Hi, first post, first thread. I talk a lot of sports on another forum but golf is a rare subject and actual golfers seem to be nonexistent. So I came here. Thanks, google!
Anyway, for years now I've been seeing reps from the PGA and USGA come onto their respective tournaments broadcasts and talk about various subjects facing the game. One of them, declining participation rates drove this NY Times article I'm sure many of you have seen/heard about by now: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/19/sports/golf/in-a-hole-golf-considers-digging-a-wider-one.html
Pardon the Interruption devoted a segment to the larger hole today. I'm actually fine with doing this for certain golf events, particularly charity outings where a bunch of hacks are playing their own ball. But if this became standard practice (I know, it won't) it would drive me away from the game. All of this stems from the two "main" problems golf faces. One is it's difficulty and the other is pace of play. However, every USGA and PGA rep seems completely out of touch.
First, the pace of play problem largely grows out of economic necessity for golf clubs. If you want to speed up play, how about scheduling foursomes ten or even twelve minutes apart? Instead, most of the public courses I play following the standard 1:00, 1:07, 1:15, etc. Well, none of those in power ever suggest this on the telecast. Instead, the blame is put on the participants, and how they can improve their own personal pace of play. Of course, that's true, but in no way can you fight that tight tee time schedule. It would also be nice for rangers to actually force players to keep up with the group in front of them. But again, that's money. You have to pay somebody to drive around and likely do nothing all day.
But another problem is that new courses and country clubs are in a constant **** waving contest to see who can construct/maintain the most difficult course and green conditions. While I generally like speedy greens (as they roll truer) this does not mean everybody has to be Oakmont (and I've played Oakmont--it's brutal). But again, this does not seem to be a priority. Instead. THEY WANT 15 INCH HOLES?????? ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Have multiple tees. Recommend a handicap (ie, <3, 3-10, 10-20, 20+), sex, and age (junior/senior) for each. Make bunkers shallow. Make the front of the green accessible. Make any forced carry reasonable for the respective tee boxes. Keep the stimpmeter reasonable. Do not cut holes four paces over a trap on the corner on weekends.
All of this seems so easy. That is until some dope from the USGA gets on TV in June and Johnny Miller nods his head approvingly.