A club-and-ball sport
FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - April 20, 2018 - 12:00am

The summer heat is scorching the asphalt, browning the greens and frying the skins.  Yet, it is during these times that a several sporting clinics are introduced to give aspiring athletes additional knowledge on their chosen sport and improve their skills.  I’m sure there also are summer clinics for this particular discipline that traditionally caters to the affluent.

I’m not well-versed, much less had played this ancient sport which originated in Scotland in the early 1500s but I still am awed of the wide and well-maintained rolling terrain used as a playground where you can hear birds chirping during tournaments.  Not everyone, in my own uninitiated opinion, can play this elitist sport.

This is perhaps the only sport where we seldom, if never at all, see disgusting actions from players.  We had witnessed all kinds of tantrums bordering on demonic possessions from football, basketball, hockey, baseball, tennis, motor sports, endurance sports and even combat sports.

We’re talking here of golf and why it is popular even among people who don’t play the game that they go to tournaments or watch the game on TV.   If you don’t understand the game, it could bore you to death watching a player whack a ball as far as he can, go after it and then whack it some more until it sinks into a hole no more than 5 inches wide.

Talking about holes, why does a standard golf course have 18 holes?  I don’t know if this was the exact reason but let’s take it as it is.  Sometime in 1858, members of the elite St. Andrews club in Scotland were in a light discussion when one elder member pointed out that it takes exactly 18 shots to finish a bottle of Scotch.  The Scottish gentleman figured that by limiting himself to one shot of Scotch per hole, a round of golf will be done when the Scotch ran out.  As what we say in Bisaya, “bunga’s kahubog”.

Golf is a game for honorable ladies and gentlemen.  The “honorable” in this case does not refer to politicians.  Except for a few misguided golfers, almost all of the other sports have their regular contributions to court cases, arrests and jail time.  Best of all, they don’t spit, throw coins, towels, shoes, bottles, chairs or people, at other people.  And they keep their clothes on when interviewed.

Professional golfers’ pay are directly proportional to the way they play.  Pro athletes in major league sports get injured, don’t play for a year yet they still get their millions.  And golfers don’t hold out for more money because some other player has a bigger deal.  When they make mistakes, they’re on their own.  Unlike the other pampered and overpaid athlete where they have some PR people to cover or back for them for their indiscretions.

There’s no free agency in golf.  In their prime, golfing greats Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman will happily shake fans’ hands and have a few words with them.   A pro baseball player in his prime wore a t-shirt that says, “Leave Me Alone”.  Have we ever seen our present basketball idols genuinely happy meeting and shaking a fan’s hand?

There are no rule changes in golf to attract fans because golfers have to adapt to an entirely different playing field every tournament.  Fans can watch golfers at any tournament within arms’ reach the whole day maybe from $50 to $75.  A ticket to the Super Bowl that assigns you to a seat close to the flight path of an airline will cost somewhere between $500 to $2000 from scalpers.  And unless you have really deep pockets, you can easily spare at least a $10,000 courtside seat to the NBA Finals.

Since we now know why golf has 18 holes, we better get to know where “caddie” came from.  As a young girl, Mary, Queen of Scots went to France to study.  Louis, King of France learned that she liked to play golf and had the first golf course built outside of Scotland for her to enjoy.  For her protection while playing, Louis hired cadets from a military school to escort her.

She liked this very much that Mary took the practice with her when she returned to Scotland.  The French pronounced the word cadet as “ca-dey”.  The Scots changed it to “caddie”.

So, will I become a golfer?  It’s a very remote possibility.  I haven’t touched a golf club and the idea of playing with the high and the mighty scares me.  Besides, my skin is naturally “pina-ig” so why broil it some more?

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