Sunday, June 10, 2012

Radical Golf for Beginners

The Parkdale Liberation Front’s Radical Golf for Beginners
Jean Paul Sartre, the famous existential philosopher and Kermit the Frog look-a-like once said: Hell is other people. For the golf enthusiast: Hell is other golfers.

One of the most prevalent obstacles to enjoyment of golf is slow play. Lorne Rubenstein, the golf guy over at the Globe and Mail has written eloquently on this nastiness.

Not so long ago we played a round at a public course. Ahead of us were foursome, only one of whom appeared to have learned the game. We thought, we’ll just play through. It didn’t happen because the group ahead of us picked and dropped errant balls on the fairway. They played a game that matched their abilities. I bet they had a fair amount of enjoyment in their round. Kudos to them.

Jack Nicklaus has a radical idea: stop building eighteen hole golf courses. Instead build twelve hole courses. There is some historical basis for this. After the battle of the Plains of Abraham beneath the walls of Quebec City the British turned the field into an eleven hole golf course. We think the idea has merit. It takes up less space, costs less to maintain, has less impact on the environment and takes less time to play. That is providing you don’t have to deal with the menace of slow players.

A nine hole round is a nice way to spend a couple of hours. We like to play nine as it fits in with our busy schedule, that is unless we run into slow play. Nine or eighteen though you need to prepare yourself before venturing into the murky world of gold merchandising. After all you are going to need some clubs and balls, a golf glove, a bag to cart everything around in. Not to mention shoes, pants, matching tops and hats and so on. Remember golf is a multi-billion dollar exercise in commodity fetishism.

What do you really need to play a game of golf? We advocate the use of four to five clubs at most. A fairway wood, a hybrid or rescue club, a mid range iron, a gap wedge and a putter. You will become more familiar with your clubs more quickly to fewer you have to learn to hit. You need a glove. You don't need shoes. A good pair of sneakers will do.

We advocate that you take some lessons from a CPGA pro. These men and women will give you a solid framework to help you master a simple swing that will put the ball in the fairway, on the green and in the hole.

But is it enough. Well think of it this way. The golf industry has managed to brainwash us pretty well. You have to play eighteen holes. You have to have twelve or fifteen clubs in your bag.  You have to dress the part. You have to carry a scorecard. You have to  .  .  .  .  Well no you don’t.

Let’s say the object of the game isn’t win but to enjoy shot making. As anybody knows who has ever played the game a perfect shot is its own reward. Each hole is an adventure. You begin with your fairway wood off the tee. You don’t hit it far but you hit it reasonably straight. The main thing is that you are in the fairway or the first cut of rough. Now you hit your middle iron. Chances are using the middle iron again or your gap wedge you next shot will put you on the green. Then you are one putting for par, two putting for bogie.

For the beginning golfer who wants to keep score achieving a round of bogie golf is an awesome achievement.

But who says you have to keep score. We don’t. If you don't keep score is it still a game?

Robin Williams on the History of Golf. Warning to children this link contains the words fuck, fucking and fucked up. 

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