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Parents in Montana can’t watch their children golf, and nobody is happy about it



In Montana, as you may have heard from an irritated friend at some point during the past month, spectators cannot watch high school golf.

Nick Petraccione of KBZK originally did a deep dive into the following passage from the Montana State High School Association Rulebook in November.

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Petraccione found the “designated” areas are generally the first tee box and the 18th green, but at some courses, there are no such area. Needless to say, as the KBZK report has been disseminated through the golf mediasphere over the past month, most are not in favor of the MSHA’s position.

Before drilling down into some of the dissent, it’s worth considering the logic of spectator restrictions. Per Petraccione:

“It comes down to a few factors: mainly that golf courses and tournament managers are involved in opening those spaces, not the MSHA. Other factors include parents being unruly, disrupting play, spectator safety, and illegally coaching players on the course.”

Fair enough. But the other side of the coin, beyond parents merely wanting to watch their kids play, is that the MSHA could be “trampling on civil rights,” per James Greenbaum, an attorney KBZK spoke with.

“The highest court has stated many times that difficulty of enforcement is no excuse for trampling on civil rights. They are discriminating against children and parents in an outrageous manner in violation of the federal and state constitution. That is a fundamental right, for their parent to bond with their child and encourage them in something as innocent as a sporting event. … How could you deny a parent that right?”

The outrage, as mentioned, is abundant. Major-winner Shaun Micheel tweeted his disbelief. Micheel also suggested the policy handicaps potential college recruits.

“Scores are only part of the bigger picture…That being the intangibles like attitude, etiquette and temperament. How does the player handle adversity? All of the extra things that are part of competing. Coaches aren’t able to evaluate those things by looking at just the final score.”

Chris Kelley, a parent of a high school golfer in Montana, created a petition aimed at bringing awareness and ultimately changing the rule. Dylan Dethier at filed a look at some of the petition’s signees, which include Xander Schauffele’s father and a handful of coaches. You can view the petition here.

The MSHA has declined to comment.

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  1. Stephen Finley

    Jan 18, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    If you’ve ever been to a few high-school tournaments, you’ll know why a lot of people think this is a good rule.

    And no, it has not a damn thing to do with “civil rights.”

    And double no, it’s not that “parents in Montana can’t watch their children golf” (we’ll ignore the amateurish use of “golf” as a verb — “did you golf today?”…”yup, I golfed a 74,” etc.), now is it? They can watch their children play on the weekends. On an evening when there’s no tournament. All summer. Any non-school-sponsored events. And so forth. This tabloid-headline thing is just dumb.

  2. David

    Jan 18, 2018 at 6:51 am

    This has nothing to do with civil rights. Not everything you want is a civil right. It’s about prevention of cheating and disruption of play. Some parents are too controlling and want to interfere in whatever their child does. I’m not saying I agree with it, but some adults are too childish to just watch.

  3. Ronald Montesano

    Jan 15, 2018 at 5:27 am

    Amen. As a high school golf coach and teacher, I support this distancing. If parents wish to follow their progeny, their are plenty of junior tour events that accommodate them. Ground the helicopters for a while.

    • Stephen Finley

      Jan 18, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Just came here to make the same glaringly obvious point.

  4. Lee

    Jan 14, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I can only imagine every high schooler in Montana wishing they had voting rights to keep the status quo. What high schooler wants their parents following them around?

  5. Howard

    Jan 14, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    We can’t have spectators in San Diego either.

  6. Dad & Mom

    Jan 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    I disagree. Just look at what Tiger’s dad did for him. Parents are an integral part of helping their kids on the golf course and perhaps should be allowed to caddie for the kids.
    Good parents make good golfers of their children and that’s undeniable.

  7. Crazy About Golf

    Jan 13, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Kind of a dumb policy. But, geez, let’s not pretend (Mr. Greenbaum) that this is some egregious violation of civil rights.

  8. Bert

    Jan 13, 2018 at 10:31 am

    During a junior tournament last year I watched a young girl continually demeaned by her dad every time she hit an errant shot. It was sad to watch a really good player cry as she completed her round. I believe it should always be a Condition of Competition that interaction between the parent and the player would be grounds for disqualification. But why would you disqualify a player for being continuous ridiculed. Parents should stay far away from the player, keep their expressions under control and never interact with the player.

    Just let them play!

  9. astout59

    Jan 13, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I played 4 years of high school class B golf in Montana and I had no issue with my mom and dad not being able to see me play other than coming up the last hole to the clubhouse or teeing off 1. I didn’t need a cheering section outside of my coaches and teammates and I doubt you’ll find many teenagers that disagree with me.

  10. Doobie

    Jan 13, 2018 at 4:03 am

    Yeah we can’t have outsiders come in and take over things and ruin it for the locals, can we, eh Yanks?

  11. Mat

    Jan 13, 2018 at 2:45 am

    I’m happy for the kids.

  12. Mj

    Jan 12, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Good ideaThere are manyWell meaning parents out thereWho knows zero about golf. I’m in assistant high school coat and I see it all the time. Are you staying in areas where no doubt the balls going to go. Many high school kids don’t know where the balls going. The parents don’t know the rules either.
    I think it’s a baseball game at one accuse other team of cheating etc. It’s just a major hassle for everyone involved including the kids

  13. Andrew

    Jan 12, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    There is nothing wrong with the existing rule. Unless you live in Montana, mind your own business. What is wrong is the herd of naive drones from California infesting Montana for 20 years and forgetting to leave their ignorant ideologies back in their dying land. These idiots tend to sue in lieu of taking responsibility for their ignorance. Imagine a lawsuit each tourney from some texting/tweeting drone walking wherever they feel like and getting hit by an errant shot.

    • Andrew

      Jan 12, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      PS. I’m sure the mentioned Scribe Greenbaum loves the possibility of suing others!

  14. Hawkeye77

    Jan 12, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Attorney is wrong, state high school authority can set the rules, just spouting off for media attention.

    It’s their issue, they know the facts and history that led up to the restrictions.

    Silly effort on another site to sign some petition as if “golf” in general should be pressuring a situation for which little real information is out there and is irrational overreaction.

    Social media society we live in and anyone can exploit it,

  15. HeineyLite

    Jan 12, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Great idea, there are some crazy over board golf parents!!! Me included…

    • 4right

      Jan 12, 2018 at 6:28 pm

      Agreed, I volunteer at junior events and wow, parents should stay away…

      • JR

        Jan 13, 2018 at 4:04 am

        I posted the same thing and my comment was deleted.

  16. Golfer123

    Jan 12, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    A lot of European junior tournaments have a policy where parents and spectators can only watch the golf on like the first tee, 18th green and every other hole which can be viewed from the clubhouse. This rule came about when parents were getting a little too ‘involved’ with their child’s play. I myself think thiat not being allowed on the course as a spectator/ parent is a good thing because it gives the players a chance to be more independent and make choices themselves on the course.

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19th Hole

Instagram Investigations: Impact Golf and Kyoei KK wedges #GolfWRX



Impact Golf posted a shot of a beautiful soon-to-be-released Kyoei KK wedge. Not having a clue what Impact Golf was, I did a little research. It turns out, Impact Golf is a golf facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The lead is kind of buried on this post, because Impact Golf Driving Range is the only aquatic driving range in Malaysia. Really. Check it out.

Members can get 100 range balls for about $3 US. The two-piece balls feature a low density center, so they float. Guess the range must sent out a boat with a cage on it to “pick” the balls?

Retail, club fitting, aquatic driving range, it looks like Impact Golf does it all. We salute you! Anyway, back to the post, here it is.

Kyoei Golf was founded by Tamaki Sakamoto, who got his start hauling trees by horse before hanging a shingle in the clubmaking business. He started Kyoei Golf Equipment Manufacturing with his brother-in-law.

The company describes its manufacturing evolution.

“Initially we used Stainless Steel. We polished stainless steel to finish our heads. Since Stainless Steel does not rust, we did not plate our heads. However, when we first saw a head made in America, we were shocked at how beautiful a finish they had. American made heads were made of Soft Carbon Steel and had plated finish. Since then, Kyoei also started to forge their heads in house and later invested in plating equipment. All of this was because of Tamaki’s goal of “Manufacturing the best head in Japan” He strongly believed that in order to produce good heads they needed to do their own forging and not just grinding. To produce good heads, they needed to do their own plating. Kyoei is still the only company in Japan with full forging to plating process capabilities.”

And how about this hustle?

“Tamaki took a few of his heads wrapped up in a “Furoshiki” wrapper (Traditional Japanese wrapping cloth) and showed them at the PGA show. “What do you think?” Even if he could not speak the language, they can see the quality in his products. This is how he gradually made Kyoei forged irons known in the U.S.”

Details on the upcoming Kyoei KK wedges are scarce, but one thing’s for sure: They’re darn good looking.

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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy on fan behavior: “It’s golf…there’s decorum, there’s etiquette.”



Last week, Rory McIlroy suggested the PGA Tour should curtail alcohol sales at tournaments. Now, he’s expanding on his thoughts in the wake of Commissioner Jay Monahan’s statements on the matter.

To refresh, regarding spectator imbibing, the 28-year-old said

“They [the PGA Tour] need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.”

Commissioner Jay Monahan, however, isn’t keen to dam the river of booze. In Monahan’s mind, golf is in a period of adjustment to new fans and is facing issues common in the world of sports.

McIlroy, speaking at the WGC-Dell Match Play appeared to walk back his remarks before disagreeing with the commish’s characterization of professional golf.

“I made my comments last week on St. Patrick’s Day when everyone was just a few too many deep. I don’t know, I’m all for people coming out here, having a good time. I don’t know. It depends.

“I think what happened to Justin Thomas at the Honda, that went over the line. I think that was too much. Because that’s not — it’s golf at the end of the day. It’s not football. There’s decorum, there’s etiquette, there’s a lot of that that goes on in golf. Not that it doesn’t go on in football, when you are on the field you can’t hear all that stuff. We’re a little thin rope that divides the fans from us, you can still hear what they are saying.”

Let’s drill down. McIlroy reaffirms his belief that what happened to Justin Thomas at the Honda Classic crossed a line. To refresh, Thomas was followed by a heckler who repeatedly jeered him and yelled for his ball to land in a bunker. Thomas had the man ejected.

Second, McIlroy points out that golfers and golf fans are held to a higher/different standard than players and fans in other sports. As we continue to wade through this debate, much rests on the idea that “it’s golf, not football.”

Proponents of increased sanctions and security measures will agree. Opponents, likely, will see this attitude as part of the problem plaguing the game.

Finally, McIlroy points at that, unlike football, basketball, baseball, etc, golf fans stand mere feet away from players in a largely silent environment, separated only by a rope and often without any formal security presence in the vicinity. Even those who are unconcerned by recent heckling incidents have to concede McIlroy’s point on the fundamental difference in atmosphere.

To this, we might add that the execution of a golf shot is more similar to drawing the bow back and shooting in archery than it is to drawing the ball back and throwing it on a football field.

What do you think about McIlroy’s remarks, GolfWRX members?


(h/t Geoff Shackelford for the McIlroy quote)

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19th Hole

Billy Horschel expresses concern about the current player-fan relationship on Tour



Billy Horschel is never shy about giving his opinion.

Appearing on the Playing Through Podcast earlier this week, Horschel commented on the trend of heckling on the PGA Tour. Horschel said if a fan insulted him personally, he might not be able to take the high road.

“I told the Tour, listen, if someone says something personal to me about my family that crosses the line, we’re gonna have an incident on our hands. Then you guys may take it seriously. I said, we’re one incident away from a player going into the crowd a little bit and handling a situation that has crossed the line.”

Going into the crowd a little bit? Just a little bit, not full Ron Artest, but a little bit.

All joking aside, what do you think about Billy Horschel’s remarks? The PGA Tour, which prides itself on the sportsmanship and character of its players, would have a real mess on its hands should a player go outside the ropes for a confrontation.

And who’s going to deal with that situation if it arises? This guy?

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