Why Greg's my new hero

Crusader for the senior ranks

Bob Warters
Tue, 29 Jul 2008

Greg Norman during his epic Open challenge last week

Senior golfers worldwide should have been greatly encouraged by the performance of 53-year-old Greg Norman in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale last week. He proved that age is no barrier to competing against the cream of the game - as long as you're up for it.

As a former double Open champion who makes more in a week now from his course-designing, wine, beef and grassing-growing businesses than he ever did as a pro golfer, he had nothing to prove and didn't need forward tees, a golf buggy or special treatment, just because he's now a 50-something and officially a member of the 'professional senior' ranks.

Senior tees? Surely not?

So it troubled me, having already reached Senior status, to learn this week that at one club, some Senior golfers - aged 55 and over as amateurs - are claiming that for them to play off the back white tees in club competitions, is unfair.

Some dispensation, they claim, should be allowed for their age and are demanding to play off forward yellow tees, while their nett scores (gross minus their handicap) should still be compared to other competitors!

And presumably their scores should be taken into consideration when the handicap committee considers any adjustments and hands out the prizes?

After all they say, the women have special red forward tees when competing with and against men in mixed competitions, so why not them in pairs competition, individual medals, stableford and bogey competitions?

What do they want next? Grey tees? Courtesy shots?

One member, who preferred not to be identified, but already a senior, was outraged at such a proposal.

"It's a joke that it should even be considered. I don't play with the Seniors, I don't feel old enough yet but some of them are claiming the tees are too far back for them to even reach the fairway. They moan they can't get up in two on par-4s and can't reach some par-3s.

"Unlucky, I say. If you want to call yourself a golfer and have a proper golfer's handicap, you'd better get used to the Rules for gauging a handicap - whether you're a senior, junior or a regular player. You play off the same tees or else what is a handicap worth? Do you want a handicap with an asterisk to identify you played off forward tees in some medals?"

I tend to agree, especially as I know of some golfers with only one arm or other disabilities who wouldn't hear of having a recognised club handicap unless it was achieved against able-bodied golfers off the same tees.

By all means Seniors should be able to play off forward tees in their own section competitions but their handicaps should be judged on their performance off the appropriate medal tees against all-comers. The alternative is to have two handicaps depending on the opposition which surely would be ridiculuous.

As for Greg Norman, he's my new hero and when they're handing out the 2008 accolades for special treatment should be duly recognised for taking on the young bucks on their own terms.

Tell us on the forum what you think. Should those of maturing years, who have reached senior status - aged 55 in some clubs, over 60 in others - be treated differently? Or should we accept that the average age of golf clubs is getting older and unless we allow some dispensation to those who use the course most, golf, as we know it may crumble through lack of numbers?



Loading Comments...