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Nonsense or Common Sense

Greetings Golfers,

In 1914, John Alexander Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford, said “ if you work hard and intelligently, you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot, and that in my view is the main, if not the sole purpose of education.”

How good is that? All day, every day … we are bombarded with ads and news stories and people telling us stories … we better be able to discern “when a man is talking rot”.

Recently, I was asked to review a manual for people interested in buying a golf course. It was not “rot”. It was spot-on.

As I replied to the writers, most people who buy a restaurant don’t really know what they’re getting themselves into. It consumes their life … the constant problems, the expenses, the pressure, and the never ending long hours … and they can’t walk away … they’re invested and on the hook.

Well, owning a golf course is that times 10. Maybe I’m exaggerating … but I’m not speaking rot.

Think about it … it includes a restaurant, and a shop, and a range, and 150 acres of land, and a maintenance facility, and daily play, and leagues, and events … and the other usual parts of business such as budgeting, accounting, legal, marketing, and staff.

I guess it’s just all fun & games. Like the people who buy a resort Up North and never have the time to fish.

They asked for a quote, so I said something to effect of “that what new owners really need, is to figure out who their market is and nail it so that their course feels like home to that market. That aspect is the most challenging, yet the most satisfying, and the key to success”.

On that same vein, I want to talk about Rory McIroy’s comments last week. Rory thought the golf powers-that-be were wasting time and money on researching the effect that distance is having the game. He said that other things are more important for the health of golf and to grow the game.

I basically agree. However, I do believe that the modern drivers and ball have hurt golf at the Tour level.

Imagine if Major League Baseball players could use metal softball bats. The game as we know it would be ruined. Half-hit balls would still be home-runs. And solid hits would fly out of the stadium. The game would become ridiculous and would need ball parks … and we couldn’t compare previous feats and records to the new game.

That’s not improving. That’s going backward. Just because something is new, doesn’t mean it’s better.

That sort of thinking is “rot”.

Golf needs to seriously look at “bifurcation” … Tournament Golf and Recreational Golf are two different games. And should not be governed with the same rules.

MLB and Recreational Softball are two different games.

Golf course owners should put pressure on golf’s powers-that-be … for the good of the game.

As I said … know your market … well, the market for 99% of golf courses is not the PGA Tour … it’s recreational golfers.

Though Professor Smith made his pronouncement back in 1914 … his point will never change … we need to know when “a man is talking rot” … and the golf world is full of a lot of agendas that are not good for the game.

Golf needs more people with common sense.


Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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Deer Run Golf Club
8661 Deer Run Drive
Victoria, MN 55386
(952) 443-2351

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