Saturday, October 18, 2008

Group Fighting Proposed Walking Ban at Grapevine Muni

Reader John Dewey sent in a note about a situation brewing in Grapevine, where the Grapevine Golf Advisory Board has recommended banning walking on weekends at the municipal golf course. Another group has created an online petition opposing the move.

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.

3 comments:

  1. You nailed the issue behind mandating golf carts on weekends...increased revenue. Unfortunately, in this economy we are going to see more of this time of bad managing of golf facilities...if they cut the cost of the salaries of the people who approved tthey would not need to increase revenue.

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  2. Grapevine Club Champion6:30 AM

    Mandating Golf Carts at Grapevine Golf Course for pace of play is counter intuitive. Getting a tee time at GGC is already difficult on a Weekend, and the Grapevine Staff does a terrific job of getting the groups on the course on time. Therefore, the only way to increase pace of play is to have less golfers (ride or walk) on the course, period (which I believe they will with carts only). This idiotic ideology only hurts the greens crew, who provide a wonderful golf course, and the pro shop crew who make it happen at GGC. For the Grapveine and DFW Communities, I hope the Grapevine City Council will put a stop this rule.

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  3. Bogey McDuff was correct about the pace of play being a red herring.

    A Grapevine government insider confied to me the details of what the golf course proposed to the City Council. All weekend golfers would be charged for golf carts, but not be required to use them. Two Golf Advisory Board members had insisted that pace of play was the entire issue. It appears that the golf course pulled a bait and switch on the Advisory Board.

    Word is out that the golf course management, after "suggestions" from city managers, will be going back to the Golf Advisory Board to clear things up.

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