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Public Golf in the modern era

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By Dom Fasciglione

GolfWRX Contributor

When I was a kid I remember going to the golf course with my father. It wasn’t a fancy place. There was a single-story club house with a small restaurant and bar area on one side and a pro shop and locker area on the other. To the right there was a practice green and directly from the front door one stepped out onto a driving range. The club house was appointed in dark paneling and green wall to wall carpet.  The aroma of fried eggs and stale coffee permeated the place. It was a comfortable place, and familiar.

Upon arrival my father would make the rounds, visiting the restaurant for a cup of coffee, borrowing a paper to check the latest scores, and eventually making his way to the pro shop. It was usually at this moment I would make my move.

“Dad, I’m going outside.”

“Don’t wander and stay clear of anyone making a swing, you hear?”

After the obligatory “Yessir” I would make a mad dash for the practice green.  I had an old, bent Bullseye putter and dejected wedge from my father’s old golf bag with a bone hard grip and grooves that long ago appeared to have melted away in a bygone era.

People would come and go. The starters would be casual observers and sometimes would take an interest in my “practice routine,” which usually involved wedging out all of the crabgrass between the cart path and the 1st tee. One of the starters made me rake out a bunker one fine, sunny morning after I had decided to use it for a golf ball race track.

After a couple hours I would meander over to the range where I would find my father, brows furrowed, forearms bulging, and sweat upon his forehead.

“Did you practice your putting?”

“Umm, sort of.”

“Okay.  You ready?”  I was ready.

After a brief chat with the starter we were off. There were others golfing but we seldom had to wait or hurry. We occasionally shared a tee time with folks, and until I was about thirteen I would mostly caddie with an occasional tee shot here and there.  I frequently would go ball hunting, entering the woods on the third or fourth hole and coming out on the fifth or sixth.  I recall the woods being dark and overgrown, wayward balls lying half buried in the moist undergrowth. Max Fli Blue Dots, Top-Flights, Dunlops, Titleists.

Eventually the round would come to a close.  We would make our way back to the club house. I would have a coke and he a beer. Back at the car, an old Chevy station wagon, we would clean our clubs and shoes, stash them in the back, and head on home. All the way home I could smell the wet grass and worn leather as we listened to the local AM radio station.

It seems times have changed, of course. The course has changed a bit, but not all that much. The trees are taller; the woods have been cleared out a good deal. There are new tee boxes and a couple holes have been rerouted. The club house has been renovated and all the faces are new. I guess the most significant change has less to do with place and more to do with time.

The routine today is as follows: reserve a tee time two days in advance. One must call early enough to secure a morning time. If the call is made too late, one runs the risk of interfering with the league times. A credit card number is required.  In the event of cancellation, without due notice of at least three hours, a charge will be placed upon the card.  Golfers are required to arrive 30 minutes prior to tee time, check inn, pay, and then show proof of purchase and tee time to the starter. Starters are equipped with walkie-talkies and anticipate arrivals to the tee box. No one may be on the course without equipment and proof of purchase.

The schedule is tight. Golfers are most often no further than 250 yards from the group behind and the group in front. People have little patience and seemingly less time.

Yes, times have changed. The tempo has changed. I just hope the game doesn’t.

Click here for more discussion in the forums.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Drew

    Apr 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Golf is becoming more of a race to the finish every year. I wish we could go back to the old days of casual play.

  2. A. Lynch

    Feb 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Great story, Dom. I can almost smell that cut grass.

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

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Detroit could be getting a PGA Tour event

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As a business based in the Detroit metro area, GolfWRX is happy to hear this: the Motor City could be getting a PGA Tour event.

With the PGA Tour’s 2019-2020 schedule expected in the weeks ahead, the Detroit News reports the Tour could announce (Detroit-based) Quicken Loans will sponsor an event at Detroit Golf Club. The company ceased sponsorship of the former Quicken Loans National in Washington, D.C. last year.

The Detroit News quotes a source with knowledge of the Tour’s scheduling discussions as saying an official announcement is near.

While the Tour, Quicken Loans, and Detroit Golf Club are mum on the matter, Quicken Loans’ statement to the paper last year made clear the company’s intention to bring a tournament to the city.

“As we look to the future, we remain interested in exploring ways to highlight the energy and revitalization taking place in Detroit…A prime golf event, featuring the world’s best players, is certainly something we would be interested in pursuing as a way to showcase our great American city.”

If the Detroit tournament takes the calendar spot of the The National, it would be contested in late June/early July. Additionally, with the PGA Championship’s move to may next year, there’s some speculation the Detroit event could be contested in August.

As mentioned, we know the PGA Championship is moving to May in 2019. Additionally, The Players will move to March, TPC Southwind will take over  WGC hosting duties from Firestone Country Club, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs will wrap before start of football season.

We’ll have to wait (eagerly) for official word on the Detroit event.

 

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

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Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

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