I’ve never played the game

Shot golf today at the Waikoloa Beach Golf Course and happened upon Laurie Dorschlein playing. Laurie and I worked at Ka Leo O Hawaii the University of Hawaii newspaper together. Laurie was the advertising manager and I was a staff photographer. She must have been one of the most successful managers there and now runs her own agency on Oahu. I hadn’t seen her since college.

Here I am waiting near the 14th tee waiting for golfers while covering a women’s amateur golf tournament. I’ve never played golf, never even hit balls on a driving range and I have been on many golf courses but all with camera in hand covering golf matches. I was even offered by Arnold Palmer once to golf on the Hapuna golf course before it opened as he gave me and a writer a tour during construction, I had to admit that I don’t golf to Palmer.

Not that I wouldn’t probably enjoy golf should I ever take it up, but I’m afraid I’d be all encompassed by it like so many others. Golfers get totally absorbed in the game, buying the latest clubs, balls, shoes, clothes, bags, tees, etc. If Callaway came out with “The Big, Big, Biggest, Baddest, Breakthrough, Bamboocha Bertha Driver” folks would have that sucker on back-order, even if was the size of a watermelon. I have a few thoughts myself about golf:

  • No handicaps. Sure folks say it allows inexperienced golfers (aka bad golfers) to play with experienced golfers but really. If you play Shaq basketball you expect to get your ass whooped by 100 points you can’t have him spot you 99 points. If you suck, you suck, be proud.
  • Golf should be only be allowed for beginners and pros. PGA & LPGA golf is entertaining to watch and hey you gotta promote sports amongst youngsters that want to learn. but everyone inbetween those two should be either banned from playing golf or forced to golf in secret.
  • No talking about golf outside the golf course or clubhouse. All those stories about, “I got on the green in two then almost had a bird on a 15 foot putt.” Come on, is your golf game of the week really of importance to re-live? Once someone starts golfing all they want to talk about is golf: in restaurants, in the office (major offender here by folks), at parties, at the urinal, etc. Remember, your playing golf is supposed to be a secret, see thought above this one.
  • What kind of sport allows you to smoke cigars and drink booze while performing it? Okay, so there’s billards, bowling, darts, poker and ice fishing. But I guess that’s the appeal of smoking stinky cigars, drinking booze and getting to drive what looks like an overgrown bumper-car escaped from the carnival. Make golf healthy, make everyone walk. The pros do it and if amateurs want to be like the pros make them all walk too.
  • Ban the use of phrases like, “golf is all mental”, “golf is cerebral, a thinking man’s game” Come on, is that why you need thousands of dollars worth of equipment? Just borrow clubs from the pro shop and use your mental skills to win.
  • Full disclosure about condos and homes with jacked-up prices being sold next to golf courses. Folks, the reality is if you live up against a golf course be aware that: that grass needs to be mowed just about every day with noisy mowers, balls will gravitate to your home or windows, swearing, noisy old farts with stinky cigars will be right outside your home. They don’t put that in the brochures for those home do they? Arlene once told me the main purpose to have a golf course is to make the homes around it more expensive, I agree.
  • More sponsors for LPGA golf. This may sound weird from someone ranting a bit about golf but I’ve covered LPGA golf and folks like Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb have been some of the nicest people to deal with in my humble opinion (I’ll admit that Arnold Palmer has always been a great guy to deal with too). More females should be allowed to enjoy the sport. LPGA golf doesn’t have the kind of monetary support that even the Champions Tour has.
  • The Champions Tour. This used to be called the “Seniors Tour” but I guess they didn’t like being called ‘seniors’ because it made them seem too old. Guess what, you folks are old, live with it. At least you’re a pro so you would be allowed to play golf out in the open and not in secret according to my rules. Should we just start using the word ‘champions’ to mean seniors? Give me the champion’s discount on that slam breakfast; let me buy a champion’s bus pass; I paddle in the champion’s masters crew of Kai Opua; I’ve worked here longer, I have championority; I was a junior in high school last year but now I’m a champion.

Now it must really seem like I don’t like golf even though both my dad and brother golf all the time and I often buy them golf packages at charity auctions (folks always think I love to golf because I’m bidding on these golf packages). Some thought on golf that will make anti-golf folks hate me:

  • Golf courses are good because they allow the treated water from sewage treatment plants to be used properly.
  • Golf courses allow for plenty of emergency landing fields for private aircraft should their engines fail. (I’ve personally photographed planes on golf courses a number of times)
  • There aren’t enough golf courses in Hawaii. Yep, there just isn’t enough for the amount of people playing the game. Not that I propose building a bunch more but it’s just a fact. Lots of people like to golf and we need more affordable golf courses, Kona needs a municipal course.

Okay, that’s enough for now before they start aiming those drives off the tee at me.

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