Monday, 28 January 2008

Off Topic: Ban Carts on Golf Courses

One of the privileges of blogging is being able to write about whatever the heck you want. So I'm going to digress a little, though one could say that this has something to do with retirement planning since the idea came to me while reading Sherry Cooper's recent book The New Retirement (which I will review soon). In it, she talks about leading a good lifestyle as being one of the secrets of successful retirement ... and that includes exercise.

Apart from allowing truly disabled people from playing the game (if my parents in their 80s can walk around the course, I'd submit that 99% of everyone else could too), the golf cart is more bad than good:
  • Carts chew up and damage courses, especially as people chronically ignore the no-go areas.
  • Carts waste the time gained from faster movement a) by the necessity to zigzag all over the course (when do you ever hit the ball straight down the fairway just like your cart partner or do you each find opposite sides?) and b) due to the longer search for each ball and more lost balls since you cannot follow the line of your shot all the way along from where you hit it - you must approach the ball from either the cart path or from your partner's ball and often it's impossible to know exactly how far you hit
  • Carts mean you get almost no exercise, which doesn't help your health
  • When you hit a bad shot, you can drive too fast in a cart; or you can have an accident, even when you are a professional race driver.
  • The fact that you don't walk means that you don't get your body properly warmed up; from the third hole on when I'm walking I'm playing better
Over here in Scotland, carts are the exception rather than the norm. At first I thought this was strange but now I'm sold. I daresay Scottish retiree golfers are the fittest anywhere ... not the least because the season is pretty well year-round. It was 10 celsius on the weekend, the snowdrops are in bloom and there were folks on the courses, though some courses are still too wet.

1 comment:

Tone said...

One solution when forced to use a power cart and playing with a partner I'll choose to walk while my partner drives.

Many times, particularly on golf courses designed around new suburban North American communities, the walk from the green to the next tee can be extraordinarily long - crossing thoroughfares and dodging traffic. These kinds of golf courses demand a power cart no matter what physical condition a golfer is in.

Note also that on certain resort courses shaped to impress PGA professionals, occassional players such as week-end visitors or conference attendees struggle to hit a ball, find it, hit it again, find it and hit it again...while walking and carrying or dragging a golf bag the size of my Mother (a short Italian woman). Power carts are ideal for the high handicap player on tougher golf courses. Rodney Dangerfield comes to mind!

Power carts ought not be banned. For those golf course operators striving to maintain a reasonable pace of play, allow players with a minimum handicap or those able to demonstrate a level of proficiency to walk.

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