May 2009

Local Humor - From the Valero Texas Open

imagebrowser imageZach Johson's win may be the biggest story from the Valero Texas Open, but our local story from that tournament is a lot funnier. 

I've written about Lance and Rick Ten Broeck in the blog, two excellent golfers who grew up in Beverly and got their chops playing at Joe Louis.  Lance went on to play on the Tour, albeit without much success.  He's been Jasper Parnevik's caddy for the past ten years.

Because Lance has some history with the Tour he's qualified as an alternate under certain circumstances.  Well, the Valero Texas Open was just such a circumstance in an unexpected way.

For some reason the event was short a player for the first round on Thursday.  Lance's name on the PGA alternate list is no where near the top, but the need was sudden and Lance happened to be in San Antonio as Parnevik's caddy. 

Get More Golf in Your Life – Join a League!

Earlier this spring I took a look at how much golf I was playing and didn’t like what I saw.  I only played four times in two years.

How could I legitimately promote the game to anyone, much less women, if I never played?  I had a list of reasons why, but who cares!  So I signed up for TWO golf leagues:  a Friday evening league with the EWGA (Chicago) and a Wednesday afternoon league at the Meadows, a local municipal course.

With the prospect of playing twice a week in front of (or with) women players I took a golf lesson and started to practice, the best way I know to get up to speed.

My first game was May 8 and I actually counted every stroke.  The other three players included a rank rookie, a veteran whose best game might be 115 and a decent player who probably breaks 90 more often than not. 

My game was grim.  However, most of my extra strokes were a result of lousy course management rather than swing mechanics.   Thus, there was hope.

Is Golf a Symbol of Excess?

In a recent issue of GolfWorld Ron Sirak wrote about the problem of golf's image being associated with excessive wealth.  Mr. Sirak suggests that "these attacks on the game" distort its true nature and what it has to offer the individual player. 

Golf has been associated with money, the elite, the Hamptons, resorts, luxury and lots of (excess) time for as long as people have been writing, filming or talking about the game.  I suspect these very associations may act just as positively on some people who take up golf as negatively on others who think golf is a bourgeoi bore.

Is golf one of many scapegoats being targeted during this brutal recession?  Sure, but no worse than overpriced college degrees that don't get you a job right now.  But wait a year or two and that degree may look like a good investment. 

Does golf need a lobbyist on Capitol Hill to defend its contribution to local economies?  A massive (mis-guided) effort to get the game included in the next Olympics?  A major p.r. campaign to promote golf as a fitness activity or a way to enjoy the outdoors?