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Google Consumer Surveys reports that fewer than 15% of golfers keep a handicap

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Looks like a compelling arguement for selling their balls. I think most of the people on this site are part of the minority that enjoy the challenge of the game as is. Some might even be aspiring professionals. I wonder if Taylomade and other major brands are planning on a line of non-conforming equipment?
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I know I'm in the minority here, but I say give the people what they want.  Golf is a game and a business.  The primary purpose for playing is to have fun and get outdoors; the more people are willing to pay money to do that, the more accessible the game will be for everyone, and the more, better conditioned courses will be available.

I played competitive golf from 1989 to 1996:  high school, college, and regional junior competitions.  I know the rules and am capable of following them.  I've played in some pretty competitive tournaments in "leagues" consisting mostly of 5 HCP and better golfers, some of whom had Tour aspirations.  In those events, strict compliance with the rules of golf are required.

What most of that has taught me is that I really enjoy just playing golf, and don't really give a crap about the rules most of the time.  If I'm playing you for skins, then I'm going to play it as it lies (I mostly do that anyway--I don't fluff).  But if I'm just playing with some buds, which is the vast majority of my rounds, I don't really care.  I'll kick a ball away from a tree root to avoid breaking my club.  I'll drop a ball back in bounds after hitting it out of bounds rather than trudge back to the tee.  I'll take putts in the leather if a playing partner kicks it back to me.

Missing a 2-footer can really sap the enjoyment out of a round.  Why bother?

I don't start out intending to cheat.  If I'm playing well and have a chance to shoot a PB or break par, then I play it straight--I'm not going to cheat my way around the course and then brag about breaking par.  But most days I'm not threatening par, so I just hit shots.  I don't get to play nearly enough to put added stress on my favorite passtime.

Which is why I don't keep a USGA handicap.  I did, recently, for about a year when I was playing in a competitive league.  I actually got it down to less than 1 at one point, which surprised me.  I think that I focused more and had better scores, but I was also playing a lot more.  Work called, league ended, and now I'm back to just beating balls around.  And that's fine with me.

Let the flames begin.

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Some might even be aspiring professionals.

I wonder if Taylomade and other major brands are planning on a line of non-conforming equipment?

I read this on another site earlier in the week. I haven't put much stock into it but you never know. It sounds almost inconceivable, but it seems that TaylorMade is creeping closer towards blowing the lid (and the walls) off the oppressive little 460cc box the USGA has stuffed the golf equipment companies into. Reputable sources are telling us in no uncertain terms that TaylorMade is planning to launch a line of non-conforming golf clubs. That’s right. Non-conforming clubs from the #1 Company in Golf…or at least from one of the brands under the TaylorMade-adidas umbrella. If it proves true, I don’t think it’s overstating to say that TaylorMade would be poised to flip the entire equipment industry ass-end-up, while setting up what could be a very tense showdown with the USGA over its governance of the recreational game. This is potentially nothing less than the biggest equipment story since…well…maybe ever. Adding fuel to the fire, Golf Digest recently published excerpts from an interview with Sean Toulon, TaylorMade’s Executive Vice President. In that that video (also from the PGA show) Toulon further suggests that TaylorMade might consider releasing non-conforming clubs. “Our job is to make sure we get golfers excited to go out and play more golf…and we can do that with better performance, and if honestly the ruling bodies don’t like it then it goes wherever it goes. We’re going to put the hammer down, and we’ve got great ideas” – Sean Toulon, Executive Vice President, TaylorMade-adidas Golf
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I know I'm in the minority here, but I say give the people what they want.  Golf is a game and a business.  The primary purpose for playing is to have fun and get outdoors; the more people are willing to pay money to do that, the more accessible the game will be for everyone, and the more, better conditioned courses will be available. I played competitive golf from 1989 to 1996:  high school, college, and regional junior competitions.  I know the rules and am capable of following them.  I've played in some pretty competitive tournaments in "leagues" consisting mostly of 5 HCP and better golfers, some of whom had Tour aspirations.  In those events, strict compliance with the rules of golf are required. What most of that has taught me is that I really enjoy just playing golf, and don't really give a crap about the rules most of the time.  If I'm playing you for skins, then I'm going to play it as it lies (I mostly do that anyway--I don't fluff).  But if I'm just playing with some buds, which is the vast majority of my rounds, I don't really care.  I'll kick a ball away from a tree root to avoid breaking my club.  I'll drop a ball back in bounds after hitting it out of bounds rather than trudge back to the tee.  I'll take putts in the leather if a playing partner kicks it back to me. Missing a 2-footer can really sap the enjoyment out of a round.  Why bother? I don't start out intending to cheat.  If I'm playing well and have a chance to shoot a PB or break par, then I play it straight--I'm not going to cheat my way around the course and then brag about breaking par.  But most days I'm not threatening par, so I just hit shots.  I don't get to play nearly enough to put added stress on my favorite passtime. Which is why I don't keep a USGA handicap.  I did, recently, for about a year when I was playing in a competitive league.  I actually got it down to less than 1 at one point, which surprised me.  I think that I focused more and had better scores, but I was also playing a lot more.  Work called, league ended, and now I'm back to just beating balls around.  And that's fine with me. Let the flames begin.

Sigh, the Army....... ;-)

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If it makes the guys I get stuck behind play better and faster I am all for it. I don't care what anyone else does. The people that will buy this stuff don't play by the rules anyway.

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I'm all for anything that brings more people to the sport. With that said, I personally will not be playing any non-conforming equipment, and am not obligated to like it when I get beat by someone who is. I know this equipment wouldn't be allowed in formal tournaments and things of that nature, but it will show up in lower level tournaments and when playing with buddies. First time my brother in law mouths off about beating me while playing some non-conforming junk, I'll be sure to let him know about it.

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At our course there are several different groups of players that play weekly or bi-weekly and they all play by their own rules.

Some of them allow mulligans. Most allow two shots off of the first tee. Most couldn't care less how many clubs a player has in their bag or if a club is non-conforming. Most consider a lost ball or a shot OB as a shot in a hazard. One group has a bogey limit on every hole and a pick up is mandatory after a bogey. Most groups pick up any putt inside of the leather.

All of them are perfectly happy to play by their own rules and have some fun. All of them complete their rounds in less than 3 1/2 hours.

One group of more serious (and better) players play by the rules of golf and they are perfectly happy with that.

Since the course would have to close down and I would be without a place to play (and a job) without them I am perfectly happy for all of those different groups to come out, pay their money, and play by whatever rules they choose to play by. I actually really like the idea of a bogey limit for lessor skilled players because they don't bog the course down trying to complete every hole.

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At our course there are several different groups of players that play weekly or bi-weekly and they all play by their own rules.

Some of them allow mulligans. Most allow two shots off of the first tee. Most couldn't care less how many clubs a player has in their bag or if a club is non-conforming. Most consider a lost ball or a shot OB as a shot in a hazard. One group has a bogey limit on every hole and a pick up is mandatory after a bogey. Most groups pick up any putt inside of the leather.

All of them are perfectly happy to play by their own rules and have some fun. All of them complete their rounds in less than 3 1/2 hours.

One group of more serious (and better) players play by the rules of golf and they are perfectly happy with that.

Since the course would have to close down and I would be without a place to play (and a job) without them I am perfectly happy for all of those different groups to come out, pay their money, and play by whatever rules they choose to play by. I actually really like the idea of a bogey limit for lessor skilled players because they don't bog the course down trying to complete every hole.

I play with 3-4 other guys typically on sunday. we play like the above. I keep my score legit cause i shoot lower scores than the others do. I dont care what they do in their own game. I also havent kept a HC in years. i just dont need or care to.

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Interesting article and while I don't believe I would use non-conforming equipment I wouldn't necessarily have any issues with a pure recreational golfer or beginner who did. I have a buddy of mine who's in his mid-40s (like me) and I would love to get him playing more. He doesn't play because he's embarrased by his game and doesn't have the time to practice. Pure conjecture on my part, but I think if there were such a thing as a set of clubs that would make it easier for guys like him to experience a little success on the course faster/earlier, then maybe he gets the bug, starts practicing/playing more, and eventually goes all-in with more traditional equipment (which is what the manufactures are banking on). I would say the same potentially applies with younger players, why not make it as easy as possible for them to get out their and enjoy the game. Have to say, was a little surprised (assuming its factually correct) with the numbers of golfers lost quoted in the article. I think the quote was "Golfers are leaving the game, largely due to inconvenient rules, excessive play times and high costs." Personally I don't think the rules have any effect on the number of players since, as many have stated, they don't necessarily play by them religiously anyway. Cost and playing time make sense. Golf has never been a cheap venture and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Playing time is what kept me away from the game for so long, when my kids were younger it was hard to justify 4-6 hours away from the house. Even now that they're a little older, I can still only dedicate so much time to playing/practicing. Personally, I always thought that if you want to get more people playing then offer more 9 hole options. Very few public courses in our area seem to. As it is now, I'll usually go to the driving range during the week or when I don't have a lot of time on the weekend but, speaking for myself, I'd much prefer getting in 9 holes if it was available.
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I would tend to agree with k-troop, USGA handicap is not a requirement to be a golfer, you can be a golfer without a handicap, IMHO.  I do keep a handicap, but honestly, it's strictly for me to use as a gauge for improvement or in my case, stagnation.  I also only kept a handicap because I recorded my scores so I would have ammo when my wife would say I golfed a lot, I could count up my scores and say, only 22 rounds this year, not a lot of golf in my opinion!

I do follow the rules of golf to the best of my ability, but I can say the OB and lost ball rule will get bent at times.  There is no way I can go back to the tee and hit a ball on a crowded course if I can't find my ball, it would be my last round at that golf course if I tried that on a busy Saturday morning.  I have no problem with players who want to use a foot wedge or roll the ball, if that is what makes the game enjoyable and brings you to the golf course fine.

However, I rarely if ever, play tournaments or any kind of competitive golf as I find that can bring the worst out in people.  I really see professional golf and the golf I play as two different games, kind of like peewee football and the NFL!

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http://www.polaragolf.com/news/new-survey-reveals-that-most-golfers-are-bending-the-rules/8347253875876946245#article-top

Discuss.

That's no revelation.  The typical public golfer goes out a couple of times a month with his buddies to play a game which sort of resembles golf.  He may play a corporate or charity scramble along the way.  Golf is purely recreation for him.  He isn't the sort of player who hangs out on golf discussion boards, and he isn't the type who carries a handicap just for the heck of it.  Most golfers only carry a handicap if they play in some sort of organized competitions.

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This goes back to every rules discussion on this board and other golf boards.  You don't have to follow the rules of golf to enjoy golf.  I don't think anyone here cares if recreational golfers use NC equipment, mulligans, foot wedges, or gimme putts as long as they don't maintain a handicap or cheat during money rounds or tournaments.

Playing golf recreationally is different than competitive, just as running for heath purposes is different than entering a 5K, half marathon or marathon.  Bottom line, if you aren't competing no one cares how fast you ran or how low you scored

I'd guess based on article that less than 15% of golfers also belong to private country clubs where maintaining a handicap is required as part of the membership.

Competitive golf isn't for everyone so if there's a way to make it easier for recreational golfers I'm all for it.  What I think is misleading is that TMAG wants the recreational golfer to believe that their NC equipment will make the game easy.  They want us to believe that by circumventing the USGA rules anyone will be able to hit 300+ yard drives to the middle of the fairway and that's just not likely to happen.

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Not knowing or following all the rules is one thing - there are million rules, breaking some of them help increase pace of play and enjoyment of the game by most people . .and most people are very poor golfers.  Not keeping a handicap also makes perfect sense . .if you're shooting 100+ and breaking the rules, who cares what your handicap is?  I say handicap doesn't matter at all until/unless you're sub 15 with a goal to get better.

Playing with non-standard equipment, though, is crossing a certain line and I don't feel it will ever catch on.  If I one of the guys in my group started using a non-conforming driver we'd razz him to death over it.  Every decent shot he hit would be due to his "cheater" club.  I know I'd rather suck at golf overall but be able to hold my head high when I hit that occassional 250 yard "bomb" down the middle.

Foot wedges, mulligans, etc, etc are ok because the vast majority of us are not playing for a score to brag about.  We're not cheating the rules and then boasting of shooting an 80.  We play for the shots.  When I come home from a round and my wife asks me how I did . .I usually answer something like this . ."Great!  I made some awesome wedge shots.  I hit a drive I metered at 265!  I made a legit birdy on the last par 5.  Oh . .but I doubled a bunch and tripled one so my score was horrible".

I think that' how most recreational golfers approach the game .. even if they don't articulate it the exact same way.

For sure, if you're cheating the rules and boasting about your score then you're a loser.  But nobody I know or have ever played with does that.  We all acknowledge we suck at golf - but can hit awesome shots at times.  Using "cheater" gear will just take away the one thing we have, lol.

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"•Most golfers play for fun–78% in fact."

I really cannot stand statements like this.  I play a couple other non-golf things competitively and occasionally I'll ask casual players if they've ever considered playing a tournament.  They say, no I like to play for fun.  As if anyone who plays competitively ISN'T also playing for fun. :-X I find this comment extremely stupid and somewhat insulting actually and I tend not to even ask people anymore.

"Golfers are leaving the game, largely due to inconvenient rules, excessive play times and high costs."

I'm not buying the rules excuse at all and I'm extremely skeptical of the playing time one also.  If you can find time to watch 50 hours of TV a week (and most Americans do) you can sure as hell find time to golf.  If people are leaving the game it's because of the cost.  This is easily the most expensive hobby I've ever had and eventhough I can afford it at the moment I still feel like I'm hemorrhaging money every time I go out to play.  Plus it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the cheaper courses are the busier ones.

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"•Most golfers play for fun–78% in fact."

I really cannot stand statements like this.  I play a couple other non-golf things competitively and occasionally I'll ask casual players if they've ever considered playing a tournament.  They say, no I like to play for fun.  As if anyone who plays competitively ISN'T also playing for fun.     I find this comment extremely stupid and somewhat insulting actually and I tend not to even ask people anymore.

"Golfers are leaving the game, largely due to inconvenient rules, excessive play times and high costs."

I'm not buying the rules excuse at all and I'm extremely skeptical of the playing time one also.  If you can find time to watch 50 hours of TV a week (and most Americans do) you can sure as hell find time to golf.  If people are leaving the game it's because of the cost.  This is easily the most expensive hobby I've ever had and eventhough I can afford it at the moment I still feel like I'm hemorrhaging money every time I go out to play.  Plus it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the cheaper courses are the busier ones.

Regarding the first part of your quote, 78% play for fun:  it is obvious that Polara's marketing is ridiculous.  I would say 100% play for fun, duh!!

The alarmist thought that golfers are leaving because rules officials are hovering over them and they're getting shaken down in pro shops, oh please!

The intent of my post was to highlight the Google Consumer reports of a drastically low percentage of golfers holding a HCP.  As far as I can tell it is the only credible part of their "newsflash/advert".

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That's no revelation.  The typical public golfer goes out a couple of times a month with his buddies to play a game which sort of resembles golf.  He may play a corporate or charity scramble along the way.  Golf is purely recreation for him.  He isn't the sort of player who hangs out on golf discussion boards, and he isn't the type who carries a handicap just for the heck of it.  Most golfers only carry a handicap if they play in some sort of organized competitions.

It was a revelation to me as there have been past discussions that pointed at the number being closer to 25-30%.  I thought it would seem very low compared with what we thought, but it looks like it is not breaking news.  Well it was a surprise to me.  I figured it might contribute to the everlasting discussion of: just how good is the average golfer? Being that a golfer who carries a handicap can be considered likely more skilled than one who doesn't, it shrinks the field and makes me feel like I am a better player.  What a self-serving thread!

:-P

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I know I'm in the minority here, but I say give the people what they want.  Golf is a game and a business.  The primary purpose for playing is to have fun and get outdoors; the more people are willing to pay money to do that, the more accessible the game will be for everyone, and the more, better conditioned courses will be available.

I played competitive golf from 1989 to 1996:  high school, college, and regional junior competitions.  I know the rules and am capable of following them.  I've played in some pretty competitive tournaments in "leagues" consisting mostly of 5 HCP and better golfers, some of whom had Tour aspirations.  In those events, strict compliance with the rules of golf are required.

What most of that has taught me is that I really enjoy just playing golf, and don't really give a crap about the rules most of the time.  If I'm playing you for skins, then I'm going to play it as it lies (I mostly do that anyway--I don't fluff).  But if I'm just playing with some buds, which is the vast majority of my rounds, I don't really care.  I'll kick a ball away from a tree root to avoid breaking my club.  I'll drop a ball back in bounds after hitting it out of bounds rather than trudge back to the tee.  I'll take putts in the leather if a playing partner kicks it back to me.

Missing a 2-footer can really sap the enjoyment out of a round.  Why bother?

I don't start out intending to cheat.  If I'm playing well and have a chance to shoot a PB or break par, then I play it straight--I'm not going to cheat my way around the course and then brag about breaking par.  But most days I'm not threatening par, so I just hit shots.  I don't get to play nearly enough to put added stress on my favorite passtime.

Which is why I don't keep a USGA handicap.  I did, recently, for about a year when I was playing in a competitive league.  I actually got it down to less than 1 at one point, which surprised me.  I think that I focused more and had better scores, but I was also playing a lot more.  Work called, league ended, and now I'm back to just beating balls around.  And that's fine with me.

Let the flames begin.

What flame?   I am in full agreement.    Golf started out as a game, and it still is (or should be for most of us who can't make a living out of it).   The rules should dictate tournaments & competitions.  For weekend hackers, loose interpretation of the rules can increase one's life expectancy (and that of his caddies, judging by violent nature of some golfers who can hire caddies - refer to another thread ;-) ).   Strict interpretation of the rules on the other hand can increase one's chance of having a stroke.

- One of the "overwhelmed"

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