By Mike Stevens, USGTF Level III Member, Tampa, FL
Several people in golf are calling for golf to become a 12 hole option to adapt to changing lifestyles. Jack Nicklaus is one. He recently conducted a 12 hole event at his course in Columbus which included a larger diameter cup. As a traditionalist the idea goes against my nature but I am also a realist and making the game more friendly for the average Dick and Jane is not a bad idea. Let’s be honest, the professional game now is so far removed from what everyone else plays that the time for a bifurcated rule book has come. People should be able to play golf any way they like. Serious players are always going to play by the USGA rules. Most people however, just want to escape the office or enjoy some time with friends or family. They could care less about stroke and distance or penalties for grounding a club in the sand or hazard. For centuries golf has insisted that playing by the rules is absolute, labeling anyone that doesn’t as slackers or cheaters. Someone, who should be drummed out of the game. Well in tournament play, absolutely. But less than 2% of golfers play for a living or in serious events. Why not let everyone else have fun? Golf has spent too much time catering to the small percentage of good players. In present times, that will be a dead end road. It is time to start paying attention to today’s society. We have raised a generation of people who want instant gratification. Most no longer have the patience required for becoming good golfers. I wish this was not the case, but the reality is we need a rule book that says, for tournament play, follow these 34 regulations. For recreation, play any way you want.