Friday, June 26, 2009

Get your JELL-O butt outta the cart!

So, today I thought I would tackle one of my biggest pet peeves in public golf...the golf cart.

I should start by admitting that, yes, I have used a golf cart several times in the past, but generally speaking I only do so when the course forces it upon me. For example, if you play golf in Florida during the summer months, many courses will not allow walkers due to the "liability". On the other hand, while almost every golfer who plays at the famed Pinehurst resort uses the "complementary" cart, during a summer trip there back in July 2007, my friend Brad and I walked all 4 Pinehurst courses we played along with Tobacco Road. The starters all look at you like you are an alien, but we were just fine.

See, in my opinion golf was meant to be played while walking. Walking helps me stay in a rhythm, to follow/find my ball easier, and to play my own game. All too often when you are sharing a cart with someone you end up driving all over the course as inevitably your partner will slice while you hook. Simply put, I generally play better when I walk, and I bet many others would find they would as well, if they tried it.

A second issue I have is the way so many golfers just shun the fact that they could use the walk. Watching an overweight dude squeeze himself out of the cart, waddle the four feet to his ball, then shank it into the bunker 20 yards away, only to return to his seat and drive the next 20 yards just sickens me! Are your legs not functioning? These are usually the same guys who have their teeth clamped around a fat cigar as they use their belly putter to miss short and on the low side once again.

Finally, and perhaps the more objective issue is the ever present and ugly paved cart paths. Sure, a shot that is bad enough to hit one of the fairway bordering runways might deserve a bad bounce, but that isn't always the case. At least a couple times per round on many of the better public courses in Chicago, you have a paved path cut directly through the middle of the fairway. I guess if you need the extra distance on your shots, go ahead and aim for it.

The most appalling example of this is one of my favorite courses, in fact the one where I maintain my handicap...Orchard Valley in Aurora. Orchard Valley is a short layout with hazards everywhere (far too much OB due to houses, but that is another subject). This is a VERY walkable course...VERY walkable. You should be ashamed of yourself if you ride in a cart at Orchard Valley.

Just last year, Orchard Valley unnecessarily ADDED more cart paths...most notably between the 7th & 8th holes, then again along the left side of the 9th hole. The 9th hole is a straightaway, but LONG Par 4 which in the summer generally plays into a SW wind. The tee shot calls for a big drive with a slight draw to grab as much distance as you can to avoid hitting a fairway wood or long iron on your 2nd shot. The problem is that just left of the hole is Orchard Rd., getting busier all the time. Anything overhooked has always gone near, into, or even across the road, but now the course has added a paved cart path atop the ridge all the way up the left side. This now makes even a slight overcooked draw fodder for the road at best...a car seeking missile at worst. Not only does this make your score worse, but is downright dangerous.

Meanwhile, on the very cool 15th hole where you have to choose to hit a conservative shot down the left fairway or take a driver directly at the green over the lake, they REMOVED the walking bridge that allowed walkers to avoid the longest walk on the course around the back of the green. Yes, the previous bridge was a bit hazardous, but certainly they could have just built a better walking bridge and saved the expense of the additional cart paths on the front, right?

Whatever, it is obviously all about money, right? So I implore each of you to skip the cart, buy a lightweight bag (check out Sun Mountain's Ultralight 3.3 ounce bag - heck, use the Golf Galaxy link on the right to browse walking bags), and get some badly needed exercise! Your husband/wife and your doctor will join me in applauding your effort.

Fairways and Greens!

No comments:


Golf Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

BlogCenter Rank

Submit my blog Golf