For years, golf has tormented us. Now the sport needs its duffers. Well, we have some demands.
Have you heard the news? Golf is in trouble. There are too many courses and too few players. Across the industry, futility reigns and despair abounds. Now you know how I feel when I’m playing you, golf.
Long have I waited for this moment, for I am precisely the type of person golf is trying to woo back: someone with a set of clubs and a high tolerance for public embarrassment. I’m not saying I’m a duffer, but my game is reminiscent of the old saying: “Drive for show, putt for dough, putt again because that first putt went 17 feet past the hole, putt again, putt again, chip, putt again, decide a five-foot putt is a gimme, pick up the ball and claim to have scored a seven on the hole.”
When it comes to the tee shot, some golfers adhere to the adage: “Grip it and rip it.” I’m more of a “Miss it and dis it” kind of guy. But I am not alone. I speak for many like me. If you want us back, golf, here is our list of demands:
• Henceforth, every golfer gets his or her own scorecard, pencil and beer cart.
• One of the main reasons I don’t golf much is that, like many working parents, I struggle to carve out the five hours required to play a round. The solution is simple: The golf industry needs to take care of my kids. The youngest likes his sandwiches cut diagonally.
• One thing I’ve noticed while walking the fairways over the years: not enough beanbag chairs out there.
• A number of courses are trying to lure back lapsed golfers by expanding the hole—with some actually making it the size of a large pizza. And yet, from what I’ve read, there is so far no course on which the hole actually contains a pizza. Guys, that’s an easy fix.
• Some private clubs are reducing membership fees or opening their doors to the riff-raff on certain days. I’m not sure that’s humiliating enough. Let’s make them work for it. I want a CFO to park my car. I want a CEO to clean my clubs. And I will accept nothing less than a third-generation trust-fund dandy to repair my ball marks, especially the ones I make in his Jaguar.
• During tournaments and league play, the challenges tend to be geared to skilled golfers: longest drive, closest to the pin, etc. Let’s level the playing field with a men’s prize for Drive Closest to the Ladies’ Tee Box.
• The time has come to loosen up the dress code. Two reasons. First, the coming together of overweight male golfer and modern clingy golf shirt is the single least-pleasing combination since either rum and raisin or Milli and Vanilli. Second, I can’t tan my thighs if I’m not wearing my Daisy Dukes. That’s just science.
• In a nod to tradition, let’s retain the prohibition on grounding your club in a sand trap. In a nod to incompetence, let’s lift the prohibition on picking up the ball and just chucking it onto the green.
• I recently read a review of a new driver that supposedly does everything except hit the ball itself. So why doesn’t it? Come on, people, we’ve conquered space flight, unlocked the power of the atom and invented the Slap Chop. The Callaway AutoDriver should be a cinch.
• Some traditions are worth preserving. For instance, golfers should continue to yell “Fore!” on wayward shots—unless the ball is heading toward someone who is over the age of 14 and dressed like Rickie Fowler. That dude deserves whatever comes his way.
• Let’s relax the official rules a little, OK? There’s nothing wrong with moving the ball slightly to gain a better lie, or taking a mulligan after a lousy tee shot, or giving up and playing tennis instead.
This story originally appeared in Sportsnet magazine. Subscribe here.