The American Society of Golf Course Architects has recently published an article in their on-line magazine BY DESIGN that discusses the importance of “Bunny Slopes” in the learning curve of golf. These short, fun, easy-to-play courses are the perfect introduction and avenue to learning the game of golf. Ratcliffe Golf Services, Inc. has been working with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation for many years now to implement this type of course into all of our facilities, and the ASGCA has recognized this effort in a recent article entitled “Golf’s Bunny Slopes”. You can read the on-line edition by CLICKING HERE. If you really want to share your passion for golf, I suggest you take a few minutes to read this article and get a better understanding of how these unique courses can help someone become a golfer! THEN, think about a friend, family member or co-worker that may have a desire to learn how to play golf – and invite them out to play a quick round on any of the RGS Learning Courses!!
Ratcliffe Golf Services, Inc. President Del Ratcliffe has been awarded the prestigious Paul Porter Award by the National Golf Course Owners Association. This National Award is bestowed annually on the “owner who has established a legacy of commitment, service and leadership” to the golf industry. Del will travel to Las Vegas for the Golf Industry Show/NGCOA Annual Convention to receive the award in late February. You can read more and see other awards to industry leaders by CLICKING HERE.
In Orlando getting a tour of the Golf Channel Studio!
I am at the PGA Merchandise Show listening to Jack Nicklaus! Truly exciting listening to one of golf’s greatest talking about the game he loves!
What if you could play golf in less time, for less money and with less “agony”? That is actually the promise of Flogton – a new effort to modify the game of golf in ways that make it more enjoyable for more people. Flogton gets it’s name from “not golf” spelled backwards – but it is not quite as radical as you may imagine based on the name. Whether it can actually achieve the three aforementioned promises is a lofty goal that has a number of skeptics.
I recently attended a presentation of the Flogton concept at the Multi Course Owners Conference of the National Golf Course Owners Association. There have been a LOT of efforts to modify the rules of golf over the years – in fact, the development of a separate set of rules for higher handicap players has been a popular topic for more years than I can remember. None have gained much traction. But there is a lot of “horsepower” behind Flogton – the chief force behind the concept is Scott McNeely, whom you may know from his days as CEO of Sun Microsystems. McNeely has joined Pat Gallagher and Bob Zider in the formation of the Alternative Golf Association, which in theory will be the governing body of Flogton. (side note: there is an intent to replace the name “Flogton” at some point IF they can come up with something better.) as a result of a well-respected (not to mention well-heeled) team, the AGA has received audiences with many of the most influential forces in golf, particularly within the golf course management community. At this conference alone well over 2,000 courses were represented. SO, with all this momentum going for it, what will the future hold for Flogton? I have a number of opinions on that, but it is way to wordy for this one blog posting. I will go much more in depth soon in a whole series of posts on the subject, but in the meantime, check out the AGA website HERE and let me know what YOU think!
It is hard to watch the news these days without hearing about some frightening and horrific crime where the victim didn’t even know they were a target. But even with the proliferation of these scary events, there is a threat to our health and well-being that is statistically more likely to incapacitate or kill you than an unknown human assailant. It is silent, invisible and threatens not only your health but your quality of life. What is this deadly stalker? It is something that we all face in some degree or another: STRESS.
That’s right, stress is the emotional and physical strain we endure from the pressures of daily life. It has been reported that 75% to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are due to stress related problems. The hectic pace of today’s techno-society, including almost instand world-wide communication of any BAD news, has contributed significantly to increased stress levels among people in all walks of life. This increased stress has manifested in numerous health issues, many of which are life-threatening.
In general, we have not done a good job of adapting to the increased stress levels we face in the modern world! Many of the pastimes we now have – including video games, watching television and “surfing” the web – not only fail to relieve stress but actually contribute to it in unhealthy ways. Our minds do not have a chance to decelerate and “unwind”. Our bodies fail to get any active physical exercise, resulting in less healthy bodies – which only contributes more to our high stress levels.
Stress is certainly not a new phenomenon. Doctors have known for years the negative effects of stress, and people in high stress environments have long been vulnerable to increased health risks. In fact, the personal physicians of many of the Presidents of the United States have focused on stress relief as a major component of health care for what is perhaps the most powerful and demanding position in the world. Although the methods of reducing stress have varied from President to President, there is one very common recommendation that would probably surprise you. It isn’t a pill; it isn’t a special diet.
The simple, effective stress relief recommendation given to many of our nation’s Presidents is to simply PLAY GOLF. That’s right – golf, the time-honored tradition of chasing a small white ball through green fields of grass in an attempt to hit it into a 4 ¼” hole has proven to have immense health benefits for both men AND women in high stress occupations. Ironically, the media has often portrayed our President’s propensity for playing golf as a negative activity. William Howard Taft, our 27th President and a highly active golfer was often ridiculed for the amount of golf he played while in office. News coverage has frequently questioned our current President for finding time to play golf when pressing issues of national importance demanded attention. This negative angle has persisted no matter what the political affiliation of the President has been, or what issues existed or did NOT exist during their term.
One of the most popular Presidents of all time – Dwight David Eisenhour – was such an avid golfer that he was often pictured with a golf club in his hand even in the Oval Office. Despite his popularity and obvious leadership ability, he was criticized for the amount of time he spent on the golf course pursuing the little white ball. Yet, as chronicled in Don’t Ask Me What I Shot, a book by Catherine M. Lewis that focuses on Eisenhour’s love for the game of golf, he was advised by his personal physician to play golf to combat the stress levels encountered in his duties as President. In fact, Lewis documents the fact that the majority of Presidents since Lyndon Johnson have used golf to reduce stress levels, contribute to their overall health and help them face the mental pressure of being President of the United States. Even Hilary Clinton observed that her husband Bill would often leave his office for an afternoon of golf, exhibiting signs of fatigue, stress and worry, only to return after his round rejuvenated and mentally refreshed, ready to tackle the pressures of the world once again. Thus, taking time to play golf could be viewed as a significant tool for improving health and boosting work productivity.
And why not? After all, golf is the game of a lifetime, adaptable to any gender and skill level. It is played in beautiful natural settings in the great outdoors, where you can have a pleasant conversation with your golfing partner while participating in an active, healthy physical exercise. It is an opportunity to spend time with your family, your friends or even a business associate that you want to know better. And best of all, golf is the perfect weapon to combat Stress – an unseen enemy that could be stalking your health, your mental happiness and even your life – right this minute.