Note: I actually wrote this two days ago, but due to computer issues (I wrote it on my laptop, which couldn’t get the wireless signal at my parents’ place), I couldn’t post this until today. Also, It’s an essay, but I have a strong feeling that elements of this will find their way into The Clean Hippie Murders. The titular hippies are the type of hippies who golf.
Golf is a funny game.
No, that’s not right. Golf is an incredibly stupid game, and people who play it are sad losers who should be separated from society for their protection and ours.
That’s not right either. It’s fair, but it isn’t right.
I say this based on my extensive experience with the game. Namely some five rounds or so, spread out over some ten or so years or so. My brother plays, albeit in spurts. If he’s on one of his golf kicks when we meet up for a family gathering, we’ll generally escape for a half a day and play a round.
I don’t get it.
There’s nothing particularly enjoyable about the act of hitting a little ball with an expensive stick. It’s not particularly good exercise. It’s immensely frustrating. How do you get closer to the ball, while keeping your arms straight, if your club is at the ball but your arms already are straight? Eventually my brother revealed that my arms needed to be lower, but seriously. How was I supposed to get that? It hurts: my forearm is throbbing from the impact of club on ball, or more likely the impact of club on ground two feet behind the ball, and the nail around my middle finger (ironic, that) always gets bloody from friction from however I’m mis-holding the club. A lot of people who play are prats. It’s expensive. It’s environmentally dubious. It has a frickin’ dress code.
I’m getting better.
Today I had my first-ever bogey. Unaided, no cheating by throwing a ball out from behind the bushes, a legitimate, 4-strokes-on-a-par-3 bogey. I shot something under 140; while I don’t keep records of my rounds, I think that’s my best round total. My brother corroborates that my shots look better; it seems that I’m actually hitting the ball (in the air, more than a 10-yard dribble, whatever) quite a bit more often.
The other pair in our foursome was senior and his son-in-law. The younger one had been playing for two years, while the father had done so quite a bit longer. We didn’t compare scores, but it’s within the realm of possibility that mine was lower than one or both of them.
How horrible would it be to invest your time, your money, your effort, your desire, and your heart into something so utterly trivial as golf, only to be indistinguishable at it from someone with no particular natural ability, no training, only the barest experience, and no particular concern to get better?
It would be tragic, and sad, and it calls into question the validity of the sport as a whole.
Okay, perhaps not. Most hobbies are pretty idiotic to outsiders. This one, however, the less of an outsider I get, the equally idiotic it remains.