Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Do Not Understand Golf (Completely)

This past Sunday, I went to my sister's house to celebrate Father's Day. Her father-in-law was an avid golfer at one time and was watching the U.S. Open on NBC. While seeing all of the pretty scenery and all of the people watching men take a swipe at a tiny, white, dimpled ball, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.

I mean, I know the idea of pars and bogeys (thank you, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour), but the whole concept of "playing defensively" and the types of clubs you use and like just boggles my mind. I already know that it takes a lot of skill to drive the ball in a certain fashion, and that you have to take into account the wind and the kind of golf club you use.
It's already known that it's a pastime among retirees and athletes during the offseason, but to be perfectly honest, what does golf do for anybody?

I always saw golf as a sport for rich people. Why? Because not many people could really travel around to see all of the tours that take place in the world. Plus, "rich people fanbases" have proven to be really quiet when the people take shots. You don't see this going on while people are taking shots and celebrating after shooting a birdie:

You know, it would actually be REALLY FUNNY if the Black Hole was at a golf tournament just for the puns.

Anyway, it's a very reserved sport, and to play professionally, you need to have utmost patience and concentration. It's almost like horse racing before the gates open and the guy says: "aaand they're OFF!"

The one thing that I often wonder about is how one gets into the sport without having any lineage to live by. For example, U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy is from Ireland; he has the wide open spaces and mountain ranges to practice from, and aside from rugby and soccer, there really isn't anything else out there in the land of beer and potatoes. People that I know who played golf in high school made me ask questions, like, "how the heck did you decide to do a sport like this?" It's not like you wake up one morning and go, "hey, I think I might try golfing today," or "golfing is so intense...I wanna do it now." Heck, I could be wrong about that, but a sport like golf takes so many years to master and it's not like you can practice drives in your backyard like you can practice throwing a ball or shooting a puck or something. You need to have money and connections and find places to do stuff like that.

I also noticed that golf is a very 'hit-or-miss' sport; to my knowledge, there really isn't a huge following of it in the United States for it to have scholarship offers or anything. I personally don't know a lot of people my age or people younger than me that follow golf to a particular extent.
What makes the sport different and unique is the types of workouts involved in training for the sport. It's mostly upper-body and hip things because of the momentum and pivoting while taking shots. You don't really need to run anywhere...that's what golf carts are for. Duh. Just kidding. Stances require different leg exercises--so if I were to sit down to figure out how to tone myself to play golf, I'd lift weights and do yoga for the rest of my life--wait, I'm already doing that. Nevermind. Another thing is the time period playing golf. It's like playing Battleship or Risk; it could seriously take forever to play golf depending on the course and how many people are playing. Of course, you could make a tennis match last 11 hours, but that's rare. Golf...could take a while.

Even though there might not be a big enough following among the youth, most people are familiar with the sport and what goes on. The first thing that may come to mind for most people are Tiger Woods and the movie Happy Gilmore when Adam Sandler fights Bob Barker. I also think of the movie Caddyshack, but I'm also a big dork and have useless knowledge of things, so don't mind me here.

In conclusion, I guess golf is more like a cult thing in which you really have to be born wanting to play or being interested in playing. If that's the case, then there's a chance that you'll never be able to understand the psychological warfare that is this sport if you hadn't had it instilled in you in your youth. Yes, I have had a golf club in my hand at some point, but it wasn't to drive anything...it was to put the ball under that darn windmill at the mini golf resort. I can't even play Wii Golf right. It's sad. I'm drifting off the topic, so I will end it like this: Golf is a sport for different people. You can't just pick up a club and a ball and start playing. It's a lot of training and math that has to go into it, and unless if you know the sport very well and watch it often, it's not the kind of thing that you could sit down and teach someone in a night--believe me, I'd bet you'd only scratch the surface of the whole idea of golf.

This is why I do not completely understand the sport of golf. The end.

I'm sticking to mini golf.