|Arnold Palmer would probably give up his zillion dollar bankroll to draw a 5-iron 200 yards and land it next to the cup for an eagle putt. (Courtesy PGA of America)|
Regardless of the data from interplanetary probes, I believe there are Martians, and that they monitor all of our television broadcasts, including commercials during golf tournaments.
They would obviously discern from these commercials that all golf viewers are rich old white men who suffer from erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia. They would assume we all wear Rolexes, drive around in Cadillacs and stop every few miles to pee.
It's true about golf, though. Old guys rule. The average age of an avid golfer is in the mid-50s; 78 percent of that group is male.
Having recently reached the acceptance age for AARP entry, it's depressing to be categorized a senior citizen. Fifty doesn't feel old. I'm not one of those 70- or 80-year-old golfers on Viagra who needs to call a physician if their erection lasts more than four hours. I imagine if that happened they'd probably call the Guinness Book of World Records before they'd call a doctor. At that age you still have sex, you just can't remember why.
No, I still like to think of myself as young. I still crank the music up loud, although Frank Sinatra on the ground pounder doesn't have the same effect as, say, Jay Z might.
So why do I think old guys rule in golf? We're an aging society, and the baby boomers who once played softball and basketball are working their way into golf, a slower, safer sport. Only in golf can a 70 year old whip a 20-something. It's all about accuracy. Distance is an advantage, but it's easier to play out of a fairway than water.
And the older PGA Tour players had class. You never saw Arnie or Jack swear like a drunken sailor whenever they hit a bad shot. Speaking of Tiger, he's only 20 years out from the Senior Tour. Time to grow up.
There's another thing Arnie did that the younger tour players should emulate. He shook fans' hands and looked them in the eye while walking between holes. Whether it was true or not, he looked like he was happy to see you.
It's a bitch getting old. I saw it in Arnie's eyes at the Bay Hill tournament a few years ago. Arnie punching a three-wood with that apoplectic swing of his. The ball soaring about two feet off the ground for a lousy 150 yards. You could see the frustration and fire in his eyes. You knew he'd probably sell his soul and give up his zillion dollar bankroll to just be able to hitch up his pants, flip his cigarette to the turf, draw a 5-iron 200 yards and land it next to the cup for an eagle putt.
Oh well, you can't go back. I think I'll end my Old Guy rant with a list:
10. Golf is unisex. When you turn 50, 40-year-old women start to look attractive.
9. You can flirt with a 20-year-old beer girl and not be beat up or arrested.
8. You can smoke those god-awful cigars and no one complains.
7. You can pee in the woods - again without being arrested.
6. Your wife acquiesces because she'd rather have a root canal than play golf with you.
5. You can tell all those dirty jokes you used to tell at the office.
4. You can pass gas and it only affects the players on the other fairway.
3. With a well-oiled handicap, you can be king of the world.
2. There's none of them young whippersnappers around to annoy you.
And the number one reason why old people play golf:
Because it's expensive as hell and they can afford it - so nyah!
July 10, 2009
John J. White is not a bad golfer. He just plays one on the course. When he is not golfing, he is an engineer and freelance writer. He has won several awards for his short stories, and has been published in literary magazines. He is currently working on his fourth novel, "Nisei," and lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife, editor and typist, Pamela.
I've been slumming it out on cheap public courses my entire life. At one point, aren't I entitled as a lifelong golfer to finally enjoy the fruits of my suffering on a well conditioned, thoughtfully designed private course from one of the game's premier architects?
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