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Pondering the imponderable


Just a few decades ago cult filmmaker Douglas Adams produced “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” in which he promised the answer to the “ultimate question about life, the universe and everything.”

I would have added golf to the list.

It’s really about the question “why?” Then About 20 years ago Budweiser aired their TV ads featuring “Why ask Why?” Remember?

For years I have been pondering many of golf’s imponderable “why’s?” and have only come up with educated guesses.  Here are some of them.

I wonder why so many avid golfers avoid taking golf lessons, despite the obvious fact they desperately need them. Whenever I have asked that question to some of those very avid golfers I get stupid, incomprehensible lame excuses, like “I can’t afford lessons,” or “I don’t have the time.” These are the same golfers who will fork over $500 for a new driver and $5,000 for a golfing trip to Cabo. Go figure. I have come to the conclusion that men, in particular, have the same mindset about golf lessons as they do about psychotherapy for depression or treatment for substance abuse: they’d rather not be bothered or embarrass themselves.

I wonder why we can’t stop the overseas-based purveyors of golf clubs that are knockoff and lookalike fake reproductions of first line clubs like TaylorMade, Titleist, Ping and Callaway. But that’s kinda like wondering why the steady inflow of illegal drugs isn’t stopped by the Feds. The world market is so vast and complicated that many countries (like China) don’t honor or respect patents and rights held by U.S. companies. Some club manufacturers have actually taken foreign cheaters to court, but the expense may become too prohibitive, and the eradication of fake goods is like playing a game of “whack-a-mole.”

I still wonder why we don’t have a First Tee in Las Cruces. (First Tee is a national program for youth that integrates life skills with learning golf.) What reminded me is seeing all the First Tee ads during pro golf tournament programming on television. A number of years ago I was invited to join an organizing committee for the formation of a First Tee initiative here in Las Cruces. Everyone was excited and sub-committees were formed and fundraising started to get  underway. Then things seemed to evaporate as quickly as the interest began. I have my own hunch about what happened but it is only a suspicion. Still, no First Tee here.

I wonder why golf courses don’t equip 10 percent of their golf cart fleet with protective, warm, enclosed covers for the cold weather, and mister fans for the hot season. The airlines offer “upgrades” on seats and boarding for a modest additional fee. Golf courses can certainly do something similar for carts, making it a win-win situation.

I wonder why so many folks who really need to get in shape shun working out at the gym. Maybe we’re lazy in this land of plenty. The average adult American is obese by formerly lean standards (mid-20th century), which is probably associated to some extent with high fat and high calorie fast food that is by all accounts more-or-less cheap.  In ancient China being fat was looked upon as high status, which represented the apparent wherewithal for the blubbery person to afford food aplenty, since many of the poor peasants lived on the verge of starvation.  Champion golfers in the future won’t look line Craig Stadler or John Daly or Laura Davies.  They’ll look like Steve Stricker, Gary Woodland and Tiger Woods.

Finally, I wonder why we have to get old. In his long-running series “The Twilight Zone” Rod Serling had a number of shows devoted to the theme of extending our youth, but all of them ended badly. 

Incidentally, the answer to the “Hitchhikers” ultimate question is “42.”

Charlie Blanchard