Monday, January 16, 2006

Golf without balls?

Michelle Wie missed the cut by four strokes last week in a men's golf tournament played at her home course. Annika Sorensen has failed a number of times to make the cut in men's tournaments over the past couple of years.

Lady golfers in Ireland are still trying to force their way into full membership at Portmarnock, the last bastion of all-male membership in the country.

It strikes me that men and women play tennis on the same size courts, swim competitively in similar sized 50-metre pools, run over the same distances in athletics. So why should they play over two different course layouts and lengths when it comes to golf?

There must be considerable savings and benefits in terms of course building and maintenance, not having to facilitate both mens and ladies tees. It would also facilitate a more meaningful discussion after a mixed round of golf. In many cases today the ladies tee effectively takes several course hazards out of play, the ladies are often playing a substantially different course to the men.

The other benefit would be a more realistic comparison of relative performance between ladies and men. Ladies handicaps would be more realistically pitched in the 40-60 bracket, and their actual scores per round would, even at professional level, rarely better 100. Indeed your average lady handicapper would probably be hitting 150+.

This might bring a dose of reality to the world of ladies golf.

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