The first issue of the YD’s new publication Blueprint came out this week. I sort of counted on getting at least one column out of criticizing it, but the contents of Blueprint turned out to be just too trivial. It was so bad that I could barely focus on the magazine during class, and even noticed my attention wandering to my professor’s lecture. So, I will have to turn to one of my stock topics instead: golf.
My parents were both born into what might be called the upper lower middle class. By the time I was born, my family had reached the lower upper middle class, and we gradually ascended to the middle upper middle class.
However, throughout that steady climb, my parents’ attitudes remained constrained by their upbringings. As such, I was raised to view the game of golf (and, by the way, it is most definitely a game; I mean, anything you can do while wearing trousers is not a sport) as an odd pastime of rich octogenarian curmudgeons. That view was mostly reinforced by popular culture.
I’ve come to see that my naive concept was thoroughly wrong. This was not a sudden realization. When I first started playing golf, I felt a bit out of place- I was in the argyle sweater, but not of the argyle sweater.
As I played more, I developed the idea for two pranks which I would love to play someday. The first prank is probably the first thing I would do if I ever become obscenely rich. Instead of carrying my bag of clubs or hiring a caddie, I want to pay a horde of a dozen or so of the most British guys I can find to wear matching navy blazers and follow me around the course, each carrying a single club. Oh Nigel, good chap, can you hand me the 5-iron?
The second is far less expensive and, thus, more likely to ever happen. I want to go to a miniature golf course decked out in ultra-stereotypical golfer clothing (something like this), with a full bag of clubs, accompanied by a caddie and a competitor. I would do all of the typical golf rituals: pick up and drop a patch of grass to judge the wind, have my caddie use golf binoculars to measure the distance to the pin (It’s about 13 feet to the pin, 7 to the sand trap), debate with my caddie before each shot about which club to use (If I use the sand wedge I could bypass the windmill and get to the green in one), etc. I plan on taking at least four hours to complete 18 holes.
Now, I’ve described these dream pranks to most of the people I’ve played with, expecting them to be put off by my irreverence. But, they’ve been surprisingly, disappointingly receptive. Even the Mickey Rooney lookalike who runs one of the driving ranges near my house, who’s so old that he remembers when golf was called “that game the Scots just invented,” appreciated the humor.
I’ve realized that golfers are mostly good-humored people. They actually tend to genuinely appreciate things more than the rest of the population. You see, most people hit only a few good shots out of a round of, say, 90 strokes. Golf is such a soul-crushing game, in which the player is constantly, brutally confronted with the sheer futility of human action that he has to appreciate the small things in life or lose himself to complete hopelessness. Hippies like the great outdoors because it’s the only thing that can mask their smell. Golfers love the great outdoors because they’ve experienced an intense, surreal deconstruction.