This proposed change is raising hackles among many longtime players of Grapevine Muni who love their walk. And it's creating consternation among some about the effects on junior golf. Mr. Dewey points out that course rules require golf cart drivers to be 18 years of age. Does that mean juniors will no longer be able to play on weekends (at least without the accompaniment of an adult)?
The USGA makes no bones about its stance on walking vs. riding. David Fay of the USGA has written:
"We strongly believe that walking is the most enjoyable way to play golf and that the use of carts is detrimental to the game. This negative trend needs to be stopped now before it becomes accepted that riding in a cart is the way to play golf."
Many traditionalists believe the only way to properly appreciate a golf course is to walk it. Many instructors believe walking improves your play, helping with the rhythms of the game and giving you time to see what lays ahead of you as you approach the next shot. And of course, there are the health benefits (not to mention the benefits to the course from keeping carts off the turfgrass).
Ostensibly, the Grapevine rule was recommended to improve pace of play. But often that reason is just a red herring. Golf courses love carts because they increase revenue. They do so by allowing the addition of that cart fee, and by allowing the pro shop to get more golfers onto the course.
But counterintuitively, carts often slow play, not speed it up. Because there are more golfers on the course, which leads to bottlenecks at par-3s and reachable par-5s.
This isn't intended as a diatribe against carts, which can be very helpful - even necessary - for some golfers. People who needs carts or simply prefer them should have access to them; people who prefer to walk should be allowed to walk.
Grapevine golfer Jeff Dodson and Grapevine High School golf coach Brian Humphreys are leading the effort to have the recommendation to ban walking on weekends dropped. If you'd like to offer your support of their position, visit their online petition.