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Should a test be required before playing public course?

Poll Results: Should there be a test before you can play golf?

 
  • 9% (17)
    Yes. Basic rules & etiquette test + ability test (score under 120)
  • 19% (34)
    basic rules + etiquette test would be nice...
  • 51% (89)
    Not a test, but a booklet hand-out with the basics should do
  • 19% (33)
    no way, even if course and our enjoyment suffers...
173 Total Votes  
post #1 of 188
Thread Starter 
up for discussion - should everybody be tested for basic education in rules / etiquette / proper behavior on a golf course before he/she is allowed to play?
Wonder what you think...
We started discussing it while talking about un-repaired ball marks and divots and some guys admitted - they simply didn't know they were supposed to do it.
post #2 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Raf,

Though I disagreed with the test in the thread you mentioned, I don't see anything wrong with a pamphlet or something clarifying golfer responsibilities.

Actually though, a lot of courses put those directly on the back of the scorecard. The person at the clubhouse (or the starter) could easily just point them out to the golfers as they head out for their rounds. Sure, it's not enforceable, but it at least points them in the right direction.

(added for further clarification, my comments from aforementioned original post)
Originally Posted by ragontona
You know, as much as I wish that people knew the rules and etiquette of the game, I don't know if agree. The game is already intimidating enough for the new golfer without having to add a written and playing test. Everyone has to start from somewhere... it's only over time that an aspiring player can gain an appreciation for the rules and unwritten etiquette of the game. It's ultimately up to the golfer to play by the rules and conduct himself as a gentleman (or lady) out there, I agree. But we can't go as far as to test players abilities before even allowing them to set foot on a golf course. I believe that the game is out there for everyone, not just players who know better. It may take some time... but eventually they'll learn. We've just gotta help 'em along.
Originally Posted by ragontona
I'm probably going to be in the minority on this one though. I just think that it wasn't too long ago that golf was tagged as an "elitist" activity, and I think establishing criteria in order for a golfer to be allowed to play would definitely perpetuate that stigma.
post #3 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

I'll preface this by saying if I owned my own course, I would have no problem yanking people off the course that did not keep pace of play and show proper etiquette that caused problems for other golfers.

That being said, I don't think all courses should restrict players, but rangers should enforce some sort of rules...etiquette and what I would call 'trash golf' where guys are just tearing up the course and keeping people from enjoying their rounds.

Originally Posted by ragontona
Everyone has to start from somewhere...
It's called the range. Also, there are a bunch of Par-3 courses out there that are cheap and popular. Nobody, and I mean nobody, be on the golf course the first time they touch a golf club. Heck, it shouldn't be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th for that matter.

Originally Posted by ragontona
But we can't go as far as to test players abilities before even allowing them to set foot on a golf course.
No, but I bet if you post a ranger or 'official' on the first couple holes you'd be able to tell pretty quick if you want that group or person on the course.

Originally Posted by ragontona
I believe that the game is out there for everyone, not just players who know better. It may take some time... but eventually they'll learn. We've just gotta help 'em along.
On the range.

Originally Posted by ragontona
I'm probably going to be in the minority on this one though.
I don't think so. I'm betting people are pretty split on this one. If you're talking about the people on this board, then maybe you're right because we're pretty die-hard about golf and would benefit from such a rule.

Originally Posted by ragontona
I just think that it wasn't too long ago that golf was tagged as an "elitist" activity, and I think establishing criteria in order for a golfer to be allowed to play would definitely perpetuate that stigma.
It's very possible, but most of the elitist people already joined private or semi-private courses. We're talking about public golf courses and there are plenty of good 'average joe' golfers that would still be out on the links.

I would just hope that this type of rule keeps the ugly 5-10% of golfers off the course and make it better for everyone else.

I'm not picking on you ragontona. You have a valid point of view but I'm looking to better the golf experience as a whole while not shutting people out completely.
post #4 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Some of the posts in this thread are a bit frightening. No, I don't think a test is required. Most people on the course who don't follow etiquette know about it, they're either too lazy or inconsiderate to follow it. What can you say, jerks are jerks in all facets of life.

No matter what your abilities are, I'm sure everyone will agree that an actual round of golf is a 180 degree departure from any driving range. Yes, a driving range is a good place to start learning, but no driving range I've been to has forced carries, water hazards, bunkers, and golfers waiting behind you to play. At some point, people have to get on the course and learn.

It is our responsibility as golfers to help those people out.

People on courses these days seem to be very bitter and angry. In Houston public courses alone, there have been five cases of assault on the golf course including an off duty police officer actually striking a man in the head with a seven iron and continuing his round as if nothing had happened.

I'm as fast a player as anyone on the board. However, a round of golf shouldn't take two and a half hours to complete. If the course is empty and you can, great. However, if you go the course expecting to get in a super fast round, you probably shouldn't be playing golf that day.

It is our obligation to teach people what they don't know and do it politely in the spirit of the "gentleman's game."

Courses have the obligation to maintain their investment. One in the Houston area has marshalls with soft drink coupons. If they see golfers raking bunkers, or fixing extra pitch marks, or letting fast singles through, golfers get a coupon for a free fountain drink. That helps keep the course in great shape and maintain pace of play while encouraging good etiquette. Hands down the best idea I've seen yet.
post #5 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

I have noticed more "repair ball mark" signs, and "replace divot" signs around courses I play. Whether they are heeded or not, obviously not, is another question.

As far as testing- no way. As much as I hate etiquette and rules idiots, they have a right to play too, as long as they can pay the greens fees at public courses. I think that marshals and club pros collecting green fees CAN do a better job of telling people on the first tee to abide by these course rules and enforce them on the course, and hope that it sticks.

Until I own my own course (come on powerball) I'll either have to grin and bear it, or pony up more money than I have to join a private club where a larger percentage of the golfers actually care about the condition of the course.
post #6 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

I agree with gas_can... the range is not golf. You don't have the opportunity to learn about fixing divots and pitch marks on the range. You don't learn the honor system on the tee box. You don't learn the away player putts first on the range.

The discussion is whether or not to test any player that wishes to play on a public golf course. The answer should be simple: no. As crappy as it may seem for those of us who know the rules and etiquette, a public course is what it is... a course for the public.
post #7 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

I think they do make ppl take a test in some parts of the world. I was playing with a guy from Holland and I think he said they did that.
post #8 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Originally Posted by greenail
I think they do make ppl take a test in some parts of the world. I was playing with a guy from Holland and I think he said they did that.
Germany's testing is what prompted Rafi's question, I believe.

I voted "basic rules + etiquette test would be nice..." I think that courses could set aside blocks of time for peole who have their "cards" - the first three hours of tee times per day, for example - so that people who have etiquette and so on can play quickly and without the frustration of being paired with the kinds of people Rafi and I were paired with our second day at SeaView in New Jersey.

I think such a move might even help drum up business for the courses - I avoid certain public courses because they're havens for the people who don't know or don't care.

I liked the "free soft drinks" idea from above.

I play mostly at a country club, though, so test or not, those kind of people get really pissed if you try to point anything out to them.
post #9 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

I checked yes for the playing test, but of course I have a slightly different idea In this country any restriction cannot be viewed as discriminatory or exclusionary if a business is to be successful. Many people don't have enough short courses and par 3s available in their areas or just not enough sense to stick to them until semi skilled.

I believe a license of sorts could be given out, using each states USGA. Until you have demonstrated minimum knowledge and skill you would be restricted to the most forward tees, red on most courses. Executives and Par 3s would be exempted. I know people consider these the ladies tees, but be honest most of the people playing from the wrong tees are men. You could also possibly restict premium times to people who have an established handicap of 36 or less, (cmon my 79 year old father is an 18). OOPs I see Eric basically already said that, my concerta is wearing off.

Since public and private courses need to be financially viable, care to keep the requirements minimal is important. After all the real purpose is to encourage new golfers to learn good golf manners and hopefully take a few lessons. Retention of new golfers hopefully would increase as well since embarassment could be avoided and they would have more fun.
post #10 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Originally Posted by iacas
I think that courses could set aside blocks of time for peole who have their "cards" - the first three hours of tee times per day, for example - so that people who have etiquette and so on can play quickly and without the frustration of being paired with the kinds of people Rafi and I were paired with our second day at SeaView in New Jersey.

I think such a move might even help drum up business for the courses - I avoid certain public courses because they're havens for the people who don't know or don't care.
It also might inspire those without thier "cards" to practice, learn etiquette and get into the preferred blocks of tee times. Good idea.
post #11 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

well i guess i'll put in my two cents...

i work at a nine hole muncipal course that charges $14 at the most all day green fees (thats on weekends before 12) after 12 on anyday its $10. and you pay once and can walk as much as you'd like after that. the cart fee is $6 per nine hole. blacksburg is a college town so we get lots of college kids. i personally think that we probably get some of the worst kinds of golfers. actually the other day we had a guy come in to fix one of our carts and he decided to check all the other and 7 of our 24 carts were broken. the back frame was either bent/cracked, almost assuredly from recklessness.

that being said, those people need somewhere to play...what my course does is they have a get into golf program which teaches people the basics of the game and stuff like that, hoping that they come back and can at least somewhat play.

so basically my conclusion is no, there shouldnt be a test, if anything get more marshalls or encourage regulars to get the extra mile in keeping the course up (repairing more than just your own ball mark, etc) or give free drinks, people always love free stuff.
post #12 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

I voted no on the test thing but a Marshal should be out there to help speed up play. Time limits on lost balls should be policed and shannigans on the course shouldn't be allowed. No sense in slow play but these young folks and beginners should be allowed on the course. They have to learn somewhere. I was watching a 4-some tee off one day at the old Country Campus golf course in Huntsville, Tx and one guy hit the tee box marker in front of him and the ball sailed over my head and cleared the clubhouse.
post #13 of 188
Thread Starter 

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Originally Posted by ragontona
...a public course is what it is... a course for the public.
so are the roads... and cars are for people (at least the Volkswagens ). What's the difference? Potential danger? hm.. I've been driving for 24 years now (holly s%$^t I'm old ) and I've seen blood on the road once. I play golf 5 years and I've seen blood on the course 3 times, twice with ambulance involved - due to people sprayin' their shots 100yds left/right off target.
post #14 of 188
Thread Starter 

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Originally Posted by allin
... In this country any restriction cannot be viewed as discriminatory or exclusionary if a business is to be successful...
ugh here we go again with the political correctness, feelings being hurt. I puke every time I hear it. The sad part - it's the truth. In good ol' UK there are still courses that apply handicap limits (the same causes improved chance, that rules/etiquette are not unknown to players) and I don't think their business suffers. They even go over board a bit - with rules like no woman or/and no more than 1 woman in a foursome (buddy of mine told me it happen to him and wife at a course in Ireland).
Can you imagine if someone would try that here? They'd be linched by some liberal trash within a week.

I'm too buying powerball tickets this week and on MY course a max handicap will be 20 and test will be MANDATORY (woman will be allowed though - especially the cute ones )
post #15 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Originally Posted by Rafcin
so are the roads... and cars are for people (at least the Volkswagens ). What's the difference? Potential danger? hm.. I've been driving for 24 years now (holly s%$^t I'm old ) and I've seen blood on the road once. I play golf 5 years and I've seen blood on the course 3 times, twice with ambulance involved - due to people sprayin' their shots 100yds left/right off target.
just chiming in here.

the probelm i have with a lot of the thought behind a "test" is that is seems to only consider "newer players"

I think that might be underestimating who is actually responsible for the conditons we find ourselves dealing with.

For what its worth, at my home course (bethpage black, yes, a muni) during the week of the US Open, there were 3 times the number of un-repaired ball marks, 3 times the number of un-raked traps, play was extremely slow, someone stole the pin off the 15th green and there was a divot in the 10th green.

So can we please test these US Open *******s too? (and yes, I went on Thurs)

Call it the "Tiger Factor" all you want, but these were probably people that knew the game and had some sense of what is supposed to happen on a golf course.

So to target newer players is a touch misleading I think maybe. Plus as it was said elsewhere, if it really irks you, join a club :)

For me, I just try to deal with all the distractions so as to work on my focus and metal game. Sorta like when Earl Woods would mention "dont hit it in the LAake" in the middle of a young Tigers backswing. :)


Not that Im a young (or even old) Tiger...
post #16 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Raf, I didn't say I liked it or even agreed with it. True equality recognizes some element of merit. In other words those who have invested the time to acheive a resonable level of playing skill and understanding of proper etiquette should not be penalized. I was just referencing what I belive is the attitude most business have to take towards, how they are percieved.
James is right though some of the worst offenders are long time golfers. I don't play saturday afternoon between Memorial and Labor day because our public courses have to many people who dropped out of AA and use golf as an excuse to start their drunk earlier.
post #17 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

Good question!!!

In my opinion the answer is no because it's impractical and can only damage the games reputation.

I do think that more courses should have a marshall though. Maybe a button near the tee box (like on an airplane) so that you can alert the marshall after you've been waiting on the tee for 15 minutes.

My biggest gripe is slow play and has ruined many a promising round for my golf partner and I. And for people to say that it shouldn't bother us is annoying because most half decent golfers take the game very seriously. In fact if you want to be any good at the game you have to.

Maybe a big board next to the first tee with commonly broken rules/etiquette
and a Explanatory pictures. There are lot's of people who don't even know what a pitch mark or a divot are let alone that you are supposed to repair them.

And many experienced golfers still think that you have 5 minutes before you have to let someone through if you have lost your ball when in actual fact you should actually let people straight through if they are waiting on the tee

The biggest image on the board should be a person stood on the tee behind with his hands on his hips hanging his/her head and shaking it in an exagerrated fashion... so that people know what it looks like when they are p*ssing people off with slow play

End of rant
post #18 of 188

Re: Should a test be required before playing public course?

I just played a resort course (pricey, but wonderful) that had the latest in GPS carts. They knew in the club house when you teed off, where you were, and whether or not you were keeping up. They had the ability to communicate with each cart individually. The carts were so sophisticated that they had been programmed not to run when they were being driven into forbidden areas. If you did drive it into the wrong area, it would stop and you had to push it backwards until you got back on the course before it would run.

I also used to be a member at Hot Springs Village where they have 9 courses. Each course has at least 3 marshalls at all times and each of them has a schedule sheet that shows based on your tee-time where your group should be at any time. They would warn you to pick up the pace the first time around. If you were still behind, they would have you pick up and go to the next hole. If you didn't want to do that, it was pick it up and go home!

Those course had fully booked tee times every weekend and most days but I never had to complain about slow play. They made those groups MOVE! They also watched the groups in their control for poor etiquette and poor course maintenance. All the marshalls were local residents of the Village, so it was in their interest to keep the course in good condition.
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