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Senior Golfer - On The Green

Rants and raves

The Putting Green

Let me begin by apologizing to those readers who believe this column should be about giving thanks, since it is November, but it's also the end of my golf season and time for me to get some things off my chest. Here are my latest rants and raves!

The rules of golf-There are rules and then there are "The Rules of Golf." To put it mildly, the rules of golf are overly complicated, difficult to understand and interpret, and need to be revised. I called for a revision in 1983, 1993, 2003 and 2013. Guess what? Nothing happened! They're still the same idiotic rules.

In 2014, I took it upon myself to pen an email to Mike Davis, president of the USGA, about revising the rules of golf, rescinding the rule that bans anchoring putters, and requesting that TV viewers never be allowed to call in about a rules violation. Unfortunately, Davis never replied. Unlike our elected officials who reply and then do nothing, Davis did not even have the courtesy of acknowledging my email. All this backs up my contention that the leaders of golf in the USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club are out of touch with their fellow golfers. They are either clueless, ignorant or a combination of both. They are not looking out for the best interests of the game.

Pace of play-I have been playing golf at Cog Hill for more than 40 years. During this time, the pace of play has increased despite efforts to the contrary. It now takes my foursome four hours and 15 minutes (on average) to play a Saturday morning round, when it took less than four hours only five years ago. Ten years ago, we averaged three hours and 50 minutes.

When I play in an event held by the Chicago District Golf Association, the pace of play ratchets up to nearly five hours on average because everybody is trying to do the right thing. Why look for a golf tee ball for five minutes, decide that it's lost, then drive back to the tee, hit again, and hold everybody up because of a lost ball? People a foot away from the cup mark their ball because they're afraid they might step in someone's line. Pick it up, add a stroke to your score, and walk away to the next tee!

Sandbaggers-The game of golf is based on integrity and honesty, yet we all know golfers who are sandbaggers. I've had the unfortunate experience to play with some of them in various events. They claimed they were 10 handicappers, but they hit the ball 50 yards past me, putted better than me, and won the event. They were more like three handicappers than 10.

I also had the misfortune of competing against a seven-handicap golfer who shot a 73, with a double bogey on the last hole. He and his partner were playing in the fourth flight, won for the lowest gross score and lowest net. These people exist, but they should be barred from the game.

My rants could go on a lot longer because they don't involve anything about my personal deficiencies on the golf course, which are too numerous to mention. And I do have two specific raves.

Recovery from the harsh winter-I want to express my gratitude and admiration to the golf course superintendents who worked so tirelessly on rejuvenating their golf courses from this past harsh winter. I have to admit that course conditions this spring were terrible. I thought that the greens on many of the courses I played would never return to their previous good condition. I am happy to report that the greens have returned to normal, the fairways were a lush green all summer, and that there are still plenty of trees despite the ash borer destroying so many of them.

Senior discounts-Golf is an expensive sport, but golf courses operators are trying to make it more affordable for senior golfers. The number of courses that offer weekday and weekend discounts to senior golfers has increased significantly over the past few years, and I can only hope that this trend continues into the future.

If there were any specific things that either annoy you or are worth a positive star, please let me know. And, as always, continue to play more golf.

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