Monday, February 25, 2013

Save Golf From Itself

Gah, That Looks Horrible
I don't golf nearly as much as I used to. You get to a plateau in that game, then realize that getting over that is going to get really expensive in both time and money, and there's only so much of either that I've got to give right now. But if you've played, you get to have an opinion, and here's mine.

I think the belly putter looks like crap.

And, well, looks matter a lot to a game where white guys feel inspired to dress like repressed trannies.

However... I've also usually been good at putting the usual way, having spent much of my addled childhood with a putter in my hand, hustling guys at my local Putt-Putt for money. So I've never been desperate enough to change up the short stick for an oar that you nuzzle.

I don't know, and no one else does either, if the body stick is a real advantage. I suspect that anyone who has gone to it is only there due to desperation, kind of like sidearmed pitchers in baseball, or underhanded free throw shooters in basketball. And there's something to be said for equipment that makes the game fun, especially if bad putting has taken all of the fun out of it for you.

But, well, screw that. Golf's not supposed to be fun; golf is supposed to be maddeningly inconsistent, theoretically even since it's the same course and relative gear for everyone, and mind-numbingly addictive because those brief moments of competence are rare and memorable. And there's been nothing but equipment making things easier for the past 20 years especially, with titanium drivers with massive hitting surfaces, robot-enhanced woods, low irons that are tremendously forgiving, balls that slice yards and auto-correct slices and much, much more. The greens have been the final frontier of difficulty, and on some level, it just offends.

Now, as to whether or not it goes, I think it will all come down to money versus inertia, and in most sports, you bet on money with speed... but this is a sport where Augusta resisted women forever just to be spiteful, and belly putting doesn't help much in terms of marketing the game to younger demos. My guess is that they'll kill it, but that you'll see it again in a decade, because anything that makes people less freaked out about putting will eventually make enough money to overwhelm inertia.

But for now, it will likely go, after a lot of back and forth. And the game will go back to looking bad, rather than wrong and bad. Joy!

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