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The "Global Anti-Golf Movement"; New Score Column; LPGA's Bivens in Toronto

Most probably missed it, but there was an intriguing story in the Globe and Mail about the so-called Global Anti-Golf Movement.

The Global Anti-Golf Movement has been pushing for 13 years to stop any more courses being built and to have existing ones “converted to public parks.”

Apparently, golf courses, which number 25,000 around the world, cover a space the size of Belgium. Oh well, and that’s a bad thing?

Anyway, the story indicates some trends are emerging from the anti-golf push, especially in the realm of conditioning and water use. I admit that most North American courses are overwatered and something should be done to rectify the situation.

The 250-year-old Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which governs golf outside the United States and Mexico, is telling golf courses to become more environmentally friendly. It urges the use of drought-tolerant grasses and much less water, as well as cutting out pesticides and putting recycled glass instead of sand in bunkers. Some 2,000 courses around the world have signed up for the campaign, to improve the sport’s environmental image.

Oh, the story goes on to talk about how more people enjoy mini golf than the full-size game. Apparently:

In the United States, the mini sport supports a few dozen touring pros who compete in five or six tournaments a year, usually vying for sums that little more than cover their travel costs. Matt McCaslin, 35, has won the U.S. Open several times. “When talking with people outside the professional putting community, Matt is careful not to overstate the significance or rigour of a sport designed so that a maladroit third-grader may occasionally manage a hole-in-one,” says The Washington Post.

“But Matt does make the case that . . . ‘If I got on a [mini] course with Tiger Woods, and he didn’t practice, I’d beat him.’ “

My new Score column, detailing some of the problems facing Ontario’s ever expanding golf industry, should be on Scoregolf.com later today.

The LPGA’s embattled commissioner, Carolyn Bivens, is in Toronto today to promote the RCGA’s Canadian Women’s Open, being held at the fine London Hunt Club in about a month’s time. In less than a year, Bivens has garnered an immense amount of scrutiny and controversy.

Take this into consideration (from the NY Times):

It has been nearly 10 months since Bivens took over as the L.P.G.A. commissioner, and her tenure has been eventful, if not distracting. Seven members of the senior staff, about half the vice presidents, have resigned or been fired. Three of them left on one day in June, just before a major tournament, the L.P.G.A. Championship. Two of them had been hired by Bivens.

Coupled with bouts with tournament organizers, occasional flaps with the news media and continued questions about her aggressive marketing approach, Bivens has struggled to stay out of the way of the L.P.G.A.’s successes while steering its burgeoning potential.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bivens intends to get her players to come to Canada when the event competes with Annika Sorenstam’s event, and whether there is any interest in returning the Canadian Women’s Open to its former major status. The entire Times’ story is here.

Lastly, I received a response to my blog on Score’s Top 100 that I wanted to single out. I mentioned that I think Ontario Golf’s method of listing the Top 10 courses of each participant in its ranking panel is the best I’ve seen yet. That garnered this response from the aptly named “Yogi Truck.”

Yogi Trunk Says:

Rob, if I had any respect for Ontario Golf, I would agree. I am not surprised if the start ranking the best rock stars in Ontario. The magazine is a joke.

Hmmm… since I wrote the last cover story on Rush’s Alex Lifeson, a part owner in Coppinwood, I assume that’s a shot at me. I actually am not a huge fan of OG’s cover stars concept and think it has run its course. The publication would probably be better off only using celebrities occasionally on its cover, mainly when they are intimately linked to golf. That said, the publication is still excellent throughout and I’d argue it is the best read in Canadian golf on a regular basis. Editor Ted McIntyre comes up with interesting stories, and though I could do without all the instruction articles, that’s what readers want, apparently. OG is far from a joke — and it is that kind of ridiculous, throw away comment that completely distracts from the actual debate on rankings.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Robert,
    First of all you ranked Glen Abbey and Angus Glen in the Top 3 in your 2002 ranking. Let me guess, you obviously played well. Also, what’s up with the cell phone piece in OG? Is that golf related?
    Truly yours,
    Yogi Trunk

  • Robert, keep up the good writing….

    BTW, I notice that you write for a lot of different media outlet. Do you have a repository that keep all your articles in one place?

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