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Are These Things You Would Change About Golf Today

By: Golfshake Editor | Mon 16 Oct 2023

There’s plenty of things that the sport of golf gets right. We love the camaraderie, the competition (both with ourselves, and our friends), the chance to explore some of the most scenic spots on the planet, walking in the footsteps of our heroes … the list could go on! However, if we’re honest, there’s a few things that we could probably do without. We’re not changing the game here, just perhaps improving it a little.

Unnecessary Stuffiness 

We’re not talking about having to put on a jacket and tie if you’re fortunate enough to go for dinner in the R&A clubhouse. Sometimes it’s nice to dress up, and respecting history is important. What needs changing is the pointless stuffiness - regular golf clubs that still have a beef about hoodies, or a shirt coming untucked, or forgetting to take your cap off when walking inside. None of these are remotely important in the grand scheme of things, but listening to the grumbles from some of the golf club elders (not to mention the angry mobs on social media), you’d think these were hanging offences. They’re not. And if we want more people to take up the sport, we can’t put off those that are willing to make the effort of actually getting to the course by getting angry at them for their choice of sock colour.

Inflation of UK Green Fees

Again, we know that golf clubs are businesses, and the cost of running a facility can be high, but some of the UK’s most well-known courses have increased their green fees exponentially over recent years. Spurred on by an influx of American tourists, it’s become the norm to see a cost of more than £200 to play some of our country’s finest layouts, making it tough for the everyman to experience more than one or two of these each year. Again, we know that agronomical / fuel / staffing costs have all increased, but it doesn’t seem right that courses who charged £55 for a round in 2015, are able to command £225 for an 18-hole whip round in 2023.


Pace of Play

People play golf too slowly. There’s absolutely no reason for any group to be out on a course for longer than four hours. From the professional sport, to your weekend foursome. Two-hours per side is more than enough. We all know this. We all need to be better.


We’re allowed to whinge in this format, our Editor gave us permission. But as golfers, we’re able to find fault in literally anything. “It was too warm out there. It was too windy. I got a bobble on the third green. I had to wait for a greenkeeper on seven. Someone hadn’t raked the bunker on twelve. A group shouted FORE on my backswing. A group didn’t shout FORE when a ball came onto our hole”. 

Why don’t we all try this. The next time we finish our round, positive vibes only. Talk about the good stuff that happened. And if there was no good in your game, talk about the good stuff your partners did. Or the football. Or the weather. Whatever. Just stop whinging.

14 Clubs

Legitimately. 14 clubs is too many. It makes the game more expensive. It makes bags heavier and more difficult to carry. It makes decision making slower. 12 clubs is more than sufficient - Driver, Wood, Hybrid, 5-PW, Gap Wedge, Lob Wedge, Putter. Heck, if the manufacturers made clubs with a 6-degree gap between irons, rather than 4-degree, there’d be no reason to have more than 10 clubs in the bag. No big heavy electric trolleys churning up golf courses and taking space in your car (and the locker room). And then how cool would we all look with our pencil bags?!  

The Roll Back Debate … Until There’s a Credible Solution

One of the hot topics de jour, yet one with no actual solution … hence why there’s continued discussion. Most people have agreed that a rollback wouldn’t work across the board. And so, if you’re gonna roll back the ball for professionals, does that include seniors? And women? What about college players that hit it further than most pros? If they do, what about that member at your club that hits it 320 but plays off 5hcp because of poor chipping? There’s just no clean way of doing it. Whether you draw a cut off a county level, or national level, or professional level - there’s just too much that hasn’t been considered. How do people buy a ‘rolled back’ ball? Do Pro Shops have to stock them now? What does your club pro use when playing in Captain and Pro matches? We’re so far away from a solution that suits all, that until there’s something tangible to implement, it’d be great for us all to find a new topic of conversation.

The ‘Off Season’

Recent years have seen some fabulously mild weather through the winter months. Yet, there’s long been a feeling in the UK that clubs shouldn’t run competitions between October - March. Particularly qualifying competitions. However, there’s just no reason this should be the case. The WHS allows for rounds to be entered 12-months a year, as long as the full course is in play (and if not, your course can be re-rated for a shorter winter route too). If conditions are so tough that scoring is adversely affected, the PCC (playing conditions calculation) will rise. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s a tool that allows for the conditions to be taken into account. 

In a world in which membership fees continue to edge upwards, we want to be able to play competitive golf throughout the year. The great news is for those that don’t want to play in the weekend stableford too … simply don’t enter! Instead, go out and enjoy your round with your friends like you would anyway. Just stop punishing those of use that want to keep our games sharp year-round.

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What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

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