THE LONG VIEW:
WACHT VS. HANDICAP COMMITTEE
Alas, that Mr. W. W. Wacht has withdrawn his lawsuit against the handicap committee of the Pines Ridge Golf Club (E&D, Aug. 4). Whether he realizes it or not, surmises and conjectures on the might-have-been of his defense of his golf handicap (34) would have relieved the spiritual boredom of 19th hole bull sessions across the country for many moons to come.
Supposing Mr. Wacht had pressed his suit and won? What would have happened next? He couldn't have sought financial compensation—the committee had improved his handicap. Could he have had the club's charter revoked? Could he have demanded that the handicap committee be selected by the Supreme Court? If such a precedent were established: a) Would there have been any guarantee that the handicap committees across the country might not spend most of their waking hours in court? b) Might the day arrive when the Supreme Court would be obliged to create a Golf Handicap and Tournament Division (GHTD)? c) Might the court some day be required to decide on our national champion? It's all very confusing to me and I'm sure plenty of others.
But let us not think for one moment that Pines Ridge is the only club with handicap troubles. There are many regular handicap tournament players whose handicap and proven ability to score bear little relationship to each other. The number of those who wittingly have turned their backs on their consciences and played "even," for as little as $1 to $5 Nassaus, when they knew their only chance of losing was to have a heart attack is legion. Yet if a wallet were left on the dressing table they would be sanctimoniously horrified at the suggestion of taking 15 bucks out of it and saving their victim the grief of certain defeat.
Of course, the ideal would be to cure the condition at birth. Make a USGA handicap obligatory for entry in any handicap event. In gathering data for the initial handicap it would be the responsibility of the handicap committee to check, with the cooperation of the pro, that the best, not the worst scores were handed in. Once the USGA handicap had been established, only scores made in the tournament play would be used in keeping the handicap active. It would be the obligation of the handicappee to report to the USGA any and all scores he made in tournament play.
JAMES VAN ALEN
THE LONG VIEW: THE DOERS
There have been a number of articles written and a quantity of words spoken in the last few years about why minor league baseball is failing to pay its way. Everything from television to dirty uniforms has been given as a reason, but to no real satisfaction. To my mind, the trouble does not lie in television, poor baseball parks or any other thing that has to do with the game itself. It is a change in the American way of life.
Before World War II and even for a short while afterward the American public was a nation of watchers. Of course, tennis, golf, bowling and a few other sports were conducted at the participant level but, in general, the city man got most of his relaxation from watching other people play baseball, sail boats, or any number of other things.
But times have changed. America has become a nation of doers. A little observation of facts will prove this. More pleasure boats are owned by Americans than was thought possible 10 years ago. Many areas cannot build bowling lanes fast enough to fill the demand. The number of public tennis courts has tripled. Swimming pools have become abundant. Better roads and easier-to-use camping equipment invite the weekend camper, hunter and fisherman. Add to this the colossal baseball program for boys that includes Little Leagues, Pony Leagues, Teen-Age Leagues and others, and what have you got?
It can be summed up easily. The baseball season is also the time of year that is most inviting for all types of sporting activity. Why should a guy with a boat in the driveway, golf clubs in the car, bowling ball and tennis racket in the closet, a trunk full of camping equipment, two boys in the Little League and a body full of energy left over from shorter working hours pay to sit and do nothing but watch a mediocre game between men he doesn't know?
W. TRAVIS WALTON
THE LONG VIEW: ON SAILING, GOLF AND GOD
I'd like to make some comment on your E & D columns of July 28. They were delightful reading. The chaps who wrote them should be congratulated and their salaries raised.