It’s not that golf takes too long, it’s having the time to play
By Paul Gueorgieff
Editor, Golfer Pacific NZ
People have no longer got the time to play golf. The game takes too long.
This is an argument I hear all the time as many golf clubs struggle to survive.
But it’s an argument that I believe is totally misguided.
Golf federations around the world survey people as to why they don’t play golf. One of the most common answers is they don’t have the time.
So in response golf clubs try to encourage nine-hole membership or develop their courses, or parts of it, into a shortened version.
I would question any golf club that claims such a move had proved an overwhelming success and a saviour of the club.
There is a chance that a golf club in my region may be cut back from 18 holes to nine because the club may be forced to sell much of it’s land.
Would you want to join a nine-hole golf club? I wouldn’t.
As long as the professionals play 18 holes, I want to play 18 holes. I want to play the game the big boys play.
Don’t get me wrong. Nine hole golf courses have their place.
I used to be a part-owner of a golf driving range in Wellington that had a nine-hole course. The golf course was very basic but we didn’t pretend it to be anything more than that.
It suited newcomers to the game and youngsters learning from their parents.
But I can tell you that some of the people we had play the nine-hole course you would not want at your course. They would get horribly drunk during the round, steal the flags, pinch balls from the driving range, damage the greens and simply be of great nuisance to others wishing to play. They were more trouble than they were worth.
I do believe many people do not have time to play the game but that is no different to before. I am a perfect example.
I virtually did not play the game for 30 years between the age of 20 and 50. I did not have the time with raising a family and working hard to keep up the mortgage payments. I also worked both Saturdays and Sundays.
Nothing has changed in my book. Many people in that age group of 20-50 still don’t have much time for the game. It’s just the way it is.
What has changed is that the golf club used to be a pub. It was where you could get a drink on a Sunday in days when it was not possible to do so elsewhere.
Some of the guys I play with today reminisce about the days when they stayed at the golf club until midnight and then drove home. That just doesn’t happen anymore.