Growing The Game---I spent lots of time over the last holiday season thinking about how golf has gone so far backwards in the last few years and what I not only can do about it, but what others can do as well.
Yes, there is still a pulse in the game, but barely. We are often fooled by all the great players we see on TV, many which now look like NASCAR drivers with endorsements all over their clothing and the huge money they rake in, sometimes for even playing poorly.
I am not worried about them. They have it made it in most cases and many have worked hard to get where they are indeed. And I am not worried about amateur golfers, there is still plenty of great places to play golf, both on the public and private side, sometimes at extremely great rates.
The worry comes big time from people who want to learn how to play golf. They in many instances are stuck. We are truly in a situation right now where the game is growing at a negative rate. And not that many people seem to really care. That is why I have the utmost respect for David Ogrin, our resident golf lesson expert in Crawford's Clubhouse, who as an instructor, is so committed to growing the game of golf. Same goes for Jim Gibbons, our rules expert, who cares so much about keeping the integrity in the game.
Sadly, there are not enough Ogrins and Gibbons in the world. We need to grow the game, we can't just sit around and let it die. We need to burn the death certificate. That is why today and previous days, I often write about this subject. The readers of CSNNW.com and Crawford's Clubhouse for the most part are brilliant. That is why today, I am challenging all of you, tell me in an email or our comment section, what is wrong with golf. But also, keep the glass half full, what can we do to attract more people to the game. I also challenge all of you to introduce the game to relatives, friends, co-workers. Give them a chance to see how great it is.
I can tell you in closing this section, I am not going to stop writing about this issue, but at the same time, this is where you can help. I will always share your ideas, we can turn this around, just because there are more YOU(s), than CAN'T(s). As we start this golf season out for 2013, let's get going and let's keep going. Golf is great, let's bring it back big time, starting right now.
Golf Lesson---As mentioned, we are lucky to have David Ogrin giving us a lesson tip often in Crawford's Clubhouse. As a multiple winner on the PGA Tour and now one of America's top instructors, he can help your game, so enjoy his answers to your questions.
"David, in general how many tournaments should an amateur enter in a year or quality of tournaments to get better. I am a 12 handicapper?" Bridget---Phoenix, Arizona
"Bridget this is a wonderful question. My first inclination is a warning, golf takes it toll on everyone's body. I can promise you the time the big guns are taking off right now is needed to allow their bodies to recover. Tiger would have very little chance as being as good as he is, by playing them all. If I were you I would pick six events that are the most important to you, six MAJORS. The state Am, the club championship, the member/guest and the city Am would be good examples.
Then I would look between those events and find an event that you like to play as a preparation event for those majors. In this model those are 12 weeks. Then it sounds as if you want to compete a little I would enter either the US AM qualifying and US Public Links Championship qualifying if eligible. My thought on the quality of the tournament to me is not so much about the event, but it is about you. Within reason I have played every event with the same care whether it was the US Open or a Senior Mini Tour. In other words YOU are the quality.
Another thought, if if you have time to find my friends in Phoenix since you are there, Kathy Cornelius at Ocotillio or Lynn Mariott and Pia Nilsson at Talkingstick, can help you take the 12 to a 10, then to an 8." All the best, David Ogrin.
LPGA---As I told you a month past, despite many doubts, the LPGA will be back in the Portland metro area in 2013. It was announced this week by the LPGA, that the tournament as of now, will be called the Portland Classic, presented by Safeway. The LPGA stop in Portland is without question the longest greatest consecutive sporting event in the state of Oregon. It only succeeds cause of great men and women, who volunteer their time with Tournament Golf Foundation, to not only birng us year in and out an awesome sporting event, but at the same time contribute so much to charity.
Still up in the air for this year is the status of how Safeway will be involved and it not totally out of the question per my sources, the fact Safeway could still be the title sponsor. But for now, they are the presenting sponsor, which basically boils down in the sports world, they are making less of a financial commitment. But do not knock them, Safeway has done a tremendous job with this tournament for years and is an iconic company in this country and Canada. They need to be saluted.
As I have said lately, if the guys and gals at TGF ever did want to say, we are going fishing, they too have more than earned the trip. They are not ending their support right now, but someday I could easily see them saying, it is time to rest, let someone else run this thing and we are passing the torch.
The tournament does need a title sponsor to survive however, whether it be Safeway or someone else. It is challenging times in the sports business, especially for the LPGA, so here is hoping all the best, as awesome sports events in the state of Oregon are few and far between, so we need to keep all we have. This should be watched closely, not only by golf fans, but fans of good business and sports.
Golf Rules---How great is it to have JIm Gibbons answering rules questions in Crawford's Court. For new readers, Jim is one of foremost golf rules experts in the world today and is the retired executive director of the Oregon Golf Association.
"Jim, any new rules us golfers should be aware of or concerned about for the 2013 season?" Thanks, Jeff--Raymond, Washington.
"Jeff, this is a question that comes up often at the beginning of each year. To answer so that you will best understand, let us first look at the different "levels" of the Rules of Golf. In the Rules of Golf, there are 34 rules, along with Definition, Appendices and Amateur Status Rules. To better understand the intent of each rule, there is a book, Decisions on the Rules of Golf. This book provides about 700 interpretations on the rules and the many related aspects.
The actual 34 rules are only changed or modified every 4 years, almost never at other times. The many decisions can be changed every 2 years. If a situation were to present itself that was certainly unfair, then there might be an interpretation of a decision made before the two year period came about. That happened two years past when the rule of the ball in the bunker restricted the player or caddy from raking the bunker, or any similar bunker, prior to making a shot from the bunker. A tour pro hit his ball that was outside of the bunker into a bunker 200 yards away. The caddy raked the bunker where the stance was. Because he had not yet played from the the forward bunker, there was a penalty for raking a similar bunker prior to playing the shot within a bunker. For sure, unfair, the ruling bodies made a change in interpretation in the the middle of the two year cycle.
The ruling bodies are the USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Society (the R&A). Representatives of these two bodies along with selected rules experts convene each year at the major golf tournaments to discuss and review rules situations. They then on the scheduled times make alterations on rules or decisions. If you buy a current rule book, it will cover the rules from 2012-2015. The next change in decisions will come in 2014. By the way the length in time between changes is because many parts of different rules have interrelated consequences that could affect another rule unintentionally. Care is taken to avoid that from happening.
If you want to be more confident while you play, study the rules or take a rules class. Information on classes in the USGA website or through your local association." Thanks---Jim Gibbons