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The Lesson Tee: Respecting the game of golf

Rod Sims

Back in 1963, Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead competed in a stroke-play match at Pebble Beach. Nicklaus was 23 years old and Snead was 51. The match was televised on “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” and you can still view the film on YouTube today.

Nicklaus won the match by one stroke, however, Snead was leading most of the way. Two champions, young and old, made it a very interesting golf game. I still watch the video now and then and appreciate the sportsmanship. Both players were great examples for the rest of us.

Recently, I was watching YouTube and discovered that there are way too many videos about “golfers having fun” without due respect for the traditions of golf, the etiquette of golf, respect for the facilities, and respect for the equipment they use. Golf should not be about driving golf carts recklessly, slamming on the brakes, and causing injury to anyone. Golf should not be about damaging equipment or property. We all need to show some class and be respectful of the game and to others.

On the bright side, it’s nice to see golfers on the course again, using the practice putting green, using the chipping green and the practice range.

One of my longtime golf partners seems to hit more balls deep into the trees than ever before. He claims that he is “social distancing.”

One day last week, we all thought he was becoming more anti-social. Finally, he shows up on the tenth green only to leave his 30-footer 15 feet short.

He sometimes claims that the greens are too slow, or sometimes too fast, or too bumpy, and the cups are too small. Lately, we see him with a new or different putter in his bag every week. I often wonder if changing putters every week really makes a difference.

I recently saw his “putter of the week” go flying and land a few feet short of the pond on hole number seven. All I could think was, “never up, never in.”

Rod Sims is the PGA Teaching Professional at Mount Shasta Resort. He would love to hear from you. Rod can be reached at (209) 329-5634.