Thursday, February 21, 2008

NYT: More Americans coming to their senses

Golf is a good walk spoiled. --Mark Twain

It appears that golf is on the decline. The article mentions all manner of possibilities as to why that could be happening, from a quickly crappifying economy to the aging population to the ol' "fat guys don't wanna go outside" angle.

I think I have a more compelling answer: golf blows. I'm sorry, but it's an intrinsically shitty sport, and the drop in number of people doing it shows simply that Americans are finding new things to do and discovering that, compared to their new hobbies and pastimes, golf just sucks.

Golf has to take place outside, so your schedule depends on the weather. This means that if you live north of the Mason-Dixon, it's f**king miserable trying to play for 6 months during the winter. This also means that if you live south of the Mason-Dixon, it's f**king miserable trying to play for 6 months during the summer. And yet, unlike pretty much every other outdoor "sport," you can't even claim you got any exercise unless you walk, which *nobody* does anymore, and which isn't even allowed in many clubs nowadays from what I understand.

Golf is stupendously expensive. Not only do you have to buy hundreds (or more!) worth of equipment, but you have to pay exorbitant green fees to play. And you have to pay it, because golf requires an absurd amount of meticulously maintained space. No makeshift backyard fields for you! No, sir, instead you get to drive outside of town, which is where the closest golf course usually is. Nevermind that golf courses also happen to be environmental disasters both in amount of land wasted and amount of resources wasted just to keep said land manicured. And it's not just expensive in terms of money; golf takes for-f**king-ever to play. As in an average of 4 hours for 18 holes. And that doesn't include the time it takes to drive to the course and back.

Golf is also hell on spouses/children. Golfers are like devotees of any sport, in that they don't just play golf; they have to watch it every time it gets shown on TV. Unlike devotees of just about every other sport, however, their sport is painfully boring to watch, at least for anyone who's not a golfer. Even tennis has things like, ya know, motion, multiple people actually moving on the screen.

Golfers will tell you that one of the reasons they love golf is because it's relaxing. This is what golfers think they should feel because they play in a bucolic wonderland of multi-colored grasses lined with combed, unnaturally shaped sandboxes, but it's pure, unadulterated horseshit. This is what I've learned from watching golfers play every summer since I was a kid: golf is absolutely infuriating. Every hole requires you to hit a tiny ball with near-professional precision 3-6 times in a row, at least once with as much force as you can muster while maintaining said precision, and one miffed swing could leave you a ball short and multiple strokes behind. Putting from more than a couple of yards away, or on any kind of incline, is virtually impossible for people not named "Tiger." And no matter how much you practice, you'll probably never get much better than you were after about a year of playing.

In short, golf is what happens when you teach a Scotsman croquet. This is why we don't televise football in Scotland. The English should have learned when they taught the Irish soccer.

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