going to come back when they’re $5!”
It doesn’t happen. All you do is create a demographic of patrons that dig for your apples during the $1 time like they’re Warden Walker’s Grandpa in Holes. Let’s stop devaluing our product and screwing up our profit margins in the hope the lower rate attracts enough rounds to make up the difference.
Viral Golf Jackass Videos: We all know participation is down. Again, I’ll save the reason why for another piece. What I won’t save for another day are the asinine antics publications are pandering to to try to get clicks and golfers.
I think the first time I noticed this parade of idiocy was this picture.
I’ll admit I was way more furious than I should have been when I saw this pic. I don’t know if it was because I hate snow golf, because I imagined being the driver of a car hit by that golf ball, or because I NEED to know if he got that club back on plane or hinged his wrists. Worse than my unfounded animosity is it took me like eight months before I stopped blindly hating the Fore Play hosts and realized they’re not only good Pod hosts, but good golf ambassadors.
Despite the relative innocence of that pic the trend of viral jackassery only got worse. From Vines of mowing down your cart partner to guys being so drunk they can’t hit a shot, 2017 has been an Oscar worthy documentary on just how stupid people can get on a golf course. In the words of Grandex contributor Brian McGannon “let’s have a little more respect for the great game.”
Tee Shot Screeching: If I could go back in time I’d find Mashed Potato Tee Shot Patient Zero and drop kick him so hard in his little button sack he turned mute. I hate that shit. It was cool ONE TIME. It honestly wasn’t even that cool, it was just mildly amusing, kind of like an unfunny inappropriate office joke. Now it’s so bad you can’t watch one G D tee shot without some try hard Bud Light swilling cargo short asshat bellowing Baba Booey or Mashed Potato.
I’d say I’d like to roundhouse the dude that started this when I get to heaven, but I know he’s rotting in his own pit in hell for sullying the game. Know this, if I catch anybody doing this crap in 2018 I will happily get kicked out of a tournament for trying to whup your ass. Stop it.
Pace of Play: About three years ago I spent a year as the Head Professional of a course. I was still in school full time and had no business being in charge but it was at the very least a great learning experience and a cool resume add on. During my time at the helm one of the things I did was mandate a freeway style of pace of play. It was simple, if someone is playing faster than you, you let them through. Unsurprisingly, every member we had over the age of 50 reacted as if I’d just told them they had to start playing the ball down and turn in every score they carded.
I’ll never understand this. Even at my current course I’ll have groups come in after a round and complain “y’all need to stop letting twosomes book out here we’re sick of having to let a twosome play through.” So you’re telling me you’d rather spend your round pissing yourself and every group behind you off because you can’t be bothered to wait two minutes to let them go through? You’d rather just be miserable your whole day?
Let’s all make a resolution in 2018 to do one thing during our round to speed up play. Whether it’s not posing on every shot, particularly the ones blown OB, or reading a 30 footer for double from both sides, or, a personal favorite of mine, making sure Ready Golf governs the round, there’s something all of us can do to be a little more aware of how long we’re taking out there.
Despite my Iliad length of a rant, I believe 2018 is going to be a great year for golf. This past season proved the PGA field is as young and healthy as ever. What’s going to determine how the sport fares in the upcoming calendar is in our hands. We, the amateurs, the everyday stewards of the game, must do what we can to ensure golf’s continued growth and passion.