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Considerations For Golfers During Holidays

20 December 2014 No Comment

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Those who bave free time to devote to the game for days and weeks in succession at any period of the year will tell you that it ia a mistake to attempt a serious golfing holiday in August, or even in September, particularly if such holiday must represe t the chief golfing feast of the season.

It is their argument that not only are the best courses then in a very crowded state, and waits at the first teeing grounds and delays through the green most tedious and irritating, but that the temperature is higher than the point which makes for most pleasure and comfort during play, the fairway is an ugly brown and so hard that neither wooden clubs nor irons can be played in the proper manner and to the best effect, that the putting greens are bare, gritty, and bumpy, and that generally the conditions are ungolflike.

This indictment against August and September is generally to a large extent a just one; and it is not to be denied that in the usual way there is a charm about golf and a zest in playing it in May, October, and November that there are not in other months, and these ought perhaps to be the chosen of the golfer idealist who is free to apportion his occupations according to his desires. But it must be remembered that many, perhaps most, of the great golfers who shun the links in August and September, and have helped to give those months the reputation of being less suitable for the game than many others, are men with other sporting interests, which come forward for close consideration then; and this season, above all others in recent times, the promise is given to us that the state of courses will be most excellent, and, indeed, in the absence of any long drought, as perfect as they have been any time since the beginning of the year. For this we have the abundant rains and the constantly clouded skies, so much railed against by the people generally, to thank.

The golfers seem to comprise almost the only outdoor community who nave gained benefit from them. In recent weeks, and particularly during the last three, I have played the game on various seaside courses in the south and east that are among the highest in popularity at holiday times, and have never seen them in a better state.

If the greenkeepers have been doing their duty during the last few days in keeping down the growth of grass, which has been abnormally rapid and thick, nobody should have any cause of complaint during next week. But whatever may be the conditions, the fact remains that for the great golfing multitude August and September are the chief holiday months for the game; far more is played of it then than during any others, and they are the times when golfing enthusiasms run highest and problems connected with the game are most keenly debated, since the men are more together, and strangers mix their ideas. So we enter now upon the feast period of the average golfer, he of the great majority.

Favorite Holiday Golf Courses

It is a little curious to notice how some of the favourite holiday golfing grounds rise a little and fall a little in popularity in different seasons. There is one centre in the South which among London golfers who want "the real thing" has been almost better patronised than any other in recent years, and for the best of reasons, but this time, as I have the most certain evidence to show, it is being almost entirely neglected. It is hard to realise that on a perfect golfing day near the end of July there should be only four couples — and only one in the afternoon — on a course that has very few superiors in the whole world of the game, and is most accessible; but such was the fact, and the hotel bookings in these parts by golfers are down to their lowest point, while caddies were complaining of unexpected destitution.

Of players, if they come to know of it, to flock to this region as to nowhere else. On the other hand I hear that there is something of a run on the Cornish and Devonshire courses; and it is clear that North Wales, with so many new and quiet little courses where what may best be described as "comfortable golf" may be enjoyed, is fast rising in popularity.

It is, indeed, one of the signs of the times that the multitude are less crazed at holiday times to play on courses of the greatest difficulty; those which are often described as being of the championship class, than they used to be.

They are showing a preference for that which is quieter and easier, less renowned and more out-of-the-way; and one of the chief reasons is probably that home courses in the suburbs of the large towns are in these days better and much more difficult than they used to be, and the golfer feels that he would like a holiday from such difficulty and play for a while at some pretty place where eighteen holes do not make a length of six thousand yards, where there are not a dozen bunkers to every hole, and where his game will be flattered and not exposed in all its weaknesses, which, on a course like some of the championship order, are made to appear weaker than they really are I know that there is this prevailing desire by the numerous questions that have recently been submitted to me by correspondents.

Where To Golf

The great majority wanted something quiet and "not too difficult," and I think they were wise, for no golfing holiday is so enjoyable as that on which the man does more holes in bogey than is bis usual habit. Vacations spent chiefly with niblicks do not constitute the happiest remembrances. I have sent some of these inquirers to North Wales, others to some of the less advertised places in the south-west of Scotland, and a few others to certain inland resorts where the golf is much better than it is generally imagined to be. For all that, there will be more golf played on the most popular East Coast of England and Scotland than elsewhere.

Those who still want suggestions for holiday golf which is of first-class quality and full of difficulty, and where crowds are not likely to be a serious consideration, may have mentioned to them the names of Machrihanish, in Scotland ; of Deal and Littlestone, in the South of England; of Seacroft and Brancaster, on the mid-Eastern Coast — the latter course, that of the Royal West Norfolk Club, being about the best place for golf in August that I know; of Porthcawl, Ashburnham, and Southemdown, in South Wales; while it has to be said that the North of Ireland is gaining greatly in favour as a holiday golfing ground, and is worth all the consideration that is given to it.

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