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Friday, July 8, 2016

If Only Life Could Be More Like a Golf Round - A Modest Proposal

What would life look like if we lived it using the principles that inform our rounds of golf?

I've often thought we could settle most human disputes with a round of golf rather than with guns and bombs - I'll explain how that might work in a later post. I've even considered the viability of substituting a round or two of golf for those political debates that periodically clutter up our television viewing schedules.

But what if our social life could be reshaped to most closely resemble a round of golf? I think we would see a dramatic decline in conflict and violence. The very structure of the game is designed to minimize violence and hostility while preserving the spirit of competition that draws me to the game.

Consider the possibilities -
  • In the game of golf we all play by the same set of rules and are subject to exactly the same penalties for violating those rules.
  • In the game of golf the playing field varies while the target remains constant, providing balance in competition. This adjustment of the playing field gives older players, younger players, and physically weaker players an equal chance to reach the target in regulation when competing against stronger players.
  • In the game of golf our equipment is standardized and uniform. Which 14 clubs we choose to put in our bag is a personal decision but there will be only 14 clubs. 
  • In the game of golf cheaters are disqualified from further competition.
  • In the game of golf we accept the inevitability of bad shots and play on, trying to do better on the next shot, the next hole, the next round.
  • In the game of golf we accept the inevitability of good luck and bad, the fortunate bounce in the right direction, the lip out instead of the drop. We typically applaud the former, groan about the latter, and play on.
  • In the game of golf our scores are public knowledge. We keep each other's scores and sign each other's scorecards as well as our own - there are no secrets.
  • In the game of golf, when the round is finished we sit down together, settle our wagers, and replay the round - the good moments and the bad ones - while we eat and drink.
If we could devise a strategy to translate these basic principles from the game of golf to the game of life I submit that we could achieve that kinder, gentler, saner world that Meisterbuerger envisions.
Perhaps the USGA could launch a Guns-for-Clubs exchange program!