Dear Golfer:

I have never written a letter to any editorial section of any paper in my entire life, however, after reading last week’s letter about Country Club Mentality (Jan. 31) I was enraged at the accusations spewed towards the local golf course. First I wish to address the issue about the men’s league not allowing women to play. I would ask YOU to risk your life and try and join the ladies’ organization every Wednesday morning and see what your reception would be. They also have a great ladies’ tournament called the Springtown Scramble every year; they might have issues with your involvement. They have numerous tournaments from the Gregg WiIliams to the Chamber of Commerce, which all include women. In fact, with the advantages from the ladies’ tee boxes it’s recommended. The second matter is the high handicaps not allowed… that’s not the truth at all. The handicap is simply cut off at 12. If you have an 18, 27 or 33 handicap all you get is 12…not that you can’t play in the league. The 12 handicap max is to speed up play, with the game starting at 6 p.m. daylight can be an issue. And since there is a wide range of golfing skills, when one team all takes a 3-5 on a hole and the other all take 7-9, the higher handicap golfers are not actually slow—they just hit it more. The 12 handicap limits the max number a high handicap can take on a hole and speeds up play. The rule is not to exclude but to make the game more enjoyable for all.

This leads to the issue of who is hosting the men’s league. I personally know each one of the men involved and have no reservations about vouching for their character. If I have a tee time on Sundays and do not ask my wife to join me, am I a sexist? Maybe I choose to play with the guys that day and my wonderful wife (so I can keep playing with the guys) understands that I need some guy time. Am I a sexist? Should the course make me allow a woman to play in my group? If my group requires everyone to pay a dollar for every time you three putt, if somebody refuses to do this, then they are not invited next time? Should the course require us to allow that person to play with us? The league is run by a few members and not the course. To tell that league they must allow women and not limit the handicap points issued is no different than telling me who I have to include on my Sunday tee time. When I play in a golf tournament or league and don’t like the rules, I either don’t play next time or make my own league.

Now the mere mention of race or age being an issue at the local course is outrageous to me! I want the people of this town to know something—people go to that course because of the way they are treated by that staff! The course is in fine shape (but there are nicer ones), the location is not the best (closer to the city would draw more people), the price is good (there are some just as cheap). What you get at Excelsior Springs Golf Course is a friendly greeting and excellent service from all the staff. They all make you feel like family and they welcome all classes, races, sexes and ages. To even hint that the people there do not welcome any golfer is ridiculous. I have no tolerance for racism, sexism or ageism and I have just as much intolerance for the accusations of these things when NOT warranted. I believe when a person uses these words they had better be sure of what they are claiming. These words are difficult to take back. Once said, they leave a bad reputation that’s hard to recover from. I understand you’re having issues with the 12 handicap cut-off—but you are not prohibited from playing. The course allows women, their own leagues and tournaments and there has NEVER been an issue of race or age.

I will close by revealing that my sister-in-law works in the restaurant, one of my best friends is the manager, I have played golf there for more than 30 years, I have worked there in the past, and I was a golfer in the men’s league last year. I am proud to say my closest friends—male, female, old, young and of all races are all golfers at the Excelsior Springs Golf Course!

Brent Bishop

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