Golf is of keen interest to some older and retired people, and so is a fit subject for comment here on Olderhood. Full disclosure requires me to report that I have no interest whatsoever in golf, sharing Mark Twain’s view that it is “a good walk spoiled”.
Golf has lost about five million players in the US in the past decade. The National Golf Foundation has concluded, according to reports, that the game is “too difficult” for those under 35, who will not, apparently, do anything that requires effort.
Accordingly, the powers that be in golf have hit upon a simple solution. The holes in the ground into which the ball must be sunk are currently 4.25 inches in diameter. They will be increased to 15 inches in diameter. With this simple change, the officials calculate, golf will become of urgent interest to younger people once more.
Without knowing a mashie from a niblick, or anything golfish from anything else golfish, I do know a little about life. Golf became wildly popular in the US a while back because of Tiger Woods. Instead of being a fat old geezer wearing the world’s most horrible clothes, as golfers had been until then, Woods represented a new paradigm. He was young, gifted and multi-racial. Plus, he made love to any woman who met his requirements, i.e. was alive and willing.
Although a great golfer, tutored and pushed from an incredibly young age by his father, Woods was something of a flop as a human being. He promised to love, honour and obey, but didn’t.
His wife found out. Woods was forced to sit in front of TV cameras, his family and some people with nothing better to do, and apologise for his misbehaviour. His public request for forgiveness contained one of my very favourite excuses for human failings. “I forgot my Boo-dism”, he said, when he meant: “I forgot to keep my trousers on”. He then spent months in therapy, when all that was needed was for someone to tell him: “Stop it!” He hasn’t played golf very well since.
A message for any youngsters reading this: things that come to you easily are of lesser value than those that require hard work. The whole point of golf, if there can be said to be such a thing, is that it is hard. Very hard. Look at the scores at major golf tournaments: only about half of the world’s best players can manage to score or beat par, the number of strokes the course should take to complete. If the best can’t do it after years of practice, what chance do you stand? Which, of course, is not the point.
“Everything, all the time” is the motto of many of today’s young. When they fail to achieve it, they cry foul. The system is no good; the game is too difficult; the dog ate my homework.
If it’s hard, it’s good for you: old-fashioned logic for an illogical world. No charge.