Debate: Should clubs stay open during heavy rain in winter?January, 2014
With most of the UK battered by torrential rain over the past few weeks, many golf clubs have been left with the difficult decision of whether to remain open or not.
Obviously if the greens are submerged under two feet of water and the cart paths resemble the Barry Burn, then it leaves clubs with no option.
Staff writer James Savage editor Dan Murphy discuss the issue on what can be a fine line between keeping members happy and preserving the quality of the course for the rest of the year.
JS – For many club golfers, their membership subscriptions can be the main luxury they choose to spend their hard-earned money on, so naturally they want value. I also believe that no matter how bad the whether has been; if their course is open, they will go and play – even if they think the course should be closed. When a golf course is barely playable it doesn’t benefit anyone to remain open.
DM – There’s nothing more depressing than spending a week cooped up in the office with only the thought of your weekend game of golf to keep you going, only to wake up to the sound of rain on the window on a Saturday morning and have to make that dreaded call to the pro shop. Getting out for a few hours at this time of year is often more fun than in the middle of summer in perfect conditions.
JS – It is no doubt satisfying to get a decent round in during winter but it’s difficult to then complain about the condition of the course in March. Winter rules can go some way to protecting the fairways but other areas of the course may struggle to recover. Also, getting into the habit of teeing it up and using a driver from the fairway for your second shot is not going to help you when it comes to the first medal of the season.
Winter golf is more about getting out and having a swing and a bit of exercise and just being outside. I don’t really see it as being about fine-tuning my game. DM – Correct. I always take the view that whatever needs to be done to get the course in the best possible shape for the season ahead should be done. Frustrating as that may be. I think that winter golf is more about getting out and having a swing and a bit of exercise and just being outside. I don’t really see it as being about fine-tuning my game.
JS – Good point. To get your game in shape over the winter, the range is the place to be. Some courses have better drainage than others and can generally cope better during bad weather. If your home club is one that seems to suffer during the winter why not find a municipal course nearby which doesn’t get too boggy and stump up the cost for a one-off round?
DM – I think when you have stumped up your annual subs – and especially if the receipt of the invoice is fresh in your memory – then you want to be able to use the facilities. It’s incredibly frustrating to be told you are not allowed on the course. My view is that whenever possible at least some of the course should be open. Frankly, if conditions are that bad then there will be so few people wanting to play that it will make little difference. Now if that includes mats and temporary greens then so be it. I personally hate having to carry a mat round with me to hit iron shots – I’d much rather throw my ball into the semi rough and hit from there, which seems like a decent compromise.
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