Just because North America’s two greatest professional football organizations have rulebooks that aren’t totally in synch, it is not time for golf to embrace the NFL/NCAA formula and kick out two ways of doing it. Seriously. And we don’t need to caricature the game by dumbing it down to raise it up. We simply need some practical sanity, and I’m here to apply it, in this first in a series.
Golf Reality, Act 1: Most of Us Don’t Play by the Rules, Anyway
Except for certain exceedingly anal types who likely struggle with the concept known as complete honesty, most of us have been playing other-than-golf for years, rules-wise. Don’t tell me how pure you are because you don’t roll balls over or scrape away two-foot curlers. If you’ve taken one mully, you’re not pure, you’re sullied. If you’ve ever nutted a shot and in the rush of ego, blood and sense to the lower regions challenged your opponent to hit his 7-iron from 165 to a tucked hole, you’re not kinda pregnant, you’re pregnant.
Golfers cheats. So tell me why we need to cut a larger hole in the ground to accommodate putts that aren’t stroked anyway?
We don’t need a new game sanctioning cheating because we’re already there. I could care less if you tee it up in the fairway and liberally employ the hand-mashie. Whether your Bridgestone comes to rest on the wrong side of a stake yellow, red or white, bring it back in and let’s get going. If you don’t inquire as to how much cash I’m carrying, you don’t ask me to attest to the card and you don’t bust my chops in the bar by telling everybody how you put a beat-down on me, we’re good. It’s that simple. If we don’t have a “game” on and it helps you find your happy place on the course which in turns makes you a more joyous and engaged playing partner, let’s have it. Happy golfers are my kind of golfers. Other-than-golf is the standard game played coast to coast daily. The only thing we need to do is employ a bit of sense: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Buy me a beer, I’ll buy you a dog. We’ll tell jokes off-color or wickedly clean depending on the situation. You’ll commiserate at my hosel rocket and I’ll bump knuckles when you unload on your driver. We’ll talk about Bandon, Phil’s brain freezes, breast implants or, if you are so plumbed, why men are such pigs. We will not keep score. Take away the (falsified) documentation and what do we have? A day in the sun. Hitting balls. Laughing. With a friend.
That’s “golf” to most of us, anyway.
And if you’re a purist, by all means tally away. But please smile and have a good time when we’re paired together.