"Can this woman save Detroit’s public golf courses from extinction?"

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Great to see Golf.com’s Max Marcovitch use the opportunity provided by the Rocket Mortgage Classic to highlight the sad (and endangered) state of Detroit muni’s.

In particular, the Donald Ross-designed Rackham is in danger and Karen Peek is working to keep it going.

Rackham is six miles north of Detroit Golf Club, site of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. It doesn’t get the attention that DGC does but it has rich history of its own, extending back to its opening in 1923. Ben Davis, the first black head pro at a municipal course in the U.S., taught there for 50 years. Among his students was famed boxer Joe Louis, a Rackham regular. The two would play money matches. In the 1940s, Louis hosted an annual golf tournament at Rackham, aimed at showcasing talented black players.

Rackham is also where Peek fell in love with the game. As a kid, she convinced her best friend to attend a youth golf clinic with her at the course. Volunteer pros — Davis among them — painted small circles on the 1st fairway and had the juniors swing their clubs back and forth for one carefree hour. Peek was hooked. She recounts excitedly slinging her golf bag over her shoulder and riding her bike down to the course.

Fifty years later, the details flow with a nostalgic yearn. The clinics were a staple in a vibrant golfing community. For Peek, they were the gateway to her livelihood.

Average Age Update: Holding Steady For PGA Tour's 2018-19 Winners, A Touch Younger For FedExCup Top 20

With Chez Reavie’s dominating win at the Travelers Championship—and his reflections on the perseverance needed at times to sustain a career as detailed here by GolfDigest.com’s Brian Wacker—the 37-year-old helped maintained the trend of PGA Tour winners just on the coveted demo cusp.

Like Gary Woodland in the U.S. Open—another geezer at 35—each is the story of a player who had great potential and widely recognized talent, yet experienced more downs than ups before winning. Golf’s a weird, cruel game that way, which makes the suggestion of today’s youth being better prepared to win than ever more hype than fact.

Since the start of 2019, there have been nine winners in their 20s. Two won events opposite to more significant tournaments, one was a player who since turned 30 (Rory McIlroy) and another was Brooks Koepka, who is 29. At 25, Xander Schauffele is 2019’s younger winner on the PGA Tour and that was in January. Going back to the fall, Cameron Champ’s win at 23 makes him 2018-19’s youngest.

With Reavie’s victory at Travelers, the average age of 2018-19 PGA Tour winners holds steady at 33, while the top 20 in FedExCup points average 32.6.

There should be nothing wrong with golfers peaking in their 30s. Such a phenomenon, to the surprise of no one, would be something to celebrate as a reward for longevity and experience gained.

But as Eamon Lynch notes in this column juxtaposing the invasion of youth at the Travelers with one-time child phenom Michelle Wie’s suggestion she has little left in the tank, the youth (and the people pushing them to turn pro) can learn a thing or two about the big picture.

If we are seeing the truncating of Wie’s playing career, it is an aching loss for golf, and not just women’s golf. There is no more melancholy sight in sport than that of a sublime talent whose potential goes largely unrealized.

Wie is an exemplar of how the natural, joyous passion of a child can become the challenging, frustrating job of a professional. Yet by no measure have these been fruitless years. Whatever the capricious whims of golf inflicted, she is a winner, a Stanford graduate, a poised public figure even under intense scrutiny. That’s why, as Wie inches with characteristic grace toward the door marked ‘Exit’, young men like Hovland and Wolff who are entering the professional ranks would do well to learn from her example.

There will always be phenoms. But it’s still quite confounding to see the push to hype young players with so little appreciation for the long game in a sport that has generally seen few players peak young.

"Will Cool Clothes Make Young People Love Golf?"

In an NY Times Style piece, Sheila Marikar attends (with photos!) a Malbon Golf party at last week where the theme was to show how golf and fashion can make the sport more accessible to the hip-hop generation.

“Kids that are into fashion, hip-hop and music, they’re not into golf,” said Mr. Malbon. “It’s in danger of going where baseball is. Or think about bowling — bowling used to be lit.”

That might be a bit strong, but we get the point.

The "Team" Approach Files: Greller Takes A Strange Bullet From Spieth, Rickie Explains Why "We" Are Growing A Mullet

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With so many swing coaches, physios, agents, assistant agents, dieticians, physicists, psychics, baristas, sous chefs and children’s tennis coaches hovering around players, the tendency to talk about the we approach to golf seeps into the lingo more at majors.

Take first round 66-shooter Xander Schauffele’s reference to his major preparation:

Just the mentality changes, a little more focused coming into the week, extra preparation. You just kind of dive a little bit deeper into the properties. And I feel like the team and I have done a decent job of doing that.

Then there is Rickie Fowler explaining his mullet:

We're doing it for the PGA in May. We're calling it Mullet May. And we weren't doing it to, you know, get any extra attention or anything like that. It was for fun. And obviously we're not trying to look a good with it, it's just a fun thing. And I just thought it was a good way to, when asked about it, talk about our foundations.

It was Spieth’s outburst, however, that got the most round one attention and suggests the benefits of team membership aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Spieth, understandably fuming after his 4-iron lay-up at the 8th ran through the fairway into the water, was heard barking out, “Two perfect shots, Michael. You got me in the water on one and over the green on the other.”

Spieth explained the comments after an opening 72:

“We were talking about potentially one less [club on the third shot], and I said, ‘But isn’t it playing about 60 with a fade?’ And then he said yes,” Spieth said. “So we both agreed on that. It was clearly a 4-iron off the tee. At the same time, when you hit a couple of shots exactly where you want to, and the first one is in the water and the next one is dead over the green, I’m going to be frustrated that as a team we didn’t figure out how to make sure that didn’t happen.”

We meaning, you Michael…

Five Families Slow Play Talks To Resume At The Open, Center On Ways To Make Slow Golfers Go Faster

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If there is one thing to like about the youth obsessed Five Families of golf, it’s that they recognize the kids do not dig watching people stand around. At least, let’s hope that’s what the children of executives are saying since that amounts to their focus group testing.

With that in mind, Alistair Tait looks at the European Tour’s efforts and potential for more as they recognize the urgency more than any other golf organization. Slow play hater Edoardo Molinari was called into the headmaster’s office and says we may see action soon from Chief Executive Keith Pelley.

“I obviously can’t tell what was said in that meeting, but something will be put in place,” Molinari added. “There will be something coming through in the next month.”

Pelley told Golfweek that steps are being taken.

“What has to happen is we collectively as administrators have to get on the same page on slow play because it isn’t just a European Tour issue,” Pelley said. He added that administrators from the European Tour, USGA, R&A and PGA Tour met in April in Augusta, Ga., to discuss the issue. Talks will resume at the British Open at Royal Portrush.

“There is a will to tackle this issue across the game,” Pelley said.

Digest's USGA Confidential: Golf Pros And Their Entourages Vent, Rip And Choose Not To Be Named

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As someone who has done his share of USGA, uh, critiquing, I found the Golf Digest “USGA Confidential” an interesting read at times. However, I can’t help but think most readers will come away finding golf pros and their “teams” to be inconsistent, a tad greedy and unsatisfiable even in the face of obvious mistakes, some of them colossal ones.

Particularly since the elephant in the room—regulating a distance explosion overwhelming courses—is a non-starter for a large percentage of players.

By the end of their venting, I was exhausted, in part because no single person willingly putting their name on such strong views. The totality could leave some readers USGA-sympathetic and annoyed by the understandably-annoyed golfers.

The headline-maker from the impressive effort of gathering 57 voices—35 current players and 16 major champions—was talk of an organized U.S. Open boycott. An unnamed player named names of potential boycotters:

MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNER: We had about 10–15 guys who were willing to sit out after 2016. Some of them were big names—Dustin was one, Rory was another.

ANOTHER MAJOR CHAMPION AND FORMER WORLD NO. 1: I was prepared to do it [take part in a boycott]. Absolutely.

ANOTHER MAJOR CHAMPION: I was one of them.

MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNER: I would have boycotted if it had come to that. If it wasn't a major, I wouldn't play it, and a lot of other guys feel that way.

MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNER: I figure we needed about 25 guys, and I think we could have gotten there based on what I was hearing from players. Really, just one would have done it, but Tiger wasn't playing at the time. Without us, they don't have a tournament.

Actually, it’s a 156-player field with a majority of the spots earned by qualifiers and would have continued on with the same purse and 156 players.

That the “stars” of the game think they could somehow shut down the U.S. Open, yet are unwilling to sign their name to the view, suggests a level of isolation from reality that might run deeper than we imagined.

Sorry boys, but only one player on the planet pulling a protest no-show would have significant meaning.

As for course setup issues, this collection speaks to the can’t-win issues facing the USGA in trying to balance a sense of fairness, difficulty and creativity in a game overwhelmed by modern distances.

MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNER: I miss the U.S. Opens of old, where you had narrow fairways and thick rough, and it tested everything.

FORMER EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN: The old DNA was worth defending. It had always been that way. The majors should pose different questions. The Open is about the weather. The Masters is about the course. The PGA is a more difficult PGA Tour event. And the U.S. Open is about narrow fairways. What makes Grand Slam winners so great is that they've passed all four tests.

WINNER OF MORE THAN 20 EUROPEAN TOUR EVENTS: The U.S. Open was always the fairest of the four majors. It was tough, but only bad shots were punished. As we saw at Paris [in the 2018 Ryder Cup], that's the way forward.

FORMER EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN: The Ryder Cup last year was more about accuracy, and the Americans couldn't hit the ball straight. At Erin Hills, the fairways were 60 yards wide. That's not a U.S. Open. But the USGA has adapted to the modern game rather than making the game adapt to the U.S. Open. If a 280-yard drive straight down the middle was most beneficial, no one would be hitting drives 350 yards. Straight should be as important as long.

MULTIPLE EUROPEAN TOUR WINNER: The wide-fairways thing is not working. Too many guys have no chance if you don't hit it 350 yards off the tee.

Got all of that?

Finally, the notion of the USGA building permanent, 8,500 yard venues on the coasts, first floated by CBS’s Peter Kostis many years ago, offered up the world’s golf architects for free to design the facilities and end the practice of going to golf’s iconic venues. Of course, it’s a fine idea in terms of practicalities but a dreadful notion to throw out history, character and golf’s ties to its past so that distance can go unregulated.

Kostis surfaced with the idea again, followed by many more who reinforce how all of this whining, inconsistency and silliness could all be solved with a 10% reduction in distance and a foot or so off the Stimpmeter speeds.

TEACHER OF MULTIPLE MAJOR CHAMPIONS: I said this a long time ago and was ridiculed: I would prefer for the USGA to buy land on the East Coast of the U.S. and on the West Coast of the U.S., then build two facilities for the U.S. Open. Each would have four courses. And each one would be designed to present the examination they wish to present to the players. If they want tight fairways and long rough, so be it. They're entitled to conduct their championships any way they want. So build courses to fit that ideal, whatever it might be. If they did that, they would stop ruining the classic courses by trying to jerry-rig them.

Like I said, there is a lot to Digest in this one and most of it leaves you wondering if there are many Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and a few others who will put the game above themselves.

Latest Green Reading Book Silliness: NCAA Championship Official Book Deemed Non-Conforming On Event Eve

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Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols details the latest fiasco with non-banned-but-should-be green reading materials”: official yardage books from the NCAA Division I women’s championships are non-conforming. By 1/16th of an inch. On ten of the holes.

“We’re just going to go to Office Depot and get some sticker labels and cover up all 18 of them,” said Purdue coach Devon Brouse.

Officials didn’t specify which of the 10 holes were in violation.

The new interpretation for Rule 4.3a, which went into effect Jan. 1, stipulates that players may use a putting-green map during play, but it must be “limited to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480).”

The original green reading book ban discussions would have been more restrictive, but the USGA and R&A watered things down a bit, and now we have the same information, only smaller. Most of the time.

Just ban them and get it over with!

Tiger On Hitting His Numbers, Five Hours As A Grow The Game Killer

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Tiger Woods was in good spirits to kick off his return to Bethpage Black and the 2019 PGA Championship, touching on an array of topics from Olympic golf (nice if it happens) to the state of his game and the Black Course. Steve DiMeglio with the full round-up here for Golfweek.

Two quotes stood out in his comments.

Q. You haven't gone major to major without playing all that often in your career, but as you look ahead now, is it something you might consider doing more often? And just sort of how do you weigh the need for reps versus the need for rest at this point?

TIGER WOODS: You know, that's a great question because the only other time where I've taken four weeks off prior to major championships is going from the British Open to the PGA. Usually that was my summer break, and take those four weeks off and then get ready for the PGA, Firestone and the fall. So I'm always looking for breaks. Generally it's after the Masters I used to take four weeks off there. Now, with the condensed schedule, it's trying to find breaks.

You know, I wanted to play at Quail Hollow, but to be honest with you, I wasn't ready yet to start the grind of practicing and preparing and logging all those hours again. I was lifting -- my numbers were good. I was feeling good in the gym, but I wasn't mentally prepared to log in the hours.

Ok first we had players wanting to his certain Trackman numbers. Now gym numbers?

Coming here is a different story. I was able to log in the hours, put in the time and feel rested and ready. That's going to be the interesting part going forward; how much do I play and how much do I rest. I think I've done a lot of the legwork and the hard work already, trying to find my game over the past year and a half. Now I think it's just maintaining it. I know that I feel better when I'm fresh. The body doesn't respond like it used to, doesn't bounce back quite as well, so I've got to be aware of that.

And this seemed to be a nice statement for those leading the game who insist there is nothing wrong with five hour rounds, or slow play in general.

Q. Tiger, more minorities and young women are taking up the sport than before because of all of the initiatives in place, but that isn't reflected in the college participation numbers. Asians are the only minorities that are showing an increase. What do you think is happening? Why aren't the kids who are taking up the game sticking with it?

TIGER WOODS: You know, that's the question for all of us that's been a difficult one to figure out, to put our finger on. The First Tee has done an amazing job of creating facilities and creating atmospheres for kids to be introduced to the game, but also have some type of sustainability within the game.

But it's difficult. There are so many different things that are pulling at kids to go different directions. Golf is just merely one of the vehicles.

Now, with today's -- as I said, there's so many different things that kids can get into and go towards that honestly playing five hours, five and a half hours of a sport just doesn't sound too appealing. That's one of the things that we've tried to increase is the pace of play and try and make sure that's faster, because most of us in this room, if you've gone probably five minutes without checking your phone, you're jonesing. Kids are the same way; five hours on a golf course seems pretty boring.

Return To Bethpage Begins The Wind-Down On Muni's As Major Hosts

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The state of New York’s glorious Bethpage State Park hosts this week’s 2019 PGA Championship and the 2024 Ryder Cup, while Harding Park is site of next year’s PGA. Throw in one US Open at a true public venue—2021 at Torrey Pines—and that’s about it in the way of muni’s hosting majors. The foreseeable future has been lined up for both the PGA and U.S. Open, with clubs or upscale resort courses the focus.

As I write for Golfweek, it’s been a mixed-bag in terms of success rate and benefits for the facilities. But it’s also clear that the cost to host and list of potential venues has shrunken due to the bench press and gluten free diets of today’s better athletes.

But do not despair, as I make the case that these majors at muni’s spawned interest in restoring classic public courses, with a tip of the cap to the new National Links Trust and efforts around the country.

Q&A With Ben Crenshaw On The State Of Putting

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For Golfweek’s May putting issue, I couldn’t help but ask Ben Crenshaw all sorts of grumpy old man questions like why can’t these kids put like you used to, what’s with these silly green reading books and what happened to all the blade putters?

I enjoyed this answer to a question about how to get kids developing their putting:

Crenshaw: Putting contests, I always thought, were great. Harvey encouraged that. Having to putt against someone and go around the clock. There’s no better practice, because you’re putting something on the line, you’re competing. When you’re putting at different holes, that’s what golf is. When I was a kid, I found about eight balls out on the golf course. I went up to the putting green by myself, and I hit this one putt about an hour. Same putt, over and over. Harvey said, “Ben, I see what you’re doing. Your stroke looks pretty good, but you’ll never have that putt again the rest of your life. Putt to different holes.” You see young people do that in practice. They get the chalk out with straight lines and all that stuff.

State Of The Game 93: A.W. Tillinghast's PGA "Tour" With The PGA of America's Bob Denney, Plus Other Vital Stuff

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As we approach the PGA Championship there will be the inevitable discussion about A.W. Tillinghast’s role in the course’s final outcome. While that’s certainly a fun debate to have, the PGA of America’s first trip to Bethpage-Black offers a chance to revisit Tillinghast’s later-in-life work for the organization.

The PGA “Tour” started as a nice consulting job for the organization he was a longtime friend of, but became a major odyssey that sent the famed architect to around 500 courses to a wide variety of suggestions and assessments. You can read Tillinghast.net’s excellent description here with a list of courses.

I have worked with Golf Channel on a feature about this and Tillinghast’s fairly anonymous last years that will air a few times in the coming days, first on the CBS presentation of the “Road to the PGA.” That show re-airs Monday night on Golf Channel.

In the mean time, Rod Morri, Mike Clayton and I were joined by the PGA of America’s Bob Denney, who has preserved the bound volumes of Tillinghast correspondences and notes made by headquarters. These historic letters have moved around a lot and the golf world owes a debt of gratitude to Bob and the PGA for saving them (digital versions of most can be seen here thanks to the Tillinghast team of Wolfe, Wolfe, and Trebus!).

Here’s the pod! As always you can get it wherever fine pods are streamed, or here at the iTunes store.

Jason Day's Ball Speed Drops 13 MPH Using The Original Taylor Made Metal Wood

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Nice bit of data posted here by Golf.com’s Luke Kerr-Dineen of Jason Day on the Quail Hollow range after the Aussie hit the original Taylor Made driver.

Day’s current 2019 PGA Tour ball speed average is 177.2. His clubhead speed average is 118 mph, but in a follow up Tweet posted a screen shot showing a 111 clubhead speed with the much smaller head (275cc?).

No word on how Athleticism and Agronomy are feeling right now after a simple change in driver head size ate into the huge advantages they’ve given today’s players.

Introducing The National Links Trust: "To promote and protect Affordability, Accessibility and engaging golf course Architecture at municipal golf courses"

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Good on Outpost Club co-founder Will Smith and Michael McCartin for building on the many great efforts nationally to restore run-down munis by starting the National Links Trust. Give them a follow on social and check out their excellent website along with the embedded podcast discussion with Andy Johnson.

For the legions who have long wondered how to get a movement going to rejuvenate the muni’s with great bones but little else, they’re looking to build on the Winter Park’s and Save Muni efforts of our golf world. They’re starting with a focus on D.C. area gems but hope to spread the gospel of restoration and architecture “growing the game".

Our first project will focus on the incredible opportunity to improve the facilities of our nation’s capital’s three municipal golf courses, East Potomac, Langston and Rock Creek. Each one of these sites has a rich and storied history, but none of them are currently living up to their potential. The National Park Service will soon be issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP) on a long term lease to operate these facilities. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and the NLT’s goal is to ensure that the proper course of action is taken to improve and ultimately protect these national treasures. 

Here’s the iTunes link or find the Fried Egg podcast wherever fine pods are streamed.

There Is Life After 30 In Golf: Even With C.T. Pan's Win, 2019 PGA Tour Winner Average Age Holds Steady At 33

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C.T. Pan’s win at the RBC Heritage yesterday capped off a slow-developing career considering he came from the vaunted Class of 2011, won eight times at Washington and has been lumped with a group of golfers who have performed incredibly well at a young age.

But 2019 continues to serve as a reminder that this class might be an anomaly. Pan actually developed into a winner at a more traditional age—27.

Nonetheless, we see college golfers increasingly encouraged to leave school early because they have multiple entities looking to cash in on some fleeting signing bonuses. Many talented but not fully developed players are convinced they are good enough to earn money in seven starts, gain a PGA Tour card and be on their merry way.

Other forces convince younger players they are better prepared to win and cope with the difficult career of playing golf than any generation before them. You know the narratives, they’ve never been smarter, more athletic or surrounded by more knowledgable people. That may be the case. But often that messaging is rooted in a desire by executives to cut into the older viewership averages or is fueled by golf’s overall sense of desperation that without people under 35, the whole thing may crater at any minute.

Careers are derailed or extreme pressures are inflicted simply to push players who might attract a more favorable advertising demographic. Yet the names are piling up of talented players given bad advice, while the average age for PGA Tour winners this year reminds us that golf—at least the winning variety for males—is often best produced in your thirties, not your twenties.

Following Pan’s win, the 2018-19 PGA Tour average age of winners is 33.08.

If you take the schedule since Kapalua, when the field quality and course difficulty ratcheted up several notches, the average age of winners is 34.1.

State Of The Game 91: Post Masters Wrap

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Rod Morri, Mike Clayton and I gathered to chat about the Masters and other golf stuff, but ended up just still talking mostly about the Masters, Tiger’s win, the course and for those drinking at home, distance matters. “

Here’s the show’s iTunes page for Apple fans, though the show is available on all pod platforms.

Here is an embed option as well:

Tiger Effect: And Now The Inevitable Golf-Can't-Attract-Millennials-Stories Begin To Roll In

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We didn’t even get a week of enjoyment out of Tiger Woods’ uplifting Masters win before writers and analysts had to remind us how the the only people who matter prefer E Sports and soccer. Newsflash!

Conclusion: golf is doomed and might as well just fold up the tent.

It feels like we’ve done these stories for over a decade now. Sadly, the golf world listens and we’ve had to watch various businesses flush years of credibility, service and solid profits in a quest to reach this precious audience while neglecting others in the name of pursuing the previous M’s. Certainly there are issues for the sport, but you’d hope by now that the focus would shift from all that the sport is not able to achieve for the M’s and accept that golf is not the cause of issues preventing millennials from having the time or income to spend on a leisure activity. Or even pay their taxes.

So on the cusp of somewhat positive industry news released this week and signs that Topgolf has at least made the sport an aspiration for the M’s, we have the dreaded analysts telling us otherwise.

Lauren Silva Laughlin in the Wall Street Journal notes the lack of “contact and action that lures viewers” and the average age of golf’s television demo (65). She notes the usual stuff about course closures and M’s not taking up the sport. And even says Tiger just doesn’t have what it takes.

Sports’ star power is changing, too. The latest sports hero is a 27-year-old, blue-haired electronic gamer named Ninja, a player of the popular videogame “Fortnite.” He recently received his own figurine line and was named in Time’s 2019 list of 100 most influential people.

Even compared with athletes that move their heart rate beyond a resting state, golfers are old, relatively. The average player of baseball, another sport known as a less spry bunch, is 14 years Mr. Woods’s junior.

Looked at another way, the last millennial was born a year before Mr. Woods won his first Masters tournament in 1997, if Pew Research’s age benchmarks are used. When his extramarital scandal hit tabloids, they were rounding out junior high. Mr. Woods could be golf’s savior. More likely, though, in the eyes of a millennial, he’s just another aging putter.

Sheena Butler-Young was on top of the M’s narrative on Monday after the Masters and talks to various analysts who see no hope for the sport that dates to Mary Queen of Scots.

“There’s nobody in golf that’s totally capturing everybody’s imagination right now,” Poser said, adding that Puma athlete and PGA golfer Rickie Fowler has perhaps the biggest potential to draw in younger players. “The majority of the [sports’] fans aren’t the young fans. If you think about it, a lot of millennials don’t have the time and money to do it.”

Yes, we’ve known that a while but it doesn’t stop grown adults from making terrible decisions based on what their kids tell them at the dinner table.

Similarly, Powell counted a laundry list of reasons why millennials and Gen Z won’t take the baton from their parents and grandparents and carry golf into the future.

“The values of the game of golf just aren’t [akin] to the way millennials do sport: The rules are complicated. It takes a long time to play. It’s not inclusive. It’s not diverse. Representation of minorities is low. Golf courses smell like a chemical factory to keep them green. I could go [on],” he said, noting millennials and Gen Z aren’t likely to ditch their core values as they age and adopt the sport later.

Of course he’s not totally wrong on the values front, but we do know the industry has made huge changes in recent years on multiple fronts. Not to time it takes and probably not diversity, but golf courses are definitely not smelling like a “chemical factory” either.

The bigger question, how many more years do we have to endure these articles before we just focus on how Generation Z won’t take up or play golf? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready!

The Death Of Hazard, All Square, Dormie And Halve Not Sitting Well

Last week’s match play and next week’s Masters prompted a couple of pieces worth your time on the changing language in the game. While everyone was for simplifying the rules, increasingly folks are not warming up to the idea of simplifying the language of golf. Particularly since so many golf terms are part of the every day lexicon.

For example, to be living under par suggests you aren’t feeling well. But I digress.

David Normoyle in a special to Golfweek expresses his dismay at the death of the hazard and the timeless word now replaced with penalty area.

Personally, I’m not looking forward this April to the first time a player takes on the corner of the 13th hole at Augusta National, with its famous tributary lying in wait to capture the carelessly played shot, only to have the television commentator suggest the fate of the Masters may hinge on whether the ball finds the meandering “penalty area” to the left of the fairway or not.

What would Herbert Warren Wind say about his beloved Amen Corner being defined each year not by the players who fell victim to the confounding hazard that is Rae’s Creek but rather those who cautiously negotiated the yellow penalty areas on their way to victory?

Golfweek’s Alistair Tait points out that during the Sky broadcast of the Dell Match Play, the announce team did not acknowledge the preferred new match play terminology. As Tait writes, “he language of golf is part of its allure” and with a history of some words dating back to Mary Queen of Scots’ day—caddie for instance, some are not ready to say goodbye to several terms.

Sadly, there is no mention of all-square in the new rule book. It’s been quietly deleted in the supposed attempt to make the game more accessible to new players. Maybe the governing bodies think the game’s going to become populated by morons incapable of understanding simple terms like all-square and halved.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that wonderful, unique to golf term “dormie” is edited out of the next edition of the rule book even though it’s been in existence since Mary Queen of Scots pondered the benefits of an overlapping grip over a ten-finger one.

USGA Looks At The Threat Against Lions Muni

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Longtime readers know my feelings on Lions Muni and the greed-driven University of Texas’ desire to plow the place for development, so it’s wonderful to see the Save Muni movement here is strong. And emboldened by many high profile supporters, including the USGA. The course was granted another one-year reprieve as supporters look for a solution.

Mike Trostel writes the backstory of the course and its incredible history.

Lions is the course of police officers, bartenders and school teachers, but on any given day you might see former University of Texas football coach Mack Brown playing nine with his buddies or actor Matthew McConaughey on the driving range with his son. It has also hosted some of the biggest names in the game, including Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Sandra Haynie, Betsy Rawls and Tom Kite.

Lions has long been one of the city’s most popular courses, logging about 60,000 rounds per year. It also hosts Texas' oldest amateur tournament, the Firecracker Open, played annually over the Fourth of July weekend. But the course’s significance goes far beyond the golfers it currently serves.

And of course, it’s still about the money, as always…

The core issue is money. Currently, the city of Austin pays approximately $500,000 per year for the use of the land. UT, however, values use of the land at roughly $6 million annually. The question is whether a compromise can be reached.

Defining what constitutes “advancing and promoting University education” is also a significant uncertainty. On one hand, the land could be viewed as a much-needed solution to UT’s student housing problem or allow the school to expand its academic resource centers and laboratories.

But the cost of developing the land where Lions sits isn’t solely measured in dollars.

The piece is accompanied by this short feature:

Tiger: "Look at these heads, 460 cc's, you hit the ball anywhere on the face and have it go 300 yards."

Just my read from his comments yesterday, which were similar to remarks made at The Players. But it sounds like he’s inching closer to thinking a de-skilling has occurred at the top level with 460 cc drivers.

From hjs pre-WGC Dell Match Play press session outside the Austin CC clubhouse:

Q. How would you describe the level of competition now in 2019?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that equipment has made it smaller. The margin is much smaller than it used to be. Now look at these heads, 460 cc's, you hit the ball anywhere on the face and have it go 300 yards. Before it put a premium on good ball-strikers to hit the ball in the middle of the face each and every time. And there was a distinction between the guys who could do that and the guys who couldn't. And that's no longer the case.

It promotes people swinging harder. Teeing the ball higher, swinging harder and hitting the ball further. And the old shot of hitting just a squeezier, low, heelie cut in play, that's no longer the case. Guys are trying to maximize distance off the tee, to try and carry that number 300, 320, 330 in the air. And it's become a game that's played more up in the air than it ever used to be.

Any day now we’re going to have teh 360 cc Driver Open…