Now that Sergio has a green jacket, it’s time to look ahead to the U.S. Open. Where is it going to be played this year? Erin Hills.
Where, you ask? Erin Hills. It’s in Wisconsin, thirty-five miles northwest of Milwaukee. Kind of a combination of Chambers Bay and Whistling Straits. Actually, more succinctly, it’s a British Open links imitation.
I’ve got a complaint. A major complaint.
Reading the course website, I found this in the Frequently Asked Questions section:
What options do I have for getting around the golf course?
Erin Hills is walking only. We highly recommend using one of our professional caddies or you may decide to carry your own clubs. Outside caddies and pull-carts are not allowed.
Okay, fair enough, but that makes Erin Hills a knockoff British links course that doesn’t allow the use of pull-carts (trolleys in British parlance).
“Lanny, give us a break. This is an upscale course that is hosting a U.S. Open, for crying out loud. Of course they are not going to let idiots take pull-carts out on their blessed turf.”
I will respond to that with a question and an answer. What’s the policy regarding pull-carts (trolleys) at St. Andrews? Let’s let them answer for themselves:
There’s no need to book trolleys in advance, simply turn up and hire them from the Starters Boxes at the New, Jubilee or Balgove, at the Golfers’ Check-In in the Eden Clubhouse or at The Castle Course Reception. Trolleys are available for use all year round on the New, Jubilee, Eden, Strathtyrum, Balgove and The Castle Course.
So, you see, not only does St Andrews allow pull-carts, but they happily rent them to you.
“Uh, Lanny, the Old Course is not on that list.”
Hold on, my friend.
The use of trolleys on the Old Course is more limited. With 14 holes played to double greens, the movement of golfers is severely restricted and we therefore have to take special care to manage wear and tear on this very special course. Trolleys on the Old Course are therefore only permitted after 12 noon between the months of April and October.
It’s unclear what that means precisely (are they allowed or banned November-March), but the takeaway is that pull-carts ARE allowed on the Old Course.
Erin Hills can do what they want, as can every other course in America. But it angers me and discourages me from playing when none of my local yokel “upscale” courses allow pull-carts. Nor do the downscale courses, which is even sadder.
I know it’s all about the Benjamins, but the U.K. is capitalist society, too, and they allow pull-carts. What’s the deal in the U.S.? Must we squeeze every penny out of an industry until we destroy it?
I’ll end with this, a product review no U.S. golf media company will touch with a 10-foot pole.