Golf Course Architecture - Issue 59, January 2020

13 MA I L BOX Dear Editor I agree with many of your premises in the welcome to the October 2019 issue of Golf Course Architecture regarding slow play. It is certainly true that many golfers try to imitate their heroes that they see on TV. There are in my opinion other factors that contribute to this epidemic, and I believe it is an epidemic. Many golfers need to get a reality check as to their abilities and not live in fantasy land. I have played with people who claim to be low handicap, as I was many years ago, or even scratch golfers and brag that they play from the tips. In reality, they have no business being back that far and in many cases their overstated abilities contribute to a very slow round of golf. Approaching a magic birthday this year (70), I now play from either the white or in some cases, depending on where it is, the gold (senior) tees. As you are well aware, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and others have used the phrase ‘play it forward’. Well they are certainly right, it makes it more enjoyable and keeps it moving. We are not playing for the Green Jacket or Claret Jug. Another factor is the golf courses themselves. It seems as if many golfers have this idea that they have to play these brutal golf courses because this is where the big boys have played. I played a lot of golf at Bethpage Black growing up. It is a glorious place, but the sign on the first tee should be taken seriously. ‘The Black course is an extremely difficult course which we recommended only for highly skilled golfers’. Meaning, you don’t belong out there. The new rules of golf as brought down on high by the USGA and R&A have tried to speed up pace of play, by way of moves such as leaving the flagstick in or hitting when ready. Golfers need to pay attention to this and just get moving. A few years ago, I had the thrill of playing Pacific Dunes. It was cold, miserable and wild weather. I played it from the senior tees and we played, after the fourth hole, a sixsome (in the Golf issue devoted to the top 100 resorts, Bandon Dunes Resort was, as it should be, ranked best resort for buddies and the picture showed a fivesome playing). We held up nobody because everyone hit when ready and picked up when out of position. We finished in under four hours, what a treat. Norm Hollander New York, USA We are delighted to receive letters from readers, and the best in each issue will be rewarded with a golf shirt. Send to 6 Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RA, UK, or email us at Sandy’s investigation of a very new hole certainly confused readers of the last issue, as we didn’t get a large number of answers. Surprising really, as we know that a lot of golfers play at Prince’s in Sandwich, next door to Royal St George’s, every year, and the course’s new-look Himalayas nine, reopened last year after ‘reimagining’ by Martin Ebert, including this new par three hole at the water’s edge called Bloody Point, has had a lot of ink. Be that as it may, it was a long-time friend of GCA , Richard Penley-Martin, formerly secretary at Ganton and now at Denton GC, just north-west of London, whose answer was first out and who wins the shirt. For this issue Sandy can be spotted on the opening tee of another course with a very famous neighbour. Answers, as usual, to . GOPHER WATCH