Wrecking Ball: Golf

Six centuries ago, the Scots, wondering what to do with their surplus of grass, time, and space invented golf, which goes well with sheep and constant rain. Unfortunately, the sport somehow caught the attention of other island-dwelling white people (the English), who brought it to the mainstream. Not surprisingly, we Brit-worshipping Americans hopped on the bandwagon, and now we’re stuck with thousands of golf courses and millions of golfers. This sucks.

First, golf is mind-numbing, so do we devote so much space to it? Watching televised golf, is a bit like watching someone wash dishes or buy groceries. Presumably, people do watch the sport (why else would Tiger Woods be so famous), but I’m not sure why.  

Playing golf also sounds boring: it takes mere seconds to actually take a shot, after which you have to lug your clubs (or whatever they’re called) to a different part of the course. Presumably, you wind up driving around in your little motorized cart most of the time, playing actual golf only occasionally. This strikes me as a tad silly. 

More importantly, golf is one of the most unsustainable sports imaginable. For one, the sport is equipment-heavy; it reminds me of centrifugal bumble-puppy, the fictional game from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World designed to maximize consumption. The sport is equipment-heavy, and the courses can occupy more than 150 acres of heavily-irrigated and pesticide-treated lawn. In wet regions, golf courses cause problems with nutrient and chemical pollution. In dry regions, courses consume huge quantities of precious water to irrigate lawns and fill water features.

Finally, golf is usually prohibitively expensive and often used to reinforce rigid suburban racial and class structures. I would argue, in fact, that much of the sport’s appeal is rooted in a desire to flaunt material wealth. To me, golf courses are boring, vast playgrounds for the resource-guzzling few, and I wish that they had never been constructed.