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By Vusi Voetsek

Journalist


Vusi Voetsek column: Change the golf courses, not the balls

Also in this week's column, Dané van Niekerk retirement and how the Free State all of a sudden has no top class rugby and cricket on offer.


Now some grumpy old men want to change the golf balls to stop the big boys from hitting bombs off the tee? What a load of rubbish. I know there are plenty of purists out there who feel golf has become too easy because the clubs and the balls have been designed in such a way to make the game easier. Golf is a blerrie hard game; ask any weekend golfer who tries his best to break 100, so the easier the manufacturers can make it the more likely more people will play it and take up the game. And…

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Now some grumpy old men want to change the golf balls to stop the big boys from hitting bombs off the tee?

What a load of rubbish.

I know there are plenty of purists out there who feel golf has become too easy because the clubs and the balls have been designed in such a way to make the game easier.

Golf is a blerrie hard game; ask any weekend golfer who tries his best to break 100, so the easier the manufacturers can make it the more likely more people will play it and take up the game. And that means more money in the end for everyone involved in the game.

I digress.

It now seems the PGA of America and the R&A want to bring in a new rule allowing certain tours and competitions the right to force players to use a ball that will not fly as far as the current ones do. We’re talking a ball that will travel about 20 to 30 metres less than they do now.

Change the course set-up

I think it’s a load of rubbish. Yes, bigger hitters sometimes get an advantage off the tee, but not always. Golf is still a game about accuracy.

And if the rulers of the game want to make it tougher for the professionals (let me say, the ball change proposal is only for the pros, not the amateurs) there are other ways to stop the ‘bombing’.

Because it’s almost impossible to lengthen already established courses, authorities can make the fairways narrower, grow the rough, add bunkers and water, and make pin positions tighter than they are now.

These changes would make the big hitters think twice about pulling driver every time and smacking it down the fairway.

But even so, golf is about entertainment and everyone likes seeing a big, booming drive. It’s fun to watch and the players surely get a kick out of it. I say leave the balls as they are!


Dané van Niekerk

Well, I didn’t see this coming. It was with sadness that we learned this week of former Proteas women’s captain Dané van Niekerk calling time on her international career.

I think we all knew she was upset and angry about missing out on selection for the T20 World Cup, because of a failed time trial run (which by the way I think is ridiculous) but to retire from international cricket at 29 seems a bit drastic.

Dane van Niekerk
Dane van Niekerk has called time on her Proteas career. Picture: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images

Van Niekerk is a world class cricketer and she surely still has plenty to give. The Proteas will be worse off without her.

But, it is her decision and she will have her reasons.

Finally on this matter, it was with shock that I read about Van Niekerk being called a “fat-shamed star” by Fox Sports in a story they did about the player’ retirement.

Van Niekerk rightly questioned the headline in a Twitter response, saying, “Excuse me?? Fat shamed?? Are u serious??”

What a shocker Fox Sports!!


Knights cricket

And now there will also be no top-class cricket in Bloemfontein after the Knights were this week relegated to Division 2 in South Africa’s domestic cricket structure; this after two seasons of average to poor results left them last in the First Division points table, across all competitions.

This is very unfortunate for the province and Bloemfontein, who’ve produced some great cricketers over the years.

How will this impact the promising school boys and girls; will they stay in Bloemfontein and play their cricket there or look to move elsewhere, as so many of the rising rugby players have done, following the Cheetahs’ demise.

I fear for the future of top-class Free State sport. Bloemfontein has great schools, great tertiary education facilities and it’s a lekker town but sadly for all the sport fans there’s little to cheer right now.

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