Golf preserves Daylight Savings Time


Last Sunday, people in the US moved their clocks one hour ahead as part of the biannual ritual associated with Daylight Savings Time. And each time we do this, people complain about the disruption it causes. To add to the confusion, some states such as Arizona and Hawaii do not make any change.

The main reason originally given for the change is that it would save energy but studies have shown that not only is there no appreciable energy savings, there is evidence of an increase in energy use.

While the government continues to claim that the country reduces electricity use for each day during DST, Downing says we come nowhere near that. Some studies do report small reductions in electricity use, but the most comprehensive study of household energy demand and many others report an increase in overall energy consumption ranging from 1 to 4 percent during DST.

So why persist in this? The reasons are likely economic.

According to Downing — author of “Spring Forward, The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time” — the industry claimed “one more month of daylight savings meant $200 million more in selling of barbecues and charcoal.”

“For the golf industry, one more month of daylight savings meant $400 million more in green fees and equipment sales,” he said, adding “and that was the industry estimate 25 years ago.”

Given that golf is a game that is largely the province of the wealthy and politicians seem to also love it, you can be sure that they will strongly oppose any change that will reduce the time they have in the evenings to play.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the biannual ritual associated with Daylight Savings Time.

    Technically a semi-annual ritual, in that we (have to) do it twice a year, not just every two years.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … many others report an increase in overall energy consumption ranging from 1 to 4 percent during DST.

    My electric bill goes up a lot more than that during Daylight Slavings. Any such studies would have to make (rather arbitrary) adjustments for air-conditioning season, very likely to flood out the subtler effects of clock changes.

  3. anat says

    Energy savings existed before the advent of air conditioning.

    Other claimed advantages – lowered crime rates due to later nightfall. Claims of fewer motor accidents during morning commute (though the adjustment temporarily increases them), better sleep quality (again, after adjustment) due to later sunrise.

  4. Chiroptera says

    According to Downing — author of “Spring Forward, The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time” — the industry claimed “one more month of daylight savings meant $200 million more in selling of barbecues and charcoal.

    And you know who else likes that extra hour of daylight? The people doing that barbecuing.

    Seriously, though, whatever the intentions of our lords and masters in maintaining DST, most of the people I know really, really like that extra hour of daylight after work (despite their complaints during the switch).

    This may be one case where the venal interests of the moneyed class actually coincide with the desires of the rabble.

  5. Mike A says

    So people like the extra hour of daylight. We can still have that without the time change. Let’s keep DST all year round.

  6. Mano Singham says

    Mike A,

    The catch is that in the winter, it would be dark until quite late in the morning requiring, among other things, school children having to leave home in the dark.

  7. Mano Singham says

    Pierce @#1,

    Biannual‘ generally means twice a year though it is sometimes used for once every two years. It is ‘Biennial‘ that means once every two years.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Mano Singham @ # 7: ‘Biannual’ … ‘Biennial’…

    Damnit, that’s confusing even by American-English standards. Who’s in charge around here?!?!!?

  9. Mike A says

    It’s already dark in the winter when I drop my kids off at school. But, we could split the difference and set the clocks half an hour ahead all year.

    Maybe at some point all clocks will be computerized and we could just adjust it 10 minutes automatically each month in the appropriate direction. Better yet, 20 seconds a day or so. (As a computer scientist, I realize the practical havoc this would cause.)

  10. Chiroptera says

    Mike A, #5:

    I’ve always wondered why we don’t just stay on DST all year round. But, me, I’d hate that. I like it getting dark early. One of the best parts of the winter months is when if finally gets dark enough that I can enjoy the walk home from work; I’ve always liked walking at night.

  11. Ice Swimmer says

    I’d be happier about DST if us folks in the high latitudes didn’t have to do it. Here in the satanic sixties the benefits of DST last a few weeks, in April 22th, four weeks after the EU has gone to DST, sun sets at 9.02 pm (in DST) in Helsinki and in May 1st it sets at 9.20 pm. I can see that DST is more useful in the tepid thirties and feel-good forties of latitude.

  12. Dunc says

    Ice Swimmer, I couldn’t agree more! People at lower latitudes really don’t seem to appreciate just how much different it makes when you get a bit further away from the equator. We don’t need an extra hour of daylight after work – in fact, I’d prefer it if it got dark before 11pm at midsummer. As it is, I need to close the blackout blinds before sunset if I want to get a decent night’s sleep.

    As for staying on DST all year – no. Please no. I’m a night owl, and my SAD is bad enough as it is. Getting up an extra hour before dawn during the winter would be extremely bad for my mental health.

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