In my quest to fix golf, I have found it necessary to spend time in the realm of negative energy, analyzing what is wrong with the modern game... in order to find a solution or two. I am not happy in the vacuum of negative space, but I will go there to help turn golf around.
A good example of 'negative energy' damaging golf is found in the way a few of the state golf associations set up their amateur tournaments.
A few days ago, an amateur qualifier was held on a revered old golf club, many miles north of Rockbottum CC. It possessed all the elements of a golf horror story, a tale of cruel and sadistic tournament setup visited upon ordinary scratch players and a sprinkling of ones, twos and fives.
The course, a beautiful classic design--expertly maintained by a highly skilled superintendent--was Frankensteined by a golf association setup guy apparently descended from Vlad The Impaler. The narrow, narrow fairways were lined with thick, wet rough and the tees were set waaaaaay back. The heavily contoured greens rolled 13--which means off the green--and Vlad chose cup placements that violated the 666 rule in favor of the 18 most impossible flag choices available.
heavily contoured greens rolled 13... which means off the green."
As a result, a number of skilled club golfers went home tails twixt legs, beat down and depressed, no longer proud to have chosen golf as their identity and seriously considering a transfer to bass fishing.
Vlad had a good laugh, accepted congratulations for his humiliating, degrading setup and welcomed the 8 or 9 elite players--either former pros magically turned back into amateurs or trustafarians who can afford to play every single day--into the inner sanctum of golf.
Great stuff, huh?
their champions had been rendered ass-less..."
Let me explain what happened next. The destroyed golfers, the stars of their respective clubs, were handed their butts, (the only trophies available for the non-elite amateur) and returned to the home club with tales of shooting 88 and 95 and 103. The ordinary members, shocked to learn their champions had been rendered ass-less, became morose and sullen.
This is because ordinary club members -- aspiring golfers who yearn to one day challenge the stars of their clubs -- are no longer inspired to practice, study and work hard for the goal of playing in qualifiers and state events, because it is clearly a lost cause. They are now intimidated beyond all reason.
I've witnessed this in other sports. Bicycle racing is a good example. The cycling federations talked a good game of recruiting new competitors, yet they stacked their events solely in favor of the elite levels. The average amateur was quickly discouraged, stopped paying entry and membership fees and chose a more attractive activity... like hog wrestling or cleaning out septic tanks.
The cycling officials typically responded to complaints by saying, "If you want to compete in this sport, you need to train harder, just like these guys that don't have jobs and family responsibilities."
These same officials still wonder why bicycle racing has remained so small and insignificant.
Golf has been doing the same thing for several years and it's getting worse.
Just because the modern GCS is really good and can deliver yip-inducing green speeds, narrow fairways and demonic cup placements, doesn't mean the tournament setup people should demand it.
I suspect Vlad The Impaler of the unnamed golf association is not actually a golfer.
If the game is not fun, if players aren't given a reason to compete, then high level amateur events become 18-hole death marches. The Georgia setup experts understand the concept of the return customer and are not given to sadistic tournament setup as a criteria for selection. Too bad their strategy isn't contagious.
However, if Vlad is determined to make things nauseatingly impossible for amateur golfers, let's go ahead and do it right. Let's take this ridiculous penalty golf theology to the next level. In fact, I'd like to invite Vlad down to Rockbottum for a round of golf . . . and I promise to make it tough, so difficult he will quit, the very type of golf he loves so much.
We will play a game Dad taught us back when he was a playing pro. It was called "Gotcha" and it made golf tough. We lost a lot of money to Dad, at least until around age 13, but it taught us a valuable lesson: Not to gamble with Dad.
Watch the following video if you want to learn how to play "Gotcha".