Teed off Golf course smoking bans anger golfers
Thats why recent efforts across the country to ban smoking on public golf courses are being greeted by those players like a triple bogey. In the balance between individual rights and public health, weekend duffers feel authorities have become unreasonable.
The city of Spokane just tried to ban smoking on its four public golf courses, only to be stymied by an outcry from players and smoking rights advocates.
Golf and cigars go together like a hand in a glove, said Dale Taylor of Tacoma, president of the Cigar Association of Washington, a smokers rights groups. That may be the only time some people smoke.
Washington state is among the least hospitable places for smokers, with no smoking allowed in any public indoor space, or outside within 25 feet of a door or window. But the proposed smoking ban on public links has struck a nerve, in part because of the vastness of golf courses. Playing a typical 18-hole course, such as Downriver in Spokane, means traveling easily more than three miles.
If I was just walking and somebody was 300 feet away, Im bothering them? avid smoker and golfer Greg Presley told the Spokane parks board during a public hearing. Weve got to have some common sense.
Evidence of the illnesses caused by second-hand smoke has led to widespread bans on indoor smoking nationwide in recent decades. The great outdoors is now at the forefront of campaigns led by smoking opponents, and hundreds of places ban it in outdoor restaurants, parks and beaches, said Annie Tegan, of the Seattle office of Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, which seeks to limit smoking.
Because bans are enacted at the local and state levels, it is difficult to determine their exact number of them. Tegan knew of about a dozen communities that have banned smoking on public golf courses, including San Francisco, Glendale and Pasadena in California; Hawaii County, Hawaii; Bloomington, Minn.; Goshen, Ind.; Abilene, Texas; and Arvada, Colo.
The Hilo Municipal Golf Course is the only public course on the big island of Hawaii, and last years ban on smoking in all public parks, beaches and other recreation facilities has not been popular, said assistant pro Sharol Ayai.
Theres big-time complaining, Ayai said. The golfers will still smoke because most feel it is unfair. We all pay taxes.
Ayai said the ban, which does not apply to private golf clubs, has not had much impact on the number of rounds played at the course, in part because it is ignored.
Some communities that tried to ban smoking on golf courses, like Thousand Oaks, Calif., relented after complaints by golfers, whose fees support the facilities.
You really have to stretch things to imagine you are offending anybody when you are outside smoking cigars, said Gordon Mott, executive editor of Cigar Aficionado magazine, which includes a monthly feature on smoking and golf.
Some non-smokers oppose outdoor smoking bans as intrusive government.
Its a disgusting habit, but people have a right to make choices, Spokane resident Joel Bark told the local Parks Board during the public hearing.
Patrick Reynolds of the Foundation for a Smokefree America acknowledged that moving the anti-smoking fight from indoors to outdoors was cutting edge.
But these are in fact reasonable laws, Reynolds, grandson of tobacco pioneer R.J. Reynolds, said. Second-hand smoke causes lung cancer.
The bans also are aimed at reducing litter, he said.
Smoking bans also have been imposed on spectators at pro golf tournaments. Last month, there was a no-smoking zone for the first time at the Masters. The U.S. Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines banned smoking by spectators because San Diego had banned smoking in its parks, beaches and public golf courses. But players were allowed to smoke.
With little advance notice, the Spokane parks board voted in March to ban smoking in all city parks, including golf courses. An existing law already prevented people from smoking near playgrounds, swimming pools or other parks facilities, so the board didnt think many would care when it decided to ban smoking entirely, parks spokeswoman Nancy Goodspeed said.
They were wrong.
The outcry from smokers and libertarians was swift, and prompted the board in April to stay the ban on golf courses while it studies the issue further.
We heard from everyone and their brother, on both sides, Goodspeed said.
The board will wait for people to calm down before taking up the issue of smoking on golf courses again, she said, adding that may be a year or more.
Presley, who said he has smoked and played golf for five decades, hopes it never comes up again.
Theres plenty of fresh air out there to share, Presley said. Everyone pays taxes.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18