"The fact, is golf isn't hungry. It talks hungry."

It's been too long since I've read an honest to goodness rant, but Bob Carney delivers on the GolfDigest.com editor's blog.

I'd just hate to have been Carney's keyboard after he and a buddy got turned away from Montauk Downs on a perfectly playable day (well, to Easterners anyway):

The fact, is golf isn't hungry. It talks hungry. It issues press releases as if it's hungry. But if it were really hungry, there would have been no question about golf on Sunday at Montauk Downs. If it were really hungry, there would be free clinics for kids every month at every public course. If it were really hungry, there would be after-school junior hours where kids could get access to local courses. If it were really hungry there would be nine-hole leagues for every conceivable human subdivision, from singles to sorority sisters, heck, maybe even six-hole leagues. If it were really hungry, I'd be writing about a crazy, gale-swept, laugh-out-loud, triple-digit round at Montauk on Sunday.

Golf ought to take a lesson from the Mom and Pop owners of the courses we grew up on who created couples outings, hit-and-giggle clinics, breakfast leagues, free hot dogs with rounds, you name it, to fill their "inventory". Or from Frank Thomas, the former USGA official whose new book, "Just Hit It", echoes this back-to-basics theme. "Golf really should be a simple and pleasant experience," says Frank. "The game began in nature," says Frank. "That's where we found satisfaction." Not in perfect conditions. Not even in big-name designs. That's all we wanted on Sunday, a little tussle with nature. Folks who understand why people play don't find reasons to shut their gates. They might warn us about the wet spots. But they enjoy crazies like Rich and me who would want to play in a 40-mile-an-hour wind. We're they're customers.
On the subject of participation levels, thanks to reader John for spotting Michelle Coursey's piece about dwindling numbers in New Zealand.