Today, I did something that I have not done in a few years: play golf. I had a nice walk. The weather was pleasant. The grass was green, having benefited from recent rains. The course lay on the side of a hill, affording fine views across a broad outlier of the Rhine graben (look it up).
I discovered two things, or rather reaffirmed something I knew. First of all, golf is a dumb game. Second, golf is not all that difficult, if you are not interested in perfection. I picked up where I left off. I should mention that I taught myself the game by watching others. Lessons were not necessary. Keeping score is not really necessary, unless you happen to be playing well. For those with knowledge of the game, I shot a biddy (look it up), which I will milk whenever golf is discussed.
As I mentioned, I had a nice walk.
That’s a term in used in baseball, golf, selling, and pine tree playing (at least when I was a kid, because I got a whole bunch on my hands and clothes).
The first and last make no sense, but the others do. This is about a sales pitch for golf clothing...
A friend owns and operates a company making interesting golf fashion for women. Any golfers out there or anyone interested in the look of a golfer, should check out her site.
The main site is:
Because everyone else in the fashion world is having a sale of last season’s models, she is too:
Tennis is supposedly “the sport of kings”. This is perhaps because they were the only ones to possess lawns at a time when peasants eked out a living on aristocrats’ other landholdings. I have read that golf was the game of shepherds or goat keepers, who passed the boring hours by hitting a stone with their crooks across the land where their animals crazed. Courses might have improved slightly, rules added, and fashion changed, but some of the boredom has been passed down over the generations. Of course, earlier courses did not have bars.
Golf is a dumb game...or sport...or whatever it is labeled. I say this each time I play. Still, I do not dislike the occasional walk that I enjoy while chasing and hitting a little white ball. I am not as good as I could be: that requires hours of boring repetition (see first law below). I manage the occasional great shot or putt and take heart at watching how professionals occasionally produce the same dreadful result that I manage more frequently. Recently, I have walked mostly with my son-in-law, who is slightly less mediocre and takes it more seriously. In my wedding speech, I wished the happy couple health and happiness and that his golf game does not improve too much. I do not need to be embarrassed any more than I am at our relative levels of ability: it might ruin our walks.
Although there is much golf humor, some of the best can be found in a book by Henry Beard, Mulligan’s Laws. Since I have started a series of “laws”, I thought this might be an appropriate and entertaining addition. I have found each of the following to be accurate, but I particularly like the last one.
If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.
The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing.
A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponent’s luck.
A ball you can see in the rough 50 yards away is not yours.
A ball hit to the wrong green will always land two feet (60 centimeters) from the cup.
Good sportsmanship is as essential to the game of golf as good penmanship is to the sport of stock car racing.
Nb. I do not lose balls, or rather I end each game with as many or more balls as at the start. Shots might go astray, but I manage to find other balls during my forays into the rough. So, I may not finish the round with the same balls, but the quantity is the same or greater.
Golf is a dumb game, but I always enjoy the stroll around the course. Golf courses offer nice vegetation and quiet surroundings. I have had some wonderful walks in different parts of the world. In some cities, particularly in Asia, golf offers the only chance to enjoy the smell of grass, abundant greenery, and tranquility. I have never let my relative ineptitude at the game bother me, perhaps because I have a lot of patience. I do not expect to improve and have found that practice lowers my score.
Proficient golfers must be good at not thinking (not necessarily the same thing as being less intelligent). The sport takes years of practice and constant repetition of the same movements...in hope of being able to replicate that movement repeatedly during that walk I mentioned above. I have always been a good athlete, but I think too much: about what I should do with the club in my hand or about completely unrelated subjects, both of which hinder my performance. Thought leads to inconsistent play, but I am able to celebrate and brag about the occasional good shot.
Golf is boring to watch on television, but I do enjoy the occasional waste of time. I like to see professional golfers make bad shots...some even look like one I have managed to make or could make. How does a guy that plays golf every day for a living miss a one-foot putt? It’s easy, if you don’t know how...
At my daughter’s recent wedding, I mentioned golf in my speech. I said that I accepted her husband, because he was mediocre at golf. When we play, he is not good enough to embarrass me. I wished the happy couple many years of health and contentment...and little improvement in his golf game.
Someone once said or wrote that golf is “a good walk spoilt”. I don’t agree...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.