Roland Merullo column draws praise, criticism and invites!
Nobody touches the soul of the game, or of Golf World readers, like novelist and avid weekender Roland Merullo. His recent column in on the distinctly different benefits of public and private golf drew loads of mail, mostly grateful, occasionally critical (a complete surprise to us) and several containing invitations and a bit of homemade promotional material. Among other things, novelist Merullo wrote:
I like the gentility and pace of play at the fancier tracks. But I don't like the guy behind the desk looking down to see how expensive my shoes are when I check in, or speaking to me as if I'm a fourth-grader who's accidentally wandered into the junior-high cafeteria, or the sense that if somebody turns his hat around backwards on a windy day, it's tantamount to taking the Lord's name in vain. In a world where children are hungry (sometimes just down the road) being able to play golf on a magnificent course--on any course for that matter--is something to be grateful for, and I like people who are.
Merullo went on to say he liked the "rough informality" of cheap public courses, but not the 6-hour rounds or all-too-frequent rudeness to women.
Here's a sampling of your reactions.
I have a recommendation for Roland Merullo. Come to central Indiana and play a few rounds. I'm a super senior who spent many happy years as a member of a private club. As I approached my 74th birthday I resigned from the club to join my friends as "free agents" playing various courses around Indianapolis. As seniors we received significant discounts playing through the week at many courses.
Come to Indy Ron, play for a few days and leave wishing you were a Hoosier!
Jim Capron (Index 11.4)
Mr. Merullo, your article really angered me. You did a wonderful job of slamming 9-hole courses. Granted, there are some courses that could use better maintenance, rental clubs, etc. But, there are many 9-hole courses that are well maintained and have better rental clubs, etc.
My husband and I built our 9-hole course and work very hard to keep it well maintained for our golfers. Encouraging people to play more golf and to enjoy their local courses would have helped. Many 9-hole courses are the grass roots of future golfers.
Your comment about women golfers, "just the sight of a female on the fairway sets their eyes to rolling, or at private courses pretend to be polite" makes my stomach turn. You solidified that men think women are second class citizens ... Actually, golf for all could use support now more than ever.
As for a recommendation for you---well, I do not have locker rooms, fancy food or someone to clean your clubs. I do have a par-30 course that is challenging, fun, affordable, nicely maintained and where play usually moves along. There are many like us, start exploring!!
Fairfield Hills Golf Course
I must tell you about a course in Northwest Florida that has it all when it comes to a
private/public "feel". We really are glad to welcome every golfer who arrives to play (no fake smiles or judgements here).
The courses, (two 18's), are picturesque, well groomed, secluded (with nary a house in sight), some protected wetlands and we guarantee topography rarely seen in Florida.
Many of the treasured members here have belonged for decades, there is the Gaggle, the Possy, the Divas, the Duffers & Dolly's, the ladies league, the Hambergers, the Filets, the TAWC Swingers and the high rolling Bootlickers.
Come see us on Florida's Emerald Coast---we are one the best and reasonably priced courses in the Destin/Niceville area. We are Eglin Golf Course and we are open to the public.
Niceville, Fl </strong>
As a kid who grew up playing public courses after getting hooked on the game while caddying at a private club, I think Roland captured both experiences perfectly. But as all of your letters remind us, there are no constants. Discovering the exceptions on both sides of the fairway makes the adventure.