Bunkered Betty

Golf and skateboarding share a peculiar phenomenon; both sports attract an alpha’s share of arseholes and nitwits.

If you play golf you will inevitably if irregularly find yourself forcibly paired with strangers. The reasons are innocent enough, as courses are often busy, and groups of four play faster than two groups of two, and the occasional lonely single might require buddy. But eighteen holes of golf is a four and 1/2 hour affair, almost all of it spent not in the performance of a golf shot, but walking and waiting and watching. So, politeness demands you make friends, but woe are those who play golf.

The Uniformed Twit

Golf on television sports mostly conservative dress. Baseball cap, trousers, golf shoes, collared or muscle shirt, belt. I lack the sartorial grammar to fully illustrate what it is that makes the golf outfit so instantly recognizable despite its blandness, but exists it does. Many years ago one might have spotted plus fours, checkered knee socks, a vest, and a Scottish red plaid Tam O’ Shanter complete with pom pom. But those delightful times have past, and the rank and file hacker arrives at the golf course logoed in Nike swoosh.

The instant dislike felt by me when presented with such a corporate sheep is similar to my reaction to the baggy pants neanderthal with a skull on his shirt and bleached spikes for hair I encountered so frequently in high school. Skate culture breeds individuals whose primary interests are loathsome music and retarding intellectual development. The inane speech, ghastly artwork, and faux politics associated with skateboarding are difficult to get past. Be that as it may, I have met some very charming people who skateboard, and the same can be said for some I know who golf.

The Jock

My great admiration for golf stems partly from the fact that the game is a fantastic and elusive puzzle. Ted Williams said the most difficult thing in sports was hitting a major league pitch. Ted may be right, but surely the most counter intuitive motion in sports, is the golf swing. A visit to a driving range should prove sufficient warning to anyone who thinks the method for approximating a golf shot is readily apparent. What one will discover, is a host of semi correct and semi effective swings, and several entirely incorrect and ineffective swings.

New players tend to underestimate how difficult it is to get the ball airborne, let alone in the proper direction. I have had the pleasure of introducing the game to a few friends, none of them stupid or uncoordinated, and their golf  was, essentially, played along the ground. A largely unsatisfying experience.

On top of the singularly difficult task of hitting a ball from a perfectly level lie, and with the same club repeatedly, and without much care as to direction, which is the experience of a driving range, one is faced with a plethora of variables when playing golf on an actual course. Wind, the condition of turf, the ball above or below one’s feet, from an uphill or downhill lie, from a bunker, below branches, over a tree, putting against or with the grain, the reading of green break, adjusting for uphill and downhill yardages, and the effect of spin. Each problem potentially intertwined (a sidehill lie into a right to left crosswind into a poa annua green that slopes away from you with water in front?).

But in walks the jock. There is no denying it, the cro magnon in possession of truly superior dexterity and strength can compensate for a lack of technique. His drive will be inefficient, but nonetheless as effective as he who possesses good technique but only average coordination. How utterly and completely infuriating. Nonetheless, confront the same Pleistocene boar with an irregular lie and an inaccessible pin, and he will wither and fold. He does not understand.

How truly uplifting and validating the game of golf.

Robin Lindsay

rockrobinoff[at]gmail.com

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