Beavis and Butthead
Here’s a great quote by Percy Boomer from his book “On Learning Golf”:
“Our subject is power, and power like fire, is a good servant but a bad master. Uncontrolled power is the very devil - in golf or anywhere else.”
Power in golf can be a huge advantage. Making the golf course shorter makes it much easier. Much easier.
I can’t hit it reasonably far anymore. Yet, people say to me that it shouldn’t matter because I can hit it straight. Well, hitting driver off-the-deck on a par 4 is quite a bit harder than hitting a 7 iron.
Especially on holes with water in front of the green. Or elevated greens. I’ve gotten decent at hitting cut 5 woods into greens … but I’d rather be hitting a 7 iron … or a wedge!
I know, I know … that’s why courses have different sets of tees. But even if the shorter tees put me into the “proper” landing zone … that second shot is still long because my 7 iron goes as far as my former wedge … or my hybrid where I used to hit 7 iron.
So … this got me thinking about golf course design. Old school courses were designed with the idea that golf is basically played on the ground … and modern courses with the idea that it’s played in the air.
Very different mind-sets.
Last week I played in an event at an old-school 9-hole course. No par 5s. Short, narrow par 4s. Long hard par 3s. This course is difficult … especially for young power-players. Their small, tricky greens that slope off the sides penalize reckless and inaccurate shots.
Hmmmmm … sounds like a game that rewards strategy, patience and shot-making.
How about another game that rewards strategy, patience and shot-making … tennis … on clay courts.
I think tennis should only have one-serve. Or do you like tournaments where almost every serve is an ace … and every return is a winner.
How about baseball? 100mph pitchers … every at-bat is a strike-out or a walk or a home-run.
Do you remember the cartoon show “Beavis and Butt-head”? They just watched television and liked MTV if the music videos were loud and had fire.
Beavis and Butt-head were just young knuckleheads … their idiocy was supposed to be funny.
The love of power fits right into that mind-set - they want it NOW! No strategy … no patience … no admiration of learned skills … just love of immediate gratification.
What if that type of person was a general in a war … wouldn’t they just use nuclear bombs at the start of a conflict?
They have no regard for future consequences.
Shouldn’t our games reward more than just raw power? Do we want to develop a society of Beavis and Butt-heads?
Power isn’t a bad thing. Money isn’t a bad thing. But the worship of power and/or money is a bad thing.
A culture should be more than the “law of the jungle”. Obviously it has to be based in reality. But it should reward more than raw power … not based on “might makes right”.
Our games represent our values … our culture.
I prefer golf courses that reward strategy, patience, and shot-making. Power should also be rewarded. But not uncontrolled power. Unless we want to live in an idiotic society.
That reminds me … the guy who wrote “Beavis and Butt-head” also wrote the movie “Idiocracy”.
Golf should be the antidote to Idiocracy. Percy Boomer knew what he was talking about.
GM/Head PGA Professional
Deer Run Golf Club
8661 Deer Run Drive
Victoria, MN 55386