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Last weeks column about developing profitable alternative golf venues (3-hole, 6-hole, etc.) to combat stagnant growth in rounds got a lot of impassioned response. Heres a sampling from the electronic mailbag.
 
The course I play, a 1,200-yard 9-holer, is the stepchild of three much longer courses which are maintained by the Los Angeles City Parks and Recreation Department in the Griffith Park area of L.A. While others hang around waiting for their tee times and pay upwards of $30 for a round at the longer courses in the same system, this little gemis the perfect course for amateurs, beginners, better-players-now-seniors, and the seasoned golfer who just wants some irons and putting practice. Players make the circuit in everything from flip-flops to top-of -the-line FootJoys, [using everything from] from off-the-rack to custom-fitted clubs, and you'll see the range of tee shots from big Berthas to 9 irons.'Kriss Wagner, Glendale, Calif.
 
My wife considers me a golf snob (I say purist), but there must be a place for people who are interested in the game to get the necessary experience that we purist (snobs) demand they have before we let them on our muni's. My son is 8 and goes to the range with me. I can't take him on a course, and there are plenty of other entertainment activities vying for his time and interest. My wife has him in music, dance, soccer, karate and on and on. But I can't take him with me to the muni until he is 10. That makes no sense.'Dwight McLeod

So there seems to be some willingness to rethink things. But others rankled at what they perceived as suggestions to change the game for the worse.
 
I heard you out and you couldn't be more incorrect. Call me an old-timer. I have played golf for 46 years. I welcome anyone to the gameHowever, respect for the traditions of the game should be maintained. Asking someone to wear proper attire isn't asking too much. The clothing need not be new or expensive (much of my golf wardrobe is neither), only neat and clean. 'Roger Denny
 
If a person is going to play a game, they should acclimate to that game! There are already too many people playing who haven't bothered learn the rules of the game, the history of the game, or basic golf etiquette. (Etiquette-I had to look up the spelling, but I know what it means on the golf course.) I play on public courses. Trust me, a decline in rounds played by a few percentage points would be a welcome sight in my area. 'Ron

Fewer rounds would be a good thing? Ron, if you think you pay too much now, just wait until demand really dips. But here I owe an apology. I should have been clearer: I never meant to suggest that those who play a full 18 and who prefer to follow the games most rigorous traditions should have to share the course with those who take a more relaxed view. Some restaurants require gentlemen to wear jackets, some dont. Theres no reason there cant be a selection of golf courses of all sizes to accommodate varying tastes in game, dress, and atmosphere.
 
As to a strict line on what people wear, Im as devoted to my iron as the next guy, maybe more. But can public golf in its current state afford to be so persnickety? And beyond golf, the hard truth is this: In a free society, the only sartorial right you really have is to dress yourself. Everyone else is on their own. God Bless America.
 
I liked this economically realistic e-mail from a man who insists on playing his own way, even though he doesnt get as many rounds in as he did before the birth of his child.
 
Oh, and I suck. I have played for about nine years and range from mid-80s at best, high 120s at worst, and most often barely break 100. I use foot wedges and mulligans quite often, but I don't care. It makes me happy, and if I'm happy then I will come back and keep spending money on green fees. I consider myself a golfer even though I don't always play it down and count every stroke, but I also can't hit my drives 200 yards straight away, so if a foot wedge here and there makes the difference between a happy 101 or a mad as heck 120, I'll take the foot wedge happy 101 any day of the week.'Brent

Some people went out of their way to see at least two sides of this multi-faceted issue.
 
With all due respect I can not disagree with you more. I grew up in a lower middle class family and became a caddie at age 14. I am now a member of a private club. I have seen golf from all sides. The one area I don't care for is people who come out to a full 18 holes, for any reason, that don't know at least some etiquette.
 
I do agree with you about other facilities. I have seen enough pitch and putts in my life (that's where I started, never have had a professional lesson and now I am an 8 handicap) to know that's where people should go.'Stephen M. Carew

And speaking of realism:
 
Golf should be fun and the more folks we can include, the better the game's overall health. Since all sports go through evolutions, why not golf as well? 'John Huttenlocker, North Tonawanda, N.Y.

Thanks to everyone for reading and writing. And keep your opinions coming.
 
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr