Dear golf course owners: Golf is hard enough as it is

The Scoop

Alex Perry was very impressed with his local club's plan to make golf appeal more to the masses. He explains all in Dialled In

Hello. Welcome to another edition of Dialled In. A few days ago I popped over to Robin Hood Golf Club near my home in Owston, South Yorkshire. I’d only gone there to meet a friend for a few holes and a couple of pints of the county’s finest ale, but I ended up sitting down for an hour with the owner and head professional.

I was fascinated by their plans for the club’s Loxley course – see what they did there? – which involves shaving several hundred yards off the course’s length, as well as removing few trees and cutting back all rough so it is essentially no more than your average first cut.

They told me that the members said the former EuroPro Tour host course was too long for them and golf was becoming too difficult there, so they made the rather dramatic decision to shorten the entire track. This is, after all, a course attached to the sublime Owston Hall, a popular venue for all kinds of getaways, including for a spot of our beloved game.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think it’s about bloody time! That’s why.

Robin Hood Golf Club at Owston Hall

Only last week I was reading how a golf course in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is planning to install 18 new tees to make the course more than 8,000 (!) yards long.

Eight. Thousand. Yards.

According to Golf.com:

  • The par 3 holes will measure in at 283, 199, 248 and 266 yards (Total: 996 yards; Average: 249 yards)
  • The opening hole is a 645-yard par-5 and the other par 5 yardages are 573, 683 and 603 yards (Total: 2,504 yards; Average 626 yards)
  • Seven of the par 4 holes will measure more than 460 yards, the longest of which will be the 506-yard 2nd hole, which is one of two par-4s exceeding 500 yards

Excuse my language, but gee whizz!

The course’s owner, Rick Elliott, told a Myrtle Beach Online: “Now all I need is Dustin Johnson to step on the 1st tee of the [new] tee boxes and see what he can do with it.”

Really going after the majority there, champ.

Note to Rick: Even Dustin Johnson doesn’t want to be playing 8,000 yard golf courses.

Note to every golf course owner: GOLF IS HARD ENOUGH AS IT IS.

So I applaud those at Robin Hood Golf Club that made this decision. I’ll be going back in the very near future to find out how they are getting on, so keep an eye out for the full report.

I was going to go into a little rant about why tee boxes should be determined by handicaps rather than gender and age, but it’s currently 11.23pm and I’d really like to go to bed so I’ll save that for another day.

If you agree or, indeed, disagree with me that golf courses should be shorter and the rough should be cut back, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or you can tweet me – @AlexPerryNCG – or text me. (If you don’t have my number it obviously wasn’t meant to be.)

Anyway, here are some things from social media I enjoyed this week…

Euro sceptic

Hands up: Who loves the Eurovision Song Contest? A lot of you too ashamed to admit it, I see.

Well, if you’re enough of a fan to go and watch the world’s biggest karaoke competition live in Lisbon in a couple of weeks, then don’t think you’ll be able to sneak in any time to work on your short game – golf balls are on the lengthy list of items banned from entering the arena.

Why? Answers on a postcard. Here’s the whole list:

Eurovision Song Contest banned list

Other notable exclusions include selfie sticks, shopping trolleys, umbrellas, and megaphones. As funny as they would all be.

Happy slap

What did you think of the walk-on music at the golf this weekend? I chatted about it enough in the latest episode of The Slam, while my colleague Keel Timmins also had his say on the matter in Alternate Shot.

I’ll say this: It was, as I understand the kids say, “well cringe”. Honestly, every time they announced someone on the tee, I was watching through my fingers.

Eddie Pepperell summed it up rather nicely…

But, one thing that caught my attention during Thursday’s opening round was Bubba Watson making birdie and then getting one full in the face from partner Matt Kuchar.

Fair play. Not many would turn down the opportunity to go open handed on Bubba

Mo’ babies, mo’ problems

Congratulations to former world No. 1 Stacy Lewis who is expecting her first child with husband Gerrod Chadwell.

The early November due date means Lewis will play through until around June, then will be back in 2019 to really begin her assault on making next year’s Solheim Cup team.

And the two-time major champion received a lovely surprise from sponsor KPMG. I’ll let her pick up the story…

“They called me and said they wanted to pay me for the whole contract, regardless of the number of tournaments I played in,” Lewis told Golfweek. “They see me as a member of their team and their family and they wanted to treat me like any other female in their organisation that has a baby. Which I was pretty blown away by, shocked to get that phone call really.”

She added: “In our sport you don’t get paid unless you play. Take away tournaments, you take away income from both sides. That money is not guaranteed unless you play. For a lot of people who are thinking about starting a family, that’s a deal-breaker.”

Nope

This tweet has been doing the rounds for the last week or so…

Genuinely my idea of hell.

And just because it was the funniest tweet of the year so far

More from Pepperell when asked when he was next heading to North America to ply his trade…

That’s enough from me. Have a good week.

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