Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

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Cink talks freely about golf

Written by Bob Oliver on .

Every member of the PGA Tour has a story. There are stories of dedication, of heartbreaks and exceptionalism. The Tour displays the best players in the world on outstanding venues.
At a time when each and every event could have shots on a highlight reel, the game of golf is - depending on your point of view - is in great shape, superb shape and stagnating. 
Fact is the PGA Tour is doing just fine, but the game itself is suffering from barbs of all kinds. Rounds played are stagnating, clubs are closing and all is not rosy.
A few years back Hall of Fame member Lee Trevino mentioned three reasons for players not flocking to and sticking with the game could be boiled down to golf being too expensive, taking too long to play and being every so difficult. "It's a great game, and it's doing great, and iit will continue to be just fine," said the Merry Mex.
If you follow the game you are bombarded with the superstars. That makes sense. We like to argue about who is the best player, the flashiest player and the up and coming stars. Yet it's hard not to recognize that some of the players not in the spotlight are still the backbone of the tour.
Stewart Cink is one of those backbone players who have game, are fugolfn to follow and interesting. The 2009 British Open Champion was never a World Number 1 but has compiled a stellar career. 
"I've failed miserably at golf," said Cink the day after The Masters at Reynolds Plantation on his way to Hilton Head and the Heritage, a PGA Tour even he had one twice. "I learn something every day. Fact is, this is a game where I've played in about 550 PGA Tour events and only posted six wins. Some might think that's failing most of the time, but with the competition on Tour it's not too bad!"
One can't argue with Cink's accomplishment, like competing on five Ryder Cup teams and four President's Cup teams, winning a major and winning a world golf championship event as well as four other Tour events. 
"I'm proud of my accomplishments, it's a tough game and we have so many great players," said the 44-year-old who is still making cuts on tour. "It's a great game, we have a strong product, we are attempting to grow the game and overall it's a great place to be."
At a time when many players are averaging 300 yards per drive, Cink is hanging close at 295. He hears rumbles about dialing the golf ball back in an effort to negate the need for longer and longer holes, Cink has no problem with outlandish drives. "I don't think we have to reign in the golf ball, the rules are there and the manufacturers follow them. We don't have to, after the fact, start dialing things back. Players are getting into the game at an earlier age, with high value instruction and competition.
"If you look at the stats, we aren't hitting much farther than 2000, but more players are hitting it far. Scoring isn't all that different. Bottom line, why rush to fix something which isn't broken?" 
Cink's advice makes sense.
He agrees there could be fine-tuning to the rules and even has a "tweak" he'd like to see in PGA Tour rules. "Totally agree with us not being allowed to use range finders in events. With one provision. In an effort to speed up the game and eliminate long delays when there is a wayward shot and player and caddie have to spend minutes figuring out distances to lay up spots. Maybe allow a range finder to be used in that situation, say, twice a round. Rather than walk all over, boom, shoot the range finder to a spot, hit it there, and move forward."
Interesting, but never gonna happen. Still, little tweaks can sometimes make a great difference. And there's nothing wrong with speeding up the game. 
Talking with Cink and getting insight into the game from a knowledgeable guy give great insight into golf. No, not a superstar with canned answers, but a real interesting discussion of the game from one of the core players who has flown below the radar screen.