REAL Golf campaign

Added on May 30th, 2014 by
Posted in General, Slow play, Surveys

real golf campaign, nick park. michael barratt,FineGolf welcomes a new golf campaign concerning the crisis in recreational golf called ‘The campaign for REAL Golf’.


This campaign has worldwide aspirations and we seeing it as complementary and running along parallel tracks to FineGolf ,  recommend golfers support the campaign founded by the late Nick Park and four others. Become involved by filling out their survey.

A good introduction to the REAL Golf campaign is Nick’s videoed talk at last year’s FineGolf Enjoyment Day.

Below is an interview with another of the founders Michael Barratt (who some may recall as a TV broadcaster on Panorama and Nationwide) who explains to FineGolf  what it is all about. 


michael barratt, real golf campaign,

Michael Barratt in the 1980s

MICHAEL BARRATT:    It stands for Recreational, Enjoyable, Affordable and Less time-consuming golf.

FineGolf:    Do you consider there is a crisis in recreational golf around these three issues?

MB:    Oh, yes! In so many ways, our wonderful game has lost its way with the consequence that all over the world, clubs are closing down and the game is failing to attract young people and women especially who should be the lifeblood of its future. Of course there remain great courses all over the world – the ‘running’ ones of which FineGolf promotes so well – and there’s a flourishing elite game of professionals and gifted amateurs. But what we call TOP golf (tournaments and professionals) has over the years unwittingly contributed to today’s crisis. 

FineGolf:   How? 

MB:    For example, a lack of regulation has allowed the development of sophisticated equipment and balls enabling TOP players to reach prodigious distances off the tee – which in turn has led to courses being extended to cope with the big hitters – and encouraged longer rounds for the great majority. The four-hour round is now the norm on many courses (sometimes five hours and even longer than that in the United States) and that has been a bar to so many who cannot afford the time to play because of family or workplace commitments in the modern era. Many in the professional game support our view that the game must change – great players like Jack Nicklaus who says: “Golf has become too difficult, too expensive and takes too long”.

FineGolf:    So are you campaigning against elite golfers? 

MB:     Goodness me, no! There should be room for everybody. We simply care for the vast majority of amateur golfers worldwide, who are being lost to the game because of a whole raft of issues like escalating costs, complexity of rules and handicap systems, restrictive dress codes, decline of basic etiquette on the course and much else besides. 

FineGolf:    Are those your priority targets?

MB: I can’t say yet! Our view is that we must begin by establishing what golfers around the world regard as the most pressing problems. Only when we’ve established those facts can we sensibly and effectively move on to solutions. 

FineGolf:    That’s an ambitious target. How do you hope to achieve it? 

MB:    For a start, through our website and the survey there which seeks to establish popular priorities. We have already achieved a significant response but we want more! We’ll be particularly delighted if followers of FineGolf complete the questionnaire because they’re the kind of lovers of the classic running game who especially reflect our cause. 

FineGolf:     Is your Campaign a commercial enterprise? 

MB:   No. It was launched at the beginning of this year by five enthusiasts with a passion for taking the game back to its roots. Sadly, there are now only four of us with the passing of Nick Park who was a great inspiration. All costs have been borne by ourselves and we will continue to work without reward – other than the immense reward of helping save the greatest of games for future generations!  

Reader Comments

On June 3rd, 2014 Tony White said:

The answer to today’s golfing problems lie within Dr Alistair MacKenzie’s book ‘The Spirit of Golf. This should be the manual on how to run a golf club. Tom Simpson famously said “The ignorance of golf committees is invincible” – never a truer word was spoken. Golf committees around the world have forgotten that golf should be fun and enjoyable, not frustrating and punishing, golfers should not have to tee it up in the US Open every time they play golf. Thus golfers give up the game not knowing why. Golf courses should be no more than 6300 yds and have as much fairway as possible with the challenge primarily based on expert positioning of the hazards to challenge, rather than punish the golfer. Keep up the great work, unfortunately your great campaign will fall on many deaf ears, because committees will always think they know better than the greatest gift to amateur golf – Dr Alister MacKenzie.

On June 3rd, 2014 nigel notley said:

It is quite evident that equipment has ruined the game of golf. The last time there was any purity was when we all played persimmon and blades and hit a tour balata. Now long handicappers can hit sizeable drives and that facet of the game alone has deskilled the game. Contrary to some popular theory, people used to relish the challenge of hitting a persimmon driver. Man is a competitive animal and strives for perfection. Having it handed to him on a plate is demeaning.

The overlong golf courses are a factor in the time taken but let us be quite clear, the professional golfers speed of play in tournaments is a disgrace and an appalling example to youngsters playing the game. They need to work out how to get round a course in 3 1/2 hours and then start penalising those who don’t.

Golf has also become totally selfish. Everyone wants to play their own ball and the idea of picking up in a fourball, or god forbid play a foursome is an anathema and yet it is a solution.

It has been suggested that golf is still too elitist and that puts people off. Far from it, the elite two ball clubs are still in great demand, whereas the courses (often good layouts with nice facilities) find difficulty in attracting players. Maybe it is because of lax dress requirements and slow play and a lack of understanding of etiquette.

On June 4th, 2014 Paul Stevens said:

Agreed! The Game has been ruined by the golf ball; lines on ball; lining up golfer on every shot, especially women pros and their caddies. Bubba can now hit 400 yards, with a slice!!!

On June 4th, 2014 James Grant said:

Having played last night in a long standing foursomes event, I was reminded of the great fun to be had in ‘just getting on with it’ and walking forward while my partner played and enjoying the camaraderie.

On June 4th, 2014 Barry Kerr said:

Top marks to Michael Barratt and Co. Senior golfers unite! REAL golf deserves our support. Let our governing bodies know that change is required to regain a positive future for our sport.

On June 8th, 2014 Paul lindley said:

I believe the term running game can be slightly misleading for some.

Dear Paul, I agree and I have wrestled with what is the best terminology. Golfers understand the difference between ‘running’ and ‘target’ even if they have not thought about it previously. But as usual it depends with whom one is communicating. Perhaps ‘the running golf game’, though unnecessary on occasion, reduces confusion when being used in a wider than purely golf situation. Thank you for your thought. Lorne

On January 8th, 2015 Tony White said:

I really don’t believe golf club and ball technology has ruined the game, all this talk of high handicappers is irrelevant, if the technology really helps then the high handicapper becomes a mid handicapper etc etc… The majority of golfers play off the forward tees so most never, and would not enjoy, playing 7,000 yard courses. Generally golf is perfect, there will always be slow play, you just have to make a day of it, shame. One thing that would improve my enjoyment would be the reintroduction of the 90 compression Titleist tour balata, the best ball ever, these balls are only just shorter than today’s modern tour balls, but are the best fun on approach shots. Golf is in a great place right now, with most courses playing on great surfaces if you are member of a club you get a county card which brings a lot of excellent clubs into an affordable price range for the general golfer. Happy golfing, keep up the great work Fine Golf.
Dear Tony,
How nice to have a wonderfully optimistic and kind comment.
I do recall being told that the Balata balls (the ‘revolution’ one certainly) were made in an old factory in Japan which was devastated by an earthquake and could not be rebuilt for H&S reasons.
Yours, Lorne

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