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Golf, A Diversion


September 29, 2010

Someday, I might take up golfing. Someday when I have truly run out of options, that is.

My mother got tricked into it late in life. Apparently, she had too much time on her hands and someone suggested chasing a little white ball around perfectly manicured lawns with the hope of hitting it into a tiny hole using only a modified broomstick. She said, “Why not?” as someone with too much time on their hands would say.

Now, my mother spends a great majority of that extra time complaining about how that little ball won’t go into that hole.

The sport is set up to turn perfectly sane people into raving lunatics. How many innocent trees have suffered a club wrapped around them by some unhinged golfer?

As if it wasn’t hard enough to get that ball into the proper hole, there are hazards to avoid: sand traps, water traps and other golfers. Two of these will ruin a golfer’s entire day. The other will sue you for everything you own.

The trick is to know when your ball might go in another golfer’s direction and yell “fore!” Of course, nobody is aiming for people, the ball simply has a mind of its own.

Therefore, even though you are not aiming for another golfer, you have to predict when your ball might be in that kind of a mood.

You yell “fore!” because… well, I don’t know why you’d yell “fore!” If you wanted someone to be aware that a tiny cannonball had just been launched in their direction, you should yell “incoming!” or “DUCK!”

On the other hand, you should probably only yell “DUCK!” if there was a duck being launched. At least then the unsuspecting target would know what to look for.

Accordingly, if you wanted a potentially endangered golfer to know what they were about to be hit by, you should not yell “DUCK!” or “fore!” You should yell “golf ball!” Just one more aspect of the game I don’t understand.

The only thing that makes sense about golf is that, between the destruction of golf clubs and the dodging of ballistic missiles, it is a great way to get together with a group of friends and socialize. People will do some strange things simply to have a reason to spend time together. I am guilty of playing Bunco so that I can talk to adults and eat great food. Golf is a similar, more aggressive, pointless diversion.

I will caution anyone thinking about taking up golf: Never practice alone. The golf gods are famously capricious. If you, by some stroke of miraculous good fortune, should happen to sink a hole in one, it almost certainly will happen when nobody is around to see it.

It happened to my mother. At least, that’s what she says.


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