I can’t help but notice the recent golf course invasions by foot golf and Frisbee golf recently. I realize golf courses are probably looking to increase revenue, but I’m not sure adding these sports is the best way to go. Maybe I only play on relatively cheap courses and this addition is the only way to sustain their business, I’m not completely sure. Having played golf off-and-on for over fifteen years, I guess times change.
Believe it or not, my high school golf career was nothing to write home about. In fact, a bit of good fortune allowed me to score a double eagle on a 500-plus yard par 5 with a set of knockoff Ping starter set golf clubs in the tenth grade, but things pretty much went downhill from there. I eventually was fitted for a set of King Cobra irons and have also added some bargain bin clubs to make a complete set. In fact, in my bag currently are a Taylor Made 10.5 degree driver, Calloway 3-wood, 3-iron through pitching wedge King Cobra irons, 52 degree Cleveland wedge, 60 degree knockoff band lob wedge, and Scotty Cameron putter. These clubs allow me to generally play bogey golf as well as enjoy some fresh air once in a while.
I think my introduction to golf happened because my friend played and Tiger Woods was in the middle of his dominance of the PGA Tour. In fact, I came within a couple feet of him during the Memorial Tournament at the Murfield Village Golf Course. The popularity of golf at this time was huge, and it was actually somewhat cool to play where I went to school.
I think part of the draw for me is the nature aspect combined with having a defined objective, hitting the golf ball in the hole. For me, golf combines the outdoors aspect of hiking as well as requiring skill to accurately hit the ball. Another reason why I like to play is golf courses with history and character. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to play the Trump Doral course or Augusta National, but I think I would get just as much enjoyment from playing a local course that is scenic and relatively challenging. You know, the kind of course where one or two people run the entire show by serving as the starter, snack bar attendant, ground crew, and pro shop manager… Caddy Shack seems to comes to mind here. A place where the clubhouse has witnessed decades of club championships and serves as a gathering point for locals.
I’m not sure how golf will fare in the future. I think Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy will help draw younger fans to the sport again like Tiger Woods did fifteen years ago. I think golf has done quite a bit to shed the elitist, white male stereotype with programs like The First Tee, LPGA Tour, etc… However, it does seem like more and more courses are closing, which is unfortunate. I think the benefits of golfing are numerous and include physical exercise, fresh air, and social interaction; you know, the kinds of things not possible to obtain in a shopping mall or most other developed settings.