My post yesterday about fishing mentioned that I think it’s the fourth most boring activity a person can choose to be engaged in. The top three all involve golf.
Specifically, in first place is watching golf on TV. Given the option of watching golf on TV or watching paint dry, I’ll pick the paint. Here’s a synopsis of TV golf: Golfer hits ball. (Look at that stance! Behold that grip!) Here comes my favorite part: Ball is airborne. Camera pans up to the sky to follow the ball. Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No–it’s the sky. The monotony of which is broken, if you’re lucky, by the tops of some tall trees on either side of the screen. What you will not see is the ball, unless you really are Superman and have X-ray vision. And anyway, I don’t care if the ball has been painted Day-Glo orange so that it stands out against your view of the sky, devoid of any reference as to where it came from or where it’s going, watching a ball sail through the sky is meaningless.
Thankfully, just before you’re ready to slit your wrists to get some kind of mental stimulation, the camera returns to the ground. Where you can observe the next step in the process. The golfers and their caddies walking to where the ball fell. The crowd trudges after them. Movement! The excitement is almost too much to take. Hand me a Valium.
In second place on my list was watching golf in person. The difference between watching golf on TV and watching it in person is that you’re there in person. You can at least be one of the trudgers.
In third place on the boredom scale was actually playing golf, and I thoroughly covered my experience with that in my post on fishing. But I have a lot more to say about playing golf.
I happen to be employed in the business world, and started as one of the few female managers at my level in my particular industry. My industry involves widget management. My company doesn’t own or manufacture widgets, we just manage them and their use by others. Thus, we report to widget owners. And nothing used to impress a widget owner more than the ability to play (and pay for) a game of golf.
Every boss I’ve ever had in this business (16 years now) has been a man, a fact I don’t begrudge in the least. It’s the way of the world. If I worked as hard as most of them do, I might be there myself. With a few exceptions (whom I survived), they have been extraordinary people. But to a man, they have all played golf and been good at it. Their biggest challenge was how to play the widget owner and let him win without being obvious.
The point is that playing golf was practically a requirement for advancement in business management, and it’s quite amazing that they let me into the management club. But during the course of this 16 years, a shift has taken place. More and more of the widget owners are female, and they don’t play golf either. When I want to bond with my female widget owners, we go to lunch, or to the movies. Finally, the playing field has leveled quite a bit.
The fact is that playing golf, until Tiger Woods, had deteriorated into an activity for old, fat, slow, white guys who needed an excuse to go drinking and talk trash about women in the middle of the day. Okay, that still happens. It just isn’t considered to be the socially acceptable, almost imperative, activity it once was.
It seems that golf courses are suffering now. For one thing, corporations are withdrawing their memberships as a belt-tightening measure. For another, it’s an environmental issue. The amount of water it takes to sustain greens in the desert, somewhere like Palm Springs, is crazy.
I never like to see anything die off completely, whether it’s an animal, a native language, a way of life, or even a sport. But if we lose golf, I can’t say I would miss it much. I bet Tiger Woods would be good at tennis.