4 (Fore?) Things Golf Courses Need to Stop Doing [OPINION]
Before you get too deep into this and possibly end up hating me by the time you're done reading, I feel you should know that I love playing golf and I have no plans to stop playing anytime soon. However, like everything, it's not perfect. There are a few things many courses do that take a little bit of pleasure out of a day on the course for me that I wish they didn't.
To be honest, I think I might have an addiction to the game. I'd play every day if I could. Which is easy for me to say now because I can't. I assume you feel the same way. There are days when I'm hitting the ball well more times than not, and I want to play again the next day or even the same day because it just felt good to watch my shot go straight where I aimed it, or a long putt hit the bottom of the cup. Of course, there are days when neither of those things happen and I wonder why I keep wasting my time playing this game that was clearly created by the Devil himself. But even after those rounds, I want to jump right back in because I know I can play better. It's a vicious cycle.
Sometimes that range of emotions happens multiple times within the same round (OK, most of the time).
With all that said, a terrible day on the course beats a great day at the office anytime, am I right? Although, as great as it is to be on the course, I think it could be even better if courses stopped doing these
fore four things. In my opinion, anyway.
Stop Charging for Range Balls
I'm already dropping $35 to $50 at your place or more to play 18 holes. Is it really going to hurt the bottom line if you give me a bucket of balls for free to warm up with on the range before my round? Chances are, I'm also going to be buying food and drinks over the course of the day while I'm playing, so you're going to get money out of me. Plus, you're making a killing with the range balls. I mean you're charging $4 to $10 bucks for a bucket of balls someone is going to pick up and put right back in that bucket for someone else to hit. Now, if someone stops by the course just to use the range, then by all means, charge them. But if I'm already paying to play a round, include a small bucket as part of the price.
Stop Requiring a Certain Dress Code
I think golf has a problem with not being very welcoming of new players. One of those reasons is that it's expensive to play and two, whether it's written down somewhere or not, the expectation is that you wear a collared shirt and a pair of pants that aren't jeans or sweatpants. My job allows me to wear T-shirts and jeans or shorts to work every day. If I manage to get out of work a little early one day, it would be nice if I could just go straight to the course from the office instead of running home first to change clothes. Is it really going to make the course look trashy if someone is out there playing in T-shirt and athletic shorts? I don't think so.
Stop Charging Everyone a Cart Fee
Call me lazy if you will, but I prefer riding over walking. Even if I'm only playing 9. I understand it costs money to maintain the course and the carts, and that the carts add extra wear and tear to the course, so I actually don't have an issue with the cart fee itself. My issue is that if two people share a cart, they both pay the same cart fee. What's even worse is when they charge someone who's not even playing a cart fee. For example, my wife doesn't play, but she enjoys being outside on a nice day, so she'll tag along and have a few drinks while I knock the ball around.
Can you not split the cost between the two? Or, would it really kill you if you only charge the person playing? If each person were each driving their own cart, then yes, charge full price. But, it seems to me that two people using one cart cuts down on the number of carts being used which cuts down on the wear and tear to both the carts and the course, yes? Maybe some courses already do this, but to my knowledge, it's not any of them in my area.
Stop Pairing Me with Strangers
I do not play golf to make new friends. There are times I try to find three other people to play and everyone is busy. And, there are times I just want to play by myself, work on my game, and most importantly, not talk to anyone. When I get paired up with someone, I feel like I have to make small talk with them. What's your name? What do you do for a living? Then, of course, they'll ask me those same questions, and when I tell them I work in radio they'll start asking even more questions about my job and how the industry works, and I have to be nice because they listen to me and they have a perception of me that I need to uphold and I want them to keep listening, and it just becomes this whole thing that could have easily been avoided if you would have just let me play BY MY DAMN SELF!
Look, I know four is the magic number because it keeps things moving at a decent pace, and you can make the maximum amount of money in a day if you have every slot on the schedule filled with four players. But in my experience, most foursomes will let a single play through so the pace doesn't suffer too badly, if at all, and you're still making some money off of me. So, please, just let me be.
Do I think courses will actually stop doing any of these things just because I asked? No. No, I do not. But, as Matthew McConaughey once famously said...