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Cheaper, faster golf? Give them credit for trying

On the same day, unrelated news releases turned up addressing recreational golf's two most pressing concerns: Slow play and expense.

The first was from golf course architect Richard Mandell announcing a Symposium on Affordable Golf, scheduled for Nov. 8-9 in Southern Pines, N.C.

The other was an announcement of a new book and corresponding website, "The Return of the Four Hour Round," by Pat Mateer, owner of Championship Golf, a company that operates golf events and counts TaylorMade-adidas Golf as a client.

The Symposium on Affordable Golf will feature a variety of speakers representing architecture, the environment, golf course management and the media (the latter including Golf Digest's Jaime Diaz and Golf World contributing writer Jim Moriarty). It's an open forum for which there is no registration fee.

"The Return of the Four Hour Round" discusses the causes that have slowed the game to a crawl over time and recommends solutions. Mateer, 56, is a re-instated amateur who was among the best amateur players in San Diego County before moving a few miles north, to Orange County, recently. He is attempting to start a movement for improving the pace of play via his website, fourundergolf.com.

It's difficult to image either of these endeavors having much affect, but that doesn't mean we should quit trying. Slow play is a scourge and the high cost is an impediment to growing the game.

-- John Strege