There seems to be a lot of excitement today over the European team staging a come-back to win the Ryder Cup yesterday. Now, I understand there’s a skill involved in hitting a small spherical object a few hundred yards, then hitting it again to make it fall into a hole not much larger than the object. I just don’t get all of the adulation and money that gets poured into the ‘sport’.
Golf always seemed to be something that my parents, or at least my father, played. The idea of buying a set of clubs and trooping to a course on a Saturday morning with co-workers is anathema to me. I remember having to learn the basics of golf in a high school gym class – which I was miserable at, but somehow the instructor gave me a passing grade for that portion. I tried again, in my early 20s, agreeing to go with my father to play nine holes one Saturday in late summer. We ended up being paired with two strangers, which caused me more embarrassment when my crapness at the game was on full display. Seriously, trying to hit an initial drive and watching the ball roll about ten feet from the tee can be will-sapping. I pretty much avoided golf after that, except for a few rounds of crazy/miniature golf here and there.
My father sometimes would ask when we would go again, and I’d say “Oh, I don’t know…sometime.” I think eventually he caught on that it wasn’t really my thing. I even considered going to a driving range a few times, but couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. When I found out some of my old high school friends were taking it up, I was gobsmacked! “Not us” I thought “We can’t be turning into our fathers…”
So far, I’ve managed to avoid turning into a golfer, even a very, very amateur-ish one. I admit to watching bits of tournaments about ten years, only ‘cos it was on teevee in my folks’ house and I couldn’t be arsed to change the channel. It bored me, except for the putting – that’s when the game can spark some real tension. As I say, some of the drives can be impressive, but if you’re going to watch it – just watch the putting on the greens.
I’ve never been to a tournament and I would never pay to go to one. When I was younger, there was a mini-tournament in Conn. called the Greater Hartford Open. My parents went to “Celebrity Day” a few times, when some famous players of the time and a few actors and that would show up. I never went myself, save one year, when I was temping in the summer and was working at an office furniture warehouse. Our team was supposed to go the site and set up tables or something. The supervisor on the job was a massive twat and I only remember unloading trucks and sitting in a huge marquee for a while. That and the supervisor’s shit jokes – oh yeah, and chuckling to myself watching him try and chat up some woman who was also working at the tournament.
O.K., so perhaps I haven’t made the best case against golf, except to say that walking around a field, albeit a pleasantly mowed one, with a bunch of white sales exceutives, hitting small spherical objects with metal clubs isn’t really my idea of a fab time. I’ve gotta side with the late, great George Carlin on this one: