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.
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.