Just Say No

Remember that scene from Tin Cup? I’m talking about the one in which McAvoy’s in the Winnebago decked out like a Golf Channel addict from the days when half the programming was infomercials as opposed to Kelly Tilghman desperately trying to find ever more creative ways to ingratiate herself to Tiger Woods.

There was just something wrong about that scene, to the very core.  And it wasn’t Roy’s pathetic vulnerability in front of a woman whom he desperately wanted to doink.  No, it was all that junk.  In one stark, raving and utterly lucid moment, it was clear:  We have sullied the game with an unhealthy clutter of mind and implement and, in some cases, personages.

Golf Reality, Act 3:  Seriously, Protective Covers for Irons?

I’m not some Luddite.  I have a Winnebago for a driver.  And it is trendy white.  My irons have been expertly fitted, though my performance could call into question the efficacy of that practice.  My putter looks like it is fresh from the mind of Gene Roddenberry, except of course the great Star Trek originator is also the late Star Trek originator; never mind, a Klingon still might try to pilot my Ping.  But at some point, enough is enough. Whether for flag, queen, manhood, womanhood or just the good of golf, let’s rattle about the old game and rid ourselves of a lot of useless stuff and both simplify things and lighten the load, practically and metaphorically.

Golf Carts

If you can’t walk 18 full holes then play nine short ones; there’s no chairlift going to the top of Everest, either.  (OK, I’ll concede a buggy to those with true physical limitations.  If you’re just fat like me, you walk.)  I’m not breaking any ground with this particular idea.  Yet it is one warranting a renewed visit, oh, every three or four hours.  Mechanical conveyances ruin the rhythm of the game.  They stifle the ambling conversations that could be the best part of what we hope is less than a day on the course.  They encourage lazy design and lousy land-use.  They slow down the game.  There are plenty of exceptional carry bags out there or add a trolley to the repertoire.

John Daly

Sorry, Long John does not move the needle.  He moves people to whom I’d like to introduce the concepts of fishing for lunker catfish by hand and midget bowling.  Good riddance.  He is not “good” for the game. He is a joke.  I don’t care about the trashed hotel rooms, clubs in lakes, Ozarkian retailing in the parking lot, smokes, booze or bimbos; there are some admirable traits in there.  And I like fiery, colorful characters who justifiably challenge authority.  That’s not Daly.  He’s a caricatured whiner who does not take responsibility for his own failings and the next exemption he gets and then pisses on by quitting mid-round will be one exemption too many.

Loudmouth Golf

Enough said?  I thought so.

Asshole Pro Pro-Am Participants

Some schlub springs a wad for his dream round with a tour pro and he draws one of the noted pricks who bracket five hours moaning about their unfortunate lot in life, or playing invisible, with a hollow first-tee handshake and a hasty retreat on 18.  (Now if you get a guy like Kevin Streelman, you’re golden.)  On behalf of consumers everywhere—remember, pro, everything that makes you rich ultimately comes from what we purchase—get over yourselves.  Yes, it is tedious, the jokes might be stale, the play certainly not up to your lofty standards, but you’re playing golf for (an immense) living and we’re paying for the privilege of doing it as a hobby (and paying you).  I played the “Dinah Shore” this year and had pro partners whose English skills were only slightly more advanced than my expertise in Korean and Mandarin.  We had laughs, needles, fist bumps and two wonderfully memorable days out on the green stuff.  Messrs. Longhorn and Gator, pay attention:  “These Girls are the Good Ones.”

Kids Should Wear Baggy Shirts and Play From a Heinz 57 Bag

Going back to this year’s Kraft Nabisco: there was a pint-sized Poulter playing in the pro-am.  Hey, if mom and dad can burn that kind of coin, more power to ‘em.  (You know, on second thought, no, shame on them.)  The disturbing, dare I say sad thing, isn’t that this kid of four, maybe five, was dressed in Fowler Sunday Orange, and I mean from head to glove to Puma toe.  It wasn’t the logo bag and full complement of sticks.  It was his demeanor, one apparently patterned by mums and pops after the School of Judge Smails.  I should’ve called Child Protective Services.

Lift, Clean and Place

Last time I checked golf is an outdoor endeavor and we certainly like to shout to the world that it is a sport.  Olympic downhillers go 80+ on ice.  In the fog. Buck up, mud-ball boy.

Marking is Superfluous Crap

No more marking the ball on the green unless you have a playing partner stymied.  When you drew that alignment aid on the ball your hand was shaking from going 12 rounds with Jack Daniels the night before.  So even IF the Sharpie stripe was straight and IF you could see through the haze, you tug every two-footer that you don’t otherwise block.  It is unnecessary, time-wasting behavior.

The 14-Club Rule

It’s not what you think.  I want to lower the number.  Way too much clutter in the bag.  Way more clutter in the head.  Call me when you find that back node on Pebble’s 17th through skilled intent and not blind luck and I’ll let you start loading up past the eight- or nine-club mark; you can have the ones no longer in my bag.

Lest you think I forgot …

Iron Covers

Silly.  There’s just no other way to say it.  Silly, silly, silly.  I’ll say it again:  Silly, silly, silly.  They waste time, they make kilties look cool and manly and—I hope this isn’t news to you—irons are made of STAINLESS FREAKING STEEL and won’t suffer harm if not re-sheathed between greenside chili-dips.

I know, I know, just the tip of the iceberg.   But the Titanic was big and unwieldy, too, and a tip is all it took.

2 Responses to “Just Say No”

  1. bardolator

    Great fun, Ken. I especially liked the suggestion to play the ball as it lies. What the hell, leave it there even if it’s in someone’s line. Golf meets croquet.

  2. Vic Williams

    Yo Ken,

    Having finally played in a pro-am last summer (Reno-Tahoe Open, you know the one I’m talking about — your team won the previous year), I can report that Steve Flesch is one of the good guys. We had a blast. And during the round, as we played in the perfect midsummer, low-humidity splendor of 5,000-foot Montreux Golf & Country Club, the lefty had just one bitch: “Why they hell aren’t we playing out West during the summer? Instead they’ve got us in the Southeast and Midwest, where the humidity is brutal.” Well put, my friend. As long as the PGA Tour’s HQ is in Florida, the West gets short shrift.

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