Friday, June 7, 2013

Golf Pros & Cons



  • MANY courses employ environmental stewardship best practices
  • When properly designed, they can become habitats for animals.  In some urban zones, they are often the only green space available.  Having a golf course near environmentally sensitive areas can help protect those areas from over development.

  • CONS

  • MANY courses use too much water, fertilizer & pesticides.  And, they are primarily for cosmetic reasons.
  • Improperly designed golf courses can ruin wildlife refuges that used to exist in the area, or nearby.
  • Some clubs are exclusive and fosters a have/have not society

  • Golf Digest's 2008 issue on Golf & the Environment was a real 'game changer' (pardon the pun!) regarding this topic.  In a nutshell: they changed their review process of courses.  They don't judge on color of the grass anymore, but rather playability.  Dry, yellow grass is now OK away from the putting green.  As these reviews drive reputation & sales, this takes a LOT of pressure off courses to use costly chemicals.  And, using less water not only saves them money, but the water can now me used for more important things, like crop irrigation.


  • Healthy long term activity that people can play for many, many years (unlike football, basketball, etc)
  • Game Environment that fosters FLOW
  • Challenges oneself
  •     Giving your best, and being OK with what you are given.
  •     Being present to the shot at hand, and not thinking about past mistakes
  •     Overcoming anger in frustrating situations
  •     Becoming calm and level headed in wonderful/exciting situations
  • A chance to get together with friends
  • A chance to be with family
  • Encourages dedication, discipline, honesty and integrity

  • Time not being spent producing anything (can also be considered a PRO)
  • Expensive equipment prevents people with lower incomes from playing
  • Used equipment is slightly better, but still expensive.
  • Takes 4-6 hours to play a round, too long in a fast paced world.
  • Does not *really* cater to youth market (in spite of The First Tee's best efforts)
  • Spendy Windows

  • Golfing: Not as many douchebags as one might expect

    When I was a lot younger, I thought that golf courses were a waste of land and golfers were pretty much the epitome of the white male elitist snob who looked down on everyone else.

    For what its worth, I've encountered some people on some courses that would still fit that bill.  I like to call them 'snooty self-absorbed douchey-bags'.  But there is a whole lot less of them at the courses I play than I would have expected.

    Haven't seen the judge on the course yet.  I hear he never slices.

    I still think we should consider combining golf courses and cemeteries.  But more on that in a later post.  (the punchline:  '..and you can put the ashes in the sand trap!')

    Before I started golfing, I thought it was a very exclusionary, elitist activity.  (For a break down on private clubs, here's a neat blog entry.)  Never mind the fact that I had three uncles who were all very down to earth and all enjoyed it very much.  And, one of my cousins almost made it into the PGA.  All very good, down to earth people.  But, having seen Caddyshack during my formative years, I thought that it was what golf was all about.  A bunch of snobs.

    And flashy pants.  Golf is all about the flashy pants.

    And then, a few years ago, (OK, ok, 9 years!), I had an upcoming interview with EA's Motion Capture studio.  I figured I should pick up a few of their games to see how good they were and to talk intelligently about their product in the interview.  One of the games I got was Tiger Woods 2005.

    It was actually a lot of fun!  Of course, it was really easy to hit the ball, when all you had to move was a joystick.  Oh, and there were explosions and particle effects.  that made it pretty cool.

    My office was about half a mile from a golf course and driving range.  So, one lunch I thought I'd try it out for real.  At first, I felt like I didn't belong, that it was too rich for my blood.  But then I noticed that there were people from all walks of life there.  Not just old, rich, white guys.  And they served hot dogs, not lobster.  It was still intimidating, not knowing what to do.  I put the rubber tee on top of the mat, and hit a ball off of it.  The tee flew further than the ball!  And, I wasn't supposed to go out there and retrieve it, else someone hit me with their shot.  I quickly figured out that the tee was supposed to go through a hole in the padded mat.  I was so embarrassed.  (I later saw other rubber tees out there from people who made the same mistake)

    But, then I went back to it.  Eventually, one ball really flew.  That particular swing was effortless, and I barely felt the club hit the ball.  I'd later learn that was the 'sweet spot'.  And this was how I got hooked.  In that moment, I felt a connection with the ball.  It was as if I was flying with it.

    The next time I talked to one of my uncles, I mentioned that I wanted to get into it.  He got me a starter set of clubs.  And I've been golfing ever since.

    It's a great way to meet people from all walks of life, especially if you go to municipal (public) courses.

    Next up:  The Pros & Cons of Golfing.

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    My first Collective Unconcious dream

    This was one of my more vivid dreams that I had when I was somewhere between 8 and 10 years old:

    I was in a garden, with my grandfather.   His role was that of mentor, almost a tour guide. In the heart of the garden, there was a small pond.  It was the kind that had dark water and lily pads, and I could not see the bottom.  There was lush vegetation, and it was cool and damp there.   In the middle of this dark pond was a man and a woman, up to their knees in the water, nude and frozen in embrace. I asked my grandfather about this imagery.  He said it was natural, and a part of life.

    We walked around the pond, on a stone path.  On the side opposite the pond was a stone wall with insets, inside of which were human skulls. I asked him about this too, and he said it was also a part of life.

    Youth, age, sex, death, all in a dream I had when I was 10" No joke. It was disturbing until I later read Joseph Campbell in college. I then found out how these are all intertwined in mythology and culture.

    Lily pad image from here.

    Monday, March 11, 2013

    What to expect at my Birthday Party

    Tie dye making!!
    Here's a test example from the non-toxic EZ dyes that I made over the weekend:

    And, here's the Adult Pinata, filled with adult stuff, like tax forms, student loans, medical bills, PT exercises, etc...  JUST KIDDING!  It's filled with tiny liquor bottles, candy and dinosaurs.Because dinosaurs are awesome.  I name thee "Ah, Hell NO Kitty!"