And that's me talking, a bloke trundling towards his 55th birthday, someone who grows vegetables, who measures out the passing seasons on his daily dog-walk; a man who can happily snooze an afternoon away in his conservatory, whose idea of excitement is a clever anagram in the Guardian crossword and whose idea of pushing his luck is a stealing a second slice of dorset apple cake when no-one’s looking. So, one has to wonder, what of the kids?
I honestly can’t see golf surviving in its present format.
I gave this knotty subject thirty minutes thought just now – whilst snoozing in said conservatory, and frankly it was easier to solve than the crossword. Here’s three new formats that lesser venues could adopt.
Man, they is slow. It’s ridiculous. 5 hour rounds. Let’s have a tournament of speed golf, two and a half hours maximum. Or similar. Let’s have them running between shots. Some form of bonus/penalty system for quick/slow play within the overall time limit. Let’s sort out the dithering bureaucrat golfers, twitching and adjusting, from the carefree, rock up and smack it, new breed of goat-footed youngsters who (if you build it) would surely come.
Five Club Golf (or three even).
Anyone who has ever rolled up at their local pitch and putt course, for a post-prandial afternoon bit of fun, knows that you only really need two clubs, one to get it in the air and one to get it in the hole. So, giving you five seems more than generous. Oh, and no caddies, obviously, carry your own, you lazy, entitled prick, what is this, 1890? Let’s sort out the radar rileys with their reliance on repetition and yardage charts, from the intuitive, nascent Sevvies with magic in their hearts and imagination in their fingers.
Why start every hole standing on a manicured tee, staring at a long welcoming fairway – thirty yards wide? Why not start from a nasty piece of rough, or behind a bush, or with a wall interfering with your backswing, from a bunker, and so on. And why not put some hazards on some of the putting greens? You know, like a windmill. We all love those.
Now imagine a tournament – over 4 rounds and 4 days if you like, but why not 9 holes of each, in one day. That I’d pay to see. Or leave the conservatory to put the telly on, anyway..