April 21, 2011

Recalibrating Golf: It Won't be Easy!

RECALIBRATE MEANS "To correct a measuring process by checking or adjusting again in comparison with a standard." In the case of this blog - government.

While I normally comment about government 2.0, technology and things related, today's post is a little different. I want to look at a recalibration project in the real world. And this project might be more difficult than the one we face in government!

The recalibration project comes from the world of golf. (Full disclosure here - I am an avid, yet often frustrated golfer).

Everybody knows that golf is a game of ancient rules handed down over the generations. The rules of golf are promulgated by organizations that are remote to the average golfer and there are lots and lots of rules. There are rules for golf equipment, scoring, penalties and almost every situation you could experience on a golf course.

Since I have been to a PGA Rules Seminar, I can tell you first hand that golf has an extensive rule book. And the supporting book of rule decisions reads like a "Tort" textbook. It takes a great deal of study and experience to really master the rules of golf.

Golf is normally played on an 18 hole golf course. The length of those courses ranges from an average of 6,000 yards - the pros play courses that measure over 7,000 yards. The 18 holes of golf are played in consecutive order, 1 through 18. Certain clothes are often required and appropriate behavior is always a must. Today it takes about 4 to 5 hours to play a round of golf. The cost to "ruin a good walk" with a round of golf can cost from $40 to $225 - or more.

The bottom line. Golf is perceived as an old man's game (although that has really changed in the recent past). It's expensive and it requires a huge investment of time.

And that's where the "Alternative Golf Association" (AGA) comes in.

Launched in January 2011, the AGA is a growing group of golfers who want to see change in the game. It's goal is to foster the "creation and evolution of new games - golf for the rest of us." Known as Project Flogton ('Not golf' spelled backwards), Bob Zider (founder) and Scott McNealy (Sun Mircosystems founder and AGA's Commissioner of Golf) are actually putting some money behind their effort. To spur innovation and change, Project Flogton is staging the $10,000 Longest Golf Ball Challenge which is a challenge to develop a new golf ball. The new ball must produce 25% more distance for players with swing speeds of 80 to 100 mph. (And that's a good thing for "us").

Some of the specific changes the project calls for include: the use of non-conforming balls and clubs not considered legal by the United States Golf Association, one mulligan per hole; eliminating social rules like the use of cell phones on the course; and more.

And you thought recalibrating government was difficult!

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