Editor’s note: Melvyn Morrow wants the game of golf back, and he wrote me a month ago to share a few of his views. “What right do I have to hold these views?” he wrote. “Just the same rights as all others, but also based upon over 250 years of my family playing golf at St. Andrews and the blood of Old Tom in my veins.”
By Melvyn Morrow
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE of a war for the heart and soul of the game of golf, yet very few are aware of, or for that matter care about, the game’s core values.
The game of golf is a walking, thinking game that requires the players to have “a good eye, lasting power as a walker, nicety of calculation, and, above all, good temper.” The quote was printed in The Scotsman under the heading of “The Spread of Golf” from 1890.
(Photo: The Road Hole at St. Andrews / courtesy of Melvyn Morrow)
Just how much has been sacrificed at the altar of laziness? Golfers talk openly of non-walking courses, using carts instead of walking, and using outside aids to replace brains and eye coordination, both of which in times past have contributed to the challenge and pleasure of playing the game of golf.
Riding when golfers can walk changes the game. No longer will their bodies and minds be tested under the pressure of exertion. There are also yardage books and electronic aids to help poor limited-minded golfers decide which club to use.
Why do golfers put themselves through these hoops every hole, every round, and every time they play their type of golf? Why bother at all, as clearly they are not in control when deciding which club to use? Their toys are doing it while they remain cool and shaded on their cart.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s not golf.
Golf is a walking and thinking game. But once golfers step foot off the fairway they are no longer involved in the game, and when they let outside aids assist in club choice, just where is the pleasure of self-achievement? Because they did not do it by themselves.
The war is not yet lost. Look around and you will find many golfers walking, some regrettably using distance aids, but still willing to use their limbs. So perhaps in time they may realise they need to use the old grey cells before they too decide to fade for lack of use. The choice is, of course, down to each individual as our governing bodies are already crippled with indecision, perhaps the result of a total lack of use over the last 100 years or so.
In closing, those who are walking and thinking—not using any form of outside aid—are playing a game called golf.
Melvyn Morrow is the great, great grandson of four-time Open champion Old Tom Morris. Read more about him in The Scotsman.