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I write in response to Lali Stander’s column on recreational golf in SA (“Stop with the practice swings, just hit it”, December 1). I share her appreciation for SA’s beautiful courses and GolfRSA’s ability to keep them open throughout the pandemic. And while she correctly laments the game’s high costs, the sport remains relatively accessible here compared with most other places in the world.
However, I take issue with Stander’s complaint about slow golfers. It is simply unreasonable to expect the average golfer to complete a round in four hours or less. As a high handicapper, I can attest that a round played with 100 shots necessarily takes longer than one played with 80.
I can also assure Stander that nothing detracts from the beauty and relaxation of SA’s pristine courses like a grouchy ranger encouraging you to speed up play. While I agree with the need to play “ready golf”, pushing duffers like me to speed up only leads to more errant shots.
If Stander wants to continue growing the game in SA she must adapt to the game played by high handicappers. This means revised expectations for the length of a round: five hours is much more reasonable on most nonlinks courses than four hours. Golf clubs could also reserve days and tee times for low handicappers who play with the expectation of a quicker round.
Similarly, clubs could block off days for walkers, who tend to be more serious and complete their rounds more quickly than cart riders. These approaches would help mitigate the burden of slow golfers without reducing people’s overall enjoyment of the game.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.