Illustration by Jan Igoe
As a nongolfer who lives on a golf course here on the Grand Strand—one of the golf capitals of the universe—I get to study the colorful folks who spend precious time and resources attempting to master this exasperating excuse for a game. It’s like bird-watching, except the birds don’t curse.
Luckily for me, the tees are located directly behind my house, keeping it reasonably safe from incoming shots. A golfer would pretty much have to turn sideways to drive a ball into my yard. I’m not saying it can’t be done. Occasionally, a bowlegged stranger will waddle up to plant his face against my kitchen window, just checking to be sure none of my hard-boiled eggs say Titleist.
Beyond welcoming trespassers, my golf background isn’t extensive. Most of what I know came from Caddyshack, where I found myself rooting for the gopher. To be fair, I tested my chops on a driving range, blasting one ball at least 6 feet after 736 attempts. Still couldn’t figure out why golf was supposed to be fun, so I went back to tennis, where I have no problem hitting balls into the next county.
Tennis is my kind of sport. A can of balls runs $2. I use the same 10-year-old racket to serve, volley or smash. Nobody makes me play 18 sets in a single, sweaty afternoon. And when I’m moving like a three-legged sloth, there’s always a doubles partner to blame for stuff like gravity or whatever else put our opponents up love–5.
But golf is not like other sports. There’s nobody to yell at. No opponent is blocking your jump shot with an errant elbow. Hardballs don’t spin toward your head at 120 mph, and no Hulk-size monster is waiting to tackle you. You don’t have to chase, catch, kick or head butt the ball. It just sits perfectly still, politely waiting to get smacked. Golf could be the AARP version of T-ball. It’s so safe, it’s dull.
Maybe that’s why golf announcers sound as solemn as morticians. “Dearly beloved, the water hazard has claimed another young drive before its time.” Somebody get Vince McMahon in here, quick.
My golfer friends still hope to convert me, the ungolfed heathen, by inviting me over to enjoy pro golf on TV. They lure me with wine and potato chips, which have no calories if you eat them at someone else’s house. So I go, but I’d rather be watching a tax audit.
They need something to perk the sport up. Fortunately, I’m here to help:
- Hire cheerleaders for every hole. A couple of backflips can’t hurt.
- Put on a halftime show after the ninth inning. (Ninth hole. I meant hole.)
- Make putting a contact sport. Get some goalies on the greens to guard the pins.
- Find a kraken. You know that beast in the Geico commercials whose massive tentacles erupt out of the water to grab random golfers? That’s the best thing that could happen to the sport. We’ll get one of those, but let’s put it in a different water hazard every day. People love surprises.
Call me when the PGA implements these suggestions. Until then, I’ll keep birdie watching and hoping that, someday, I’ll see an eagle.
JAN A. IGOE believes that H.G. Wells was right. “The uglier a man’s legs are, the better he plays golf. It’s almost a law.” Write her at HumorMe@SCLiving.coop.