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Satire: The Most Stupid Game in the World – Golf

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Why do we do it? Why do grown men — and some grown women — go out week after week to humiliate ourselves in blistering heat, humidity, rain, snow, geese droppings, rampaging deer, and attack squirrels pretending that, this time, it'll all come together? This time, we'll have a swing as smooth as Ernie "The Big Easy" Els, the power and control of Tiger "My C Game is Better Than Anyone Else's A Game" Woods, and the great attitude of Phil "I'm Playing This My Way" Mickelson.

I've been told by people in authority that the average golfer never breaks 100. For you non-golfers, that's the equivalent of hitting .123 in a baseball league for the blind when you're the only one with vision. Or hitting 35% of foul shots when you're up on a ladder overlooking the basket. Or kicking a field goal from ten yards out when the goal posts have been lowered to ten feet, and the opposing team have all come down with viral pneumonia and can't take the field.  In golf, 100 sucks.  90 sucks just a little less.  Most of us will never see the other side of 90, so I don't know what 80 does.

It's the only sport I know — and to tell the truth, I know very little about sports — where practice simply does not make perfect, it doesn't fucking help at all. People are assigned a GAP (Golf Ability Profile) at birth by that great Greenskeeper in the Sky, and, regardless of the number of lessons you take, the number of new putters, drivers, types of balls, hats, gloves, and trusses you buy, you cannot change your GAP. Some are lucky to have GAPs of 85. They will always shoot in that range…even on a miniature golf course. Most have GAPs of 105, and there is no teacher, no training manual, no nothing whatsoever that will get them to play consistently below 100.

One of the most amazing moments in golf history, according to me, happened a few years ago. It was, I think, at a U.S. Open, a tournament so vicious, mean, and nasty that I'm surprised golfers let the people who came up with that tournament live. Tiger was in knee high rough over 200 yards from the green. The odds of him even making contact with the ball was roughly 1 in 1,345,236,777,339; it wasn't even clear if he could see the ball.

[Aside: My home course used to be the TPC at Avenel, in Potomac, Maryland where the Kemper Open used to be held. Pros didn't think much of the course. Generally, we got golfers from the Lithuanian Ghost League or the Canton, Ohio Death Merchants. But that didn't stop the PGA from turning our difficult enough course into a walk through Dante's Inferno. The rough was triple seeded and grown to the height of an elephant's eye. If you hit into the rough, the odds of finding your ball were roughly 1 in 2,345,333,536. In fact, you'd only find it if you stepped on it, because even if you were standing over it, and someone said, "oh there it is," you still wouldn't be able to see it. So we had a rule. If everyone agreed that you went into the rough in a general area, you'd get a free drop without penalty.  Like that helped.

And the greens.  Oy, don't get me started on the greens. They were so fast that if you were lucky to even land on the green, you had to run like a bastard and hit your putt before the ball rolled off.]

So there's Tiger. He calls for a 4 iron. 4 iron??? Every other golfer in the world would take a wedge, swing like a madman and hope to get the ball to go 20 or 30 yards into the fairway. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, if cloned into one golfer, would, at best take a 9 iron and go for maybe 50 yards. 

Tiger takes a mighty swing, takes a divot (a large clump of sod and grass one hopes to take after hitting the ball) the length of the Mississippi River, and the ball soars over 200 yards to land on the green.  The announcers were apoplectic.  The spectators were popoplectic.  The other golfers who saw it just threw up.  Tiger's caddy went and retrieved the divot and brought it back.  They both started laughing.  It was at least two feet long.  No human being could hit a ball in that rough 200 yards, which leads me to suspect that Tiger ain't human.  He can't be.  I mean, I'm sure he is (just in case his lawyers are watching) but, just between us, no human could have done that. 

But that's the problem.  That prick Woods and all the other professional pricks make us think that, if we only work hard enough and long enough, we can do better.  Bull twinkies. 

Tiger was obviously born with a GAP of minus something — which for you non-golfers is better than very good.  Sure he and the rest of the pros practice eight, nine, ten hours a day, but that's just for show.  If your GAP is 95, you could practice 23 hours a day, and, at best, you might shoot a 93.

Think of another game where practice has no effect on your ability, where you can never be better than the GAP you were given at birth.  What kind of moron plays golf?  Why do we persist?  It's such a stupid game that BlogCritics doesn't even have a special category for it, so we have to file it under "Sports: Other."  I don't blame them.

When I first started playing, rather late in life, someone asked me if I knew why they called it golf.  I, of course, said no, but I considered that it was flog spelled backwards.  I was wrong.

"It's because fuck was already taken," he said.

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About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • yeooz

    I disagree with the original poster.Golf is a tough and challenging game.Both me
    ntally and physically.He obviously has a problem unwrappping his pop-cicles………

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    yeooz, i may have a problem with my pop–cicles, but u have a problem with clarity. What???

  • vishnu

    You’re absolutely right; if I’d put the same amount of effort into, say, learning the cello, that I’ve put into golf, I’d be playing in Carnegie Hall by now. But in golf I’m lucky to hit the damn thing out of my own shadow…

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I think it was Carlin who couldn’t understand why one would hit a ball with a crooked stick 200 yards, then go and find it, and hit it again.

  • REMF

    Out here in Montana, we call it cow pasture pool…

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I’ll tell you MS…back in the day,when I was a poor boy and all I could afford was K-mart clubs, I shot in the 100’s all the time…usually around 105…but when I got a rid of the adventure and got a real job and could afford a good set of clubs and shoes and shit like that…my scores dropped.

    The best thing to do is find an easier course than Avenel for one…and I don’t know…maybe…if you’re old enough..you can move up to those gold tees they have on some courses…you know the ones…the AARPtees!

    I will agree that it’s a frustrating game…but it does help in those lessons of humility that we all need from time to time.

    Hit ‘em straight!

  • Paotie

    Mark ..

    Funny article.

    I’m a 7-handicapper, and have played in multiple USGA tournaments, and even a Long Driver’s Association tournament.

    I took up the sport 5 years ago because I wanted to compete in something. Recreational softball was fun, but then people started acting like they were just a step or two away from MLB, and bowling is well .. mostly fun when you’re drunk.

    Golf is less about physical abilities and more about the mental game. Tiger is a freak. It’s one thing to play golf with your buddies and another thing entirely to play in a tournament, in which everything you do has to be hoity poity. There’s nothing worse than waiting for an idiot to triangulate his putt for 10 minutes, only to blow the damn ball a mile past the cup. The rules of golf etiquette are aplenty, too but it becomes cumbersome when people start asking, “Do I get relief because my ball is sitting in a footprint in the mud?”

    I dunno. Golf IS a stupid game. But, there’s nothing stupid about the gadzillions of bucks Tiger makes.

    By the way, I played at Torrey Pines Golf Course near San Diego (2008 US Open host and several previous ones as well). The course is relatively short and easy to play. The hard part is the wind coming off the ocean. I have never seen a golf ball fly left and then dramatically shift right as if an imaginary fiend smacked the ball in mid-flight to the opposite side.

    Anyway, the other thing about golf that’s great: the beverage girls.

    Putt-putt is for pussies.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Paotie,

    You took up golf 5 years ago and you’re a 7 handicapp. Excuse me, but [curse words and incantations to rain fire from the heavens up on you.]

    You prove my point about the GAP. Obviously the Great Greenskeeper in the sky liked you and assigned you an absurdly low number when you were born.

    I don’t play tournaments, so I don’t run into the jerks you describe. I think the one saving grace for golf is that golfers, by and large, are pretty nice, interesting people. Now that I’ve left my club, I just drive out to public courses, and I’ve met some great folk.

    7 handicap. Sheesh.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • sr

    MR WOODS HAS BROUGHT IT TO CENTER STAGE. NO WONDER THEY CALL HIM TIGER.

  • Paotie

    Mark ..

    Well, golf is more a mental game than it is a physical game. It’s more about repetition than much else. Ever hit a ball that felt so good, and then wanted to do it again? And you’ve found that the times you hit the ball that felt good are far and few in between? That’s the mental aspect at play.

    But, I think I’d break my wrists trying to cut a divot 2 feet long and 6 inches deep. Freaking freak of nature Tiger is.

    I don’t know about nice golfers. When I play in groups, they’re almost always nice. Problems happen when the group in front starts taking too long and then tempers flare. Nothing worse than to sit idly by for 10 minutes while an idiot practices his swing 500 times before swinging for real.

    There’s a reason why most courses have driving ranges.

    Nothing worse than to see the group in front play deadly serious Putt-Putt, and then scream in agony as if they’d just lost the US Open because they couldn’t read how the grass grows and the slope of the green itself.

    But, then again, there’s nothing more fun than to launch a 7-iron 190 yards and land it squarely on the green while drunken idiots triangulate their penises.

    And then and only then, does it become fun and interesting to play golf.

    Mark, what usually happens when you hit your driver? Are you one of those guys who hit the driver well, but not the irons? Or vice-versa?

  • Jose’

    Mark,

    I also until recently played regularly at Avenel. Although you and I look identical, we never play at the same time. Even with my smooth fluid and the fact that I score bogey or better, I only get to play a few holes a round. Then, you show up and I’m gone. Please, Mark think Tennis!

    Your Alter Ego

    Jose

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Suss, get the hell out of my fantasy about Jose. That last post just has to be you! The trouble with tennis is holding the bottle of Irish Whiskey while playing. At least with golf, you can just put it down.

    But, Jose, anytime you want to take over, just let me know.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Gozer the Gozarian

    I think the reason people keep playing golf is because they don’t care how well they play, it’s just about flaunting your ability to afford it to your friends and associates. You can claim to be part of an elite social club if you have achieved the financial status where you can justify in your family budget the expense of playing this game. Belies some insecurity if you ask me. What are you attempting to compensate for with your big, long, heavy, expensive sticks gentlemen?

  • benson

    Great article what a load of bollocks is this game of Golf. How F******* stupid that a 60 yr old plays at the highest level and competes in becoming a major winner. I smashed my golf clubs in frustration and promise never to play this stupid piece of shit of a game again.

  • Putt for Dough

    If you spend ample times to practice correctly, I dont see why you cant break 80s. Dont just go out there and hitting ball hopelessly on the range day-in day-out, that wont help. In short, golf is like life, if life is not improving , a smart guy would find an alternative approcah to reach his goal, while stupid just keep moaning and begging.