The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Georgie Kulczyk
Sports Rants 

A Spectator Sport?


I was irritated following the divisional golf meet held in Glasgow May 7. Unless your child is or has been involved with high school golf, you may not be aware that spectators are not allowed on the course.

The Montana High School Association mandates: “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional”.

As a member of the media, the rule poses obvious problems, but most of them can be solved with a good camera lens.

As a parent, however, it means missing out on watching achievements that can’t ever be reproduced. For example: Scottie golfer Cade Myrick had a hole-in-one at the divisional tournament on Monday. The only people that witnessed the accomplishment were his competitors and a tournament official.

How disappointing.

Justifications for the spectator ban include prevention of unruly, disruptive parents, spectator safety and illegal coaching of players.

My question: What makes golf so special? Anybody that has attended a high school basketball game at the peak of the season knows the meaning of disruptive and unruly fans and has witnessed coaching from the stands. There’s also no guarantee of fan safety, with balls and athletes often launching into the bleachers.

The rule also inhibits college coaches from effectively scouting for talent. It would seem to be difficult to determine the skills and temperament of an athlete if they couldn’t be observed during regular competitions.

Unfortunately, the rule will not likely change anytime soon. There have been attempts in the past, but the most recent attempt was easily dismissed by MHSA after a survey of member schools showed 75 percent of responding athletic directors actually favored the rule.

Until the rule changes, parents and fans will just have to rely on the athlete’s perspective of his or her achievement.


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