Even if you don’t play golf, don’t watch golf on TV, don’t care about golf and have no idea what a bogie is, let alone an albatross, these days golf is practically impossible to avoid.
So what’s the big deal about hitting a little white ball around a lovely landscaped park whilst swearing and throwing things (clubs) into the nearest bush?
Thing is, golf is changing into newly evolving mutant kinds of golf, like FootGolf, for instance.
I’ve noticed lately a morphing of the ancient traditional gentlemen and women’s sport of kings and queens.
Which kind of derails my point on account of I just realized the sport of kings and queens is actually horseracing, so kindly disregard what I just said.
The point, if one digs deep enough to actually find one here, is that it appears that many normal humans are seeking out the golf experience without actually having to play golf.
And who can blame them, I suppose.
Many people gaze upon the pristine, professionally manicured golf course with names like Rose Castle Richpersons Links or Falcon Hill Creek Beach Pebble National Golf Club and Spa and they admire the rolling links of lush greenery, white sand and clear blue water that make the loveliest public parks look tired and sad and brown with envy, and they think: I want to walk around in there without having to hit a little ball and swear and throw things (golf bags) into the bush.
And when they find out that not only are they not allowed onto the property without intending to whack a ball, if they do consent to whack a ball in an attempt at enjoying the garden-like setting, it costs about as much as your first car to get some clubs and pay something called green fees for one session of potential misery. (These admission payments are called green fees on account of many people turn green after their Visa explodes when the astronomical amount is rung up.)
And even those brave and determined souls who decide to spend a large percentage of their life savings to play golf on an occasional basis soon find that whacking that dumb little white ball is a lot — and I, from personal experience, mean a lot — harder than those rich professional golfer dudes make it look on television.
Sometimes the game of golf is so frustrating that many of us would get much more enjoyment out of hitting ourselves repeatedly on the head with a three wood than shanking that seven iron into the bush or three-putting from four feet away.
So, the thing is, it’s become clear that a great many folks want to play golf without the wallet-sucking, head-pounding, club-throwing, bag-kicking nightmare waiting for them at that wildly expensive golf and country club.
And that, my friends, is probably why someone invented FootGolf. And Disk Golf. And even something called Large Hole Golf — which is sort of like cheating only more fun.
Most people know about Disk Golf — heck we have a disk golf course right here in town — whereby a player tosses a Frisbee flying disc instead of whacking a little white ball.
The object is the same — to get pars and birdie and eagles and albatrosses — except each hole has a basket with hanging chains on a pole instead of a little golf hole in the ground, on account of it’s very difficult to stuff a Frisbee into a little golf hole.
And just like regular golf, there can be a bagfull of ‘clubs.’
There are driver discs, approach discs and putting discs, all of which go a lot further than golf clubs do when you throw them.
A starter set of three golf discs will set you back about 60 bucks and serious (insane) Disk Golf players shell out $75 or more per disc — or about as much as a specialty coffee at one of those regular fancy golf courses.
If throwing a Frisbee at a pole doesn’t make your spikeless golf shoes dance, how about soccer on a regular golf course?
Well, you are in luck on account of Canada’s first FootGolf course just opened in Calgary.
It’s at the HeatherGlen Golf Club and you just show up with your stripped jersey and shorts and rent a regulation soccer ball at the club house, go to the first tee box and start kicking.
The fewest kicks on the 27 hole course wins, of course, and don’t worry, in FootGolf they’ve made the hole 21 inches (700 cm) across — about the size of your average manhole. And — bonus! — there are no goalies in FootGolf.
And as one newspaper article points out: who hasn’t used the old footwedge on the golf course a few times? I know I have.
But if kicking around a golf course doesn’t sock it to you, how about this idea?
“Just make those tiny dumb little regular golf holes bigger!” I can hear you exclaiming.
And the golf gods have heard you, too. Large Hole Golf is catching on like Tiger Woods at a strip club.
Courses are cropping up with 15-inch holes and people are saying holy moly! In fact, two large golf merchandise companies recently had a Large Hole Golf tournament in California whereby the hole was four times the size of the regular tiny little golf hole.
That’s about the size of your car steering wheel, and most players are digging the new holes.
“Yay! I can actually make a putt or a pitch once in a while!” What a concept.
Statistics show that some five million golfers have left the sport in the last decade, so officials are desperately looking for ideas that would hasten playing time, lower scores and take a notch or two out of the bank account-breaking snootiness of the game.
I’m thinking: how about golf balls the size of beach balls and holes the size of hoola hoops? Oh, and say, a maximum of five bucks a round. Only trouble is, you’d never in million years get a decent tee time.
Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate. His books can be found at Chapters, Coles and Sunworks in Red Deer.