POSTED ON JULY 7, 2010:
Getting Into the Swing
A few reasons our local courses might be seeing fewer golfers this summer
Thanks for the Help. Tiger Woods is bringing golf down due to his porous play. His drives are wayward. His approach shots are loose. His putting is below average. Granted, this could describe all of our games, but we did not carry the sport for more than a decade.
Golfers unite. On second thought, maybe Tulsa golfers have already come together for the greater good.
It is now July, and I have yet to play a round. Now you could blame me and my schedule, but still, this is the first year I have gone this long without slapping it around on one of Tulsa's fine courses.
Is it just me? Are others skipping five-hour rounds in the heat of summer? Has interest in golf waned throughout the past year?
For years, I had a steady group of friends hit me up for several rounds each year. So far, I've only heard from one guy, and it was a halfhearted overture at best.
The reason could be simple. Maybe golfing with a guy who is happy to break 100 and takes his time picking the right club ... sandwich ... is at fault.
It could be that some readers haven't received a glimpse of our upcoming series of local golf course reviews, which begins in our July 22 issue.
But my guess is other factors contribute. In fact, here are three solid explanations as to why golf is fading.
No. 1? Tiger Woods carries a lot of the blame. Whether reports of his $700 million divorce settlement are true is irrelevant. This is not another character assassination. Who are we to judge?
Make fun of? Yes. Judge? Not so much.
No, Woods is bringing golf down due to his porous play. His drives are wayward. His approach shots are loose. His putting is below average. Granted, this could describe all of our games, but we did not carry the sport for more than a decade.
My three favorite reasons for his decline are the following: A) Injuries. B) Mental focus. C) He used to finish his round, then plow through his black book releasing tension. Now he carries the tension from hole to hole.
Pick an excuse. For average golfers to reinvigorate the local golf courses, Woods is going to need to step up his game -- on the course.
No. 2? It's the economy, stupid. How many times have you heard this excuse bandied about for various reasons? When it comes to pay cuts and job losses, the first thing to go is usually expendable cash. In other words, golf funds.
No need to detail this reason; however, I will point out local area golf courses are trying.
We have close to 20 public courses in driving distance of T-Town. Add half-a-dozen or so private courses and the choices are plentiful.
Many are running extreme deals in an attempt to lure you back to the course. You can sign up at golfnow.com and receive great deals and tee times.
Also request email notifications from local courses through their individual websites. My inbox was flooded with Fourth of July specials.
LaFortune, Battle Creek, South Lakes and Bailey Ranch are just a few of the proactive dealmakers. Some specials earn high praise for their efforts. Other courses can do better.
Finding the right green fee plus cart (who walks these days?) is no different than watching my wife shop at ... let's say Kohl's.
Kohl's shtick is to list everything on sale. It's a mind game in which Master Yoda would be proud. Tulsans walk out having saved 50 percent on an item marked up 60 percent. They feel great about their savings.
Now, on the other hand, studious shoppers know which "sales" items are true bargains.
This is no different when browsing which golf course to hit on a Friday afternoon. Unless you are a golf snob, you can find the right price. By the way, golf snobs are 10 times worse than beer and movie snobs.
No. 3? Course conditions. Remember the winter we had? I know it is hard to recall since we've been baked to start the summer, but our winter was brutal. This wreaked havoc on many T-Town courses. Most of the fairways and greens are under control again.
However, there is no worse feeling than shucking out $30 for a round and putting through splotchy grass patches. I've found every golf course to be upfront on course conditions. Before you book, just ask.
That's a wrap. Well almost.
We would be remiss if we neglected to mention Gerald Harris.
The UFC middleweight contender showed tenacity and overwhelming wrestling pedigree in knocking out his opponent on the undercard of UFC 116 this past Saturday.
In what is sure to be one of the most watched Spike undercards of the year, Harris earned television time. Tulsa was represented once again on the biggest stage.
Not only did Harris put his opponent on queer street with a mammoth slam, but he earned the UFC's "Knockout of the Night" bonus. It was a slam that is sure to be replayed ad nauseam throughout the years.
He'll be schlepping home the $75,000 bonus from Vegas. Hey Gerald, drinks on you?
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