The latest news from the GCAA convention

One of the things I’ve noticed over the last half dozen years or so at the annual Golf Coaches Association of America Convention is how more and more coaches are speaking out. When given the opportunity, they are putting in their two cents worth. Their opinions and questions often generate some pretty good discussions among the group.

This is a good thing -- a healthy thing -- in my opinion. It certainly beats those times when silence really did seem to be golden.

At this year’s convention this past week at the Riviera Hotel, coaches spoke what was on their mind. It was good -- and at times even a bit entertaining.

Among the various subjects discussed within Division I breakout session was the match play portion at the NCAA Championship and whether it should be contested as strictly match play -- like in 2009 -- or possibly switch to a medal/match format where all matches would go the full 18 holes with the low score among the two players earning the team point.

While that would be a matter decided upon by the NCAA Golf Committee, in a close straw vote taken, coaches favored the medal/match format. Interesting enough, that was a different result from a straw vote taken the previous day on the same matter.

One thing the Division I Golf Committee made pretty much clear, however, was that there would not likely be any changes from the 2009 NCAA Championship format for at least a few years.

“Let’s let the current format runs its course for a few years and see how it goes,” said Darren Spease, the associate athletic director at Charlotte and the committee’s chairman. “I’m sure this is something the committee will continue to look at on a regular basis and will continue to listen to the input of the coaches.”

Slow play in college golf was again brought to the table. Through all the discussion –– and as usual there was plenty of it –– there were those who put the blame on the coaches themselves.

“As coaches, we need to do a better job with educating our players on this,” BYU coach Bruce Brockbank said. “A lot of our kids don’t know how to play fast. So it’s up to our coaches to educate our players at home. We have to get on them to pick up the pace. It’s up to us.”

I, for one, totally agree with Brockbank. It is up to the coaches to preach and practice faster play. It seems everyone complains about those 5 1/2 to 6 hour rounds. It’s long overdue time something is done about it and I think it starts with the coaches.

As far as television coverage of the Division I NCAA Championship, don’t look for that in the near future. It’s mainly due to the high cost of production for TV golf coverage.

“Having our national championship on TV is something we continue to strive for,” said Donnie Wagner of the NCAA championships administration. “However, unless we can get a sponsor or sponsors or an institution to step up and handle financial obligations, it’s not going to happen soon.”

Sure would have been nice if it happened at the last NCAA Championship. Golf fans everywhere would have been treated to one of the most exciting finishes in national championship history.

Well, we can only hope.

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