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Teed Off (23-09-2012)

Update: September, 26/2012 - 14:56

with Robert Bicknell

Here's one of those items where you have to consider carefully what you will say before sticking your golf shoe in your mouth.

Last year, Idaho High School Activities Association decided to allow Ms. Sierra Harr to compete on the boys golf team as there were not enough female players for the school to field a girls team. In the process, Ms Harr helped lead the boys to a State Championship.

As thanks for her efforts, the IHSAA, reversed their decision and decided she would not be allowed to compete with the boys the following year.

Apparently, other coaches were a bit miffed about their boys losing to a girl. As there is no mention of her playing from different tees from the boys, we could assume that she had to play under the same conditions.

Unlike Michelle Wie (little airhead) who tried to compete, and failed miserably, with the big bag guys on the PGA Tour, Harr, who is the No. 3 female golfer in Idaho in her age group, has a 2.2 handicap, ranked 7th in the state tournament.

According to some reports, coaches and administrators thought it was unfair to let her compete because it "took a slot away from a boy who might have wanted to compete…"

This is roughly the same arguments that some PGA Tour players used when trying to stop Wie from competing. The difference being that the guys are playing for a living and anytime you take a slot away from one of them to allow Wie to compete, they lose the possibility of making money that week – which could be the difference between keeping or losing their Tour card for the following year.

I've played golf with Annika Sorenstam at the Tiger Skins in 2001 and felt no blow to my ego when she outdrove me. Why should it, she's an excellent golfer and it was a pleasure to tee it up with her.

When golf was invented, they did everything they could to make it more fair for everyone, to level the playing field, so to speak. Handicaps, different tee boxes, etc., are all things geared towards making the game as fun as possible and to allow players of different abilities to compete fairly. Yes, this is something that doesn't really work in Asia, because all players want to play from the Blue tees regardless of handicap.

So, I guess the question is, if golf allows players of different skill levels to compete fairly, why do we need to separate players by gender?

If player A is a 2 handicap, he should play off the back tees. If the 2nd player is a15 handicap, he should play off the blue tees. Player 3 is a 22 handicap, so off the blues he goes as well. The 4th player is a 30 handicap, so he should be off the white tees, or go back to the driving range for more lessons.

All players may now compete on a more equal footing.

So, let's change the 4th player to a lady. She plays from the Red tees or from the white if she is a single handicap. What's the difference between her and the other players?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch…she is a golfer and her handicap is 2. That's the only thing that should be important. Gender shouldn't factor into it.

Once in Thailand, I had my butt kicked royally by a female player. Afterwards, I found she was a "katoey" (ladyboy or transsexual). Basically, a man in a lady's body…so to speak, which explained her 290 yard drives.

Was I angry about it? Of course! The next time we played, I demanded she play off the blue tees with the rest of the guys and, yes, she lost, but only because she was having a lousy day with the putter. Other than that, she matched us shot for shot.

We didn't care if she was a he. As far as we were concerned, she / he was a 4-handicap golfer and paid her share of rounds at the drink houses. She played fast and didn't slow anyone down.

The only important thing to us was that she loved the game.

If clubs can enforce handicap limits based on the correct tees played, then ladies should be able to compete fairly against the guys. — VNS

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