GOLF; Get back on your feet

Motorized "cars" have their place, most golfers would agree, but they shouldn't rule the fairways. On some courses they do, says Gold Digest, which recently warned that "walking golfers are becoming a vanishing breed in the United States."

Concerned about this trend, the Digest has advocated a return to golf's simplest pleasure -- the joy of hiking after one's ball, not, one hopes, to be found in the woods.

Such a call to action is in keeping with the population's current concern with physical fitness and energy. Beyond this, however, walking can have a positive effect on a course's tranquillity and a golfer's concentration.

In supporting this latter point, the Digest cites recent remarks made by Peter Haslam, the editor of Golf World, a sister publication in England. He is quoted as saying: "One thing I lamented while using a golf car in America was that between shots, while driving or being driven in the car, I found myself talking and being talked to. It tended to break my concentration on the game itself, which became almost incidental."

Those who walk generally feel they're more attuned to the game's deliberate pace, which allows them time to plot their strategy between shots. Occasionally though, a golf car materializes from behind to hurry or disrupt those on foot.

The Digest is hardly blind to the value of cars, which permit more hot-weather play and quicker rounds, supply courses with an important source of rental revenue, and provide transportation for those who need it.

But convinced that walking needs a boost, the magazine encourages courses to establish separate times for workers only and to rent hand-pulled carts if the y don't already do so.

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