Dean Clough

November 15, 2023

Portico Darwin: Golf Different


2 Minute Read + External Article

I was really stumped today for a subject.  Yes, even Mr. Chatty Cathy runs out of "interesting" topics.

But not to worry, at the last minute, golf saved the day.  Or at least this post.

That's because of this very interesting article I read in The Athletic, The New York Times's sports platform.  Their stuff is paywalled, but not to worry, I made a PDF of it for you.

The article is about how there's an accelerating trend in golf, and it's the growth of what I'll call amusement courses.  These are shorter courses - much shorter - that are designed for fun first, and for rounds that take 1 or 2 hours, not 5 or 6.  Or more vividly, less etiquette and tradition (some would say bullshit), and more Caddy Shack.

Seriously, it's some new-ish and much-needed middle ground between the very popular Top Golf facilities, and old-school golf courses.

Sound good?  I think it does, and it's about time.  So as Apple once said "Think Different," I now say "Golf Different."

Mind you, I was raised at the feet of an actual pro golfer (my cousin Zeb Jones), and many others for whom the sport was central.  So respect for the game of golf and its traditions are very much ingrained in yours truly.  And, as you can see, I even had some skills at one time.

Now?  If I'm being honest with you, I grew tired of 18-hole rounds decades ago.  Yes, I did my bit with the fellas, sucked it up, and had some laughs.  But starting way, way back, I shied away from betting, which immediately revealed me as an unserious golfer.  At least to many.  It's because I didn't care - and by about the 13th hole, I was done.

From there, and when I did go to a course, things deteriorated seriously.  That's because I wasn't putting any time into practice, and thus my play on an actual course suffered.  This made doing it even less fun, so you practice less, and there you have it:  the definition of a negative spiral.

But I turned it around, and I did so by completely blowing off most every established rule.  For a long, long time now, here's how I've played golf - and enjoyed doing so:

  • I don't keep score
  • If I like my drive, I'll play it; if I don't, I'll toss a ball down somewhere on the fairway
  • If I mishit a shot, I'll hit another
  • I move my ball in the rough to improve my lie
  • I move my ball in sand traps to improve my lie
  • When I get sick of playing a hole, I put my ball in my pocket 
  • Same with putts - suffice to say, I don't 3 putt much anymore
  • I skip holes, and when I get tired or sore, stop playing altogether and simply enjoy the surroundings
I know, I know:  what is described above is most certainly not the game of golf.  Or at least as many - especially a couple of readers I'm thinking of right now - define it.  But mind you:  I am still respectful of others and their game on the course.  Manners still matter.

Which brings me to my point.  The article on Ben Crenshaw's new course at Streamsong confirms there can be a new way to play.  Heck, the fact that someone with his cred is behind it says a lot.  I think this has the potential to open up the game to more people, and that is a good thing. 

Sorry, country clubbers.

But there will always be a place for 7,000-yard and longer behemoths that cost $500 for a round and take hours to play.  The crazy famous and old places - places like Pine Valley, Cypress, Pinehurst, and Augusta - aren't going away.  Nor are the hundreds of private country clubs, many of which rely upon ridiculous tax and other breaks to maintain their existence

So I say bring on this new approach. 

Or should I say welcome to my foursome?


Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


Here is Alice Cooper and a Killer live album if there ever was one, The Alice Cooper Show.

Why Alice Cooper today on KLUF?  He's a famous golf nut.

About Dean Clough