I was reading the NY times article on question of what professional golf will do with the impact that tiger woods has upon not playing and the drop of overall viewership. I can’t remember ever watching golf on television, my father enjoys it. I used to always enjoy playing the game, although, I think 18 holes is simply too long for the average fan.
"Why do you want to chase a silly ball?" my dad laughed.
"Cause it looks fun, that all." i replied. a bit hurt that my father laughed at me and my desire to try something new.
My first job was topping and filling graves in a cemetery. I would have to ask my brother if I was 12 or 14 years old, but I remember asking my dad if I could have some money to buy golf clubs. He laughed and said, “You want golf clubs, go out and get a job and earn them.”
I am thankful the backhoe operator at the time probably made too much money and he enjoyed his libations too much to want to use a shovel and a rake. people laugh or get freaked out when i say my first job was grave digging.
My brother and I would read the obituaries to see who had died, as each funeral meant cash in our pockets. It was the start of learning how big a racket funerals, weddings and divorces seem to be.
When i came home with my shiny new Jack Nickolaus "golden bear" clubs, my father looked at me. "how much do you make at that cemetary?"
Death is a profitable enterprise.
Then my neighbor Mr. Phillips, a decent golfer was kind enough to take me out and watch the horror that is someone just learning the game. The following year, mom got on dad's case about "doing something with the boys" and he and nick got new clubs....go figure! It really was fun spending the time with my dad and brother - even though brother really sucked and would swear at the ball, club, bird, whatever...that "this sport is stupid!" we had a lot of fun.
Though I enjoyed the game, I can never say I was very good at golf, but when you are 15 or 16 years old, a nerd, and women wanted nothing to do with you, my friends john and Jeff would usually head up to a course where the gate keeper knew we didn’t have much money (i doubt we had any) but he could see we really liked playing, so we would magically time getting to the course , right after he left (he would wave us on and smile) and we could play about 7 holes before it got dark.
I enjoyed the game and the time walking the course when the sun was setting. all the animals would come out and eat delicous greens from the beauty that is a manicured golf course.
Then I remember the day I was standing on a lacrosse field in the spring. I didn’t dislike like the sport, but I really didn’t love playing it. Each day, a car or two of fellow schoolmates would honk their horns and wave.
“Who are they?” I asked, sweating and wheezing on the lacrosse field.
“The golf team.” replied another sweating and wheezing teamate.
“How do I try out for that team? It looks a lot more fun than running around with sticks and beating the snot of out each other. At least the modern version doesn’t have a human head being thrown around like the ancient Native American Indians.”
I think I made the last spot on the golf team. What can I say, as an American football player, the idea of finesse and strategy with a golf club was not something that meant much. I had more fun swinging so hard that I could snap the heads of my Jack Nickolaus clubs trying to hit the ball as far as possible. (score? who cares! go far ball! go far! so pretty!)
Why all this about golf? I guess because I haven’t played in years. It just got to be too much time for 18 holes and then in Charlotte, NC; my clubs were stolen out of my car. I never got another set.
But today, reading the article…I kept thinking, “what if we made a golfing robot and put a bunch of high tech sensors and other gizmos on what would basically be a perfect swing on a motorized buggy.
Would it kick the snot out of a professional golfer?
Things the brain thinks about when reading.
Robotic golf? The RGA - robotic golf association?
All of the defense contractors will jump at the sponsorship opportunities as their robots show off precision, accuracy, finesse and i am sure someone will use smart balls to self correct in flight.
What will people actually do for hobbies when the machine age really goes mainstream?