Is it time to move the UK golf season?April 18, 2018 The Scoop
It may be British Summer Time, but it's certainly felt like winter up until mid-April. Is it time to start the golf season a bit later in the UK? The Niggle team discuss
Steve Carroll: As someone who had just shot 90 and 95 on a course that was 1,000 yards longer than the week before – but just as wet and cold – I’d be up for moving the season. The weather in April is too cold and too variable.
James Savage: It’s too tough an ask for greenkeepers to get courses ready for early April when we get heavy snow at the end of March. I think we’re nearly two months behind where we all want to be.
Alex Perry: I know I am. I’ve been dying to get out and play as much as possible. I feel every year I get to a point where my game is somewhere around where I want it to be then BAM! It’s winter. I can deal with it being cold, but I genuinely can’t remember the last time it didn’t rain. And none of the courses around where I live can deal with it…
James Savage: Balls plugging on fairways, playing off mats, and sandy, bobbly greens – it makes it hard to shoot anything near a decent score. Golf courses are simply not competition ready yet but no doubt qualifiers are up and running at most clubs. We’re basically still on winter rules so I don’t think handicaps should be affected yet. It must be hard as clubs and golfers are keen to get up and running but it feels a bit counter-productive to me.
Alex Perry: When would you move the season to?
Steve Carroll: Make it May until the end of October.
Alex Perry: October is always drier than April. I’m very up for this.
Steve Carroll: October feels like an extension of summer these days.
James Savage: I blame global warming.
Alex Perry: We could just all move to California?
James Savage: What a great idea. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to putt on a decent green.
Alex Perry: I played a couple of weeks ago and on two separate occasions I lost a ball with which I’d found the middle of the fairway. (Yes, it does happen sometimes.) It had just plugged. No one wants to play like that, it’s ridiculous. How would you even go about getting something like this done? You can’t just move an entire season overnight…
Steve Carroll: Surely it would just need clubs to move their calendars. There are some, for example, that actually start in March. Does anyone actually know why the season in the main starts in April? I’ve heard it’s because that’s when membership renewals were done or that it was the end of a tax year! If there’s nothing but ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ behind it then why couldn’t you shift it?
Alex Perry: You could literally apply that logic to anything about golf…
James Savage: In the winter the tees need to be forward. If the course is wet, the tees need to be forward. I hit it high and don’t get much roll on a good day but rely on getting it rolling and they shouldn’t be punished. Handicaps take care of things from there onwards.
Alex Perry: I shudder when we’re walking to 1st tee and my playing partner gets all macho and decides we’re playing off the back tees. As if the game isn’t hard enough as it is.
James Savage: Golf is more fun off forward tees. Imagine how daunting it must be for players that can’t hit it 200 yards off the tees.
Alex Perry: Steve, would you have shot 90-95 at the weekend if you were off forward tees?
Steve Carroll: The answer is a categorical no. If you accept winter tees as ‘forward’ then I hadn’t shot anywhere near 90 for about three months. I must confess I don’t really enjoy white tee medals, they’re a bit of a slog. I’d much prefer to play a yellow tee, or whatever colour, with a reduced CSS.
What do YOU think? Should we move the golf season in the UK? And is the tee system in need of a desperate overhaul? Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.