Why I prefer to Walk
The introduction of motorized carts has allowed many people who
are not otherwise physically able to enjoy the game. This is a
very good thing. It has also allowed many people capable of
walking to ride instead, and this has encouraged many course
operators both to build extensive cart facilities and require the
use of carts. This is a bad thing.
Some folks feel that riding violates the tradition of the game.
That is not among my reasons for prefering to walk and for encouraging
others to walk. My reasons are practical and related to how I
enjoy the game:
Walking is good excercise, and Riding isn't . One can easily stay
fit walking a golf course. I'd far rather get my daily excercise
on the golf course than on an excercise machine.
Walking gives me a better feel for the course. I have time to size
up a shot, pace distances, look at hazards and targets, as I walk
to my ball. When riding I arrive at the ball without nearly as
much chance to size up the shot, and make more poor shots as a
Walking has an even pace. You are always moving at a comfortable
pace. Riding is a hurry up and wait game where you are sitting and
waiting most of the time. Not how I prefer to spend my time.
Walking means always having the right club for the shot. Often
when riding, you and your ball are on one side of the fairway, and
your clubs are either trapped on the cart path or with your partner
in the woods.
Walking does a lot less damage to the course. Nobody wants to play
out of the flattened turf and ruts common on courses that get heavy
cart traffic. Cart damage was not an issue when cart use was
common only among golfers not physically able to walk the course,
but has become an increasing problem as cart use increased.
Paved paths are unfair random hazards that can reward or severely
punish shots randomly. Again, with limited cart use, paths were
unnecessary, but paths along greens and across fairways are now all
When I'm on the course, I want to see and smell green grass, and
hear only birds and golf balls. Carts are often noisy and smelly
and reminders of the world I try to escape by playing golf.
Mandatory carts policies needlessly increase cost. I don't mind
paying a fair price to play a course, but I resent paying for
things I don't need or want. It's like checking into a hotel and
knowing you are paying for the free breakfast, sauna, two phones,
and 57 channels of cable TV when all you wanted was a clean and
Upscale courses are increasingly requiring the use of carts. Lots
of us don't like it, because it is a threat to the ability to play
game that we enjoy. (If you don't feel that way, think about the
way you felt when they cancelled your favorite TV show or your
favorite restaurant stopped making the dish you really liked to get
some idea of what it feels like). Most of them claim the reason is
speed of play. To put it as politely as I can, this is BULLSHIT.
Walkers and Riders are both capable of playing most courses in
well under 4 hours as a foursome. Slow play is caused neither by
walking nor lack of golfing ability, but by a variety of time
wasting practices that basically amount to not being ready to shoot
promptly when it is your turn. My personal experience has almost
always been slower play in a cart than walking.
Many people believe that the real reason for this policy is simple
economics: Cart fees are ready cash. Unfortunately, I believe few
look at the longer term costs of buying, maintaining, storing,
replacing and insuring carts as well as cart related facilities,
and the cost of repairing the damage they do to the course. When
all factors are considered, I believe the economic beneift to the
course owner is probably minimal. The owner would be much better
off raising the greens fees and lowering the cart fee than annoying
and probably losing business from those who prefer walking, but
would gladly have paid more money to play a quality course.
Suggestions for thought
If you don't now walk but are physically able, try it every once in
a while. You won't know what you prefer if you never try it.
If you encounter a course with a mandatory cart policy, explain
that you much prefer walking and try to work out some arrangement
where you can. If you cannot, move on, but write the owner of the
course to express your views in no uncertain terms
Golf has room for walkers and riders. All I ask is to be allowed