The Pleasure Of Playing Golf
Wednesday - August 29, 2007
As with any segment of our society, golf suffers from certain stereotypes.
Golfers are perceived, by some, to be elitist, rich, white and Republican. Golf courses are the scourge of the environment and pollute the land with deadly chemicals while displacing the natural wildlife. Golf is an unapproachable game because the equipment is too expensive, country clubs are obscenely priced and greens fees are astronomical. Even municipal golf courses come under fire because some believe the government should not be subsidizing the recreation of the aforementioned elite.
Gosh, is golf really that bad? Of course not. Look around. I am sure your uncle, aunty, neighbor, boss and their sons and daughters either play or know of someone who plays the game of golf. There is no elitism in the game. As a matter of fact, the game itself is quite egalitarian. If you play football, basketball, baseball, swim or participate in virtually any other sport you have to possess certain traits to be successful. In other sports you require a certain strength, height, weight, speed, shape or age to compete. The rigors of these other sports become exclusionary. In golf, you can be of virtually any size, shape or age and excel at the game.
Take a look at Tadd Fujikawa. At 5-foot-1, Tadd is one of the best golfers in the state and has recently turned professional. Jack Nicklaus won The Masters at 46. John Daly seems to bursting out of his XXL shirt. He doesn’t have a washboard stomach, he has a washing machine stomach. Yet, he is the winner of two majors and still competes on the PGA Tour. Go figure.
The game of golf is not too expensive. You can find a set of clubs at any garage sale for a few dollars. Around of golf at a municipal can be as cheap as eight bucks. If you have decent pair of shorts, shoes and a collared shirt then you are good to go. I don’t hear the elitism catcalling when someone buys a tennis racket, fishing rod or bowling ball.
Tiger Woods. Michelle Wie. Vijay Singh. Kimberly Kim. Michael Campbell. So much for golf being a white man’s game.
Anyone who claims that golf courses are killing the environment are dead wrong. Why? Even if not for environmentalist affectation, it is simply good business. Turtle Bay Resort is a prime example. The Palmer Course, an Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay design, incorporates the natural beauty of the property. The course includes the wetlands and natural wildlife as a preserve. Course superintendent Mike Honma and his crew are meticulous in maintaining the course while delivering minimal impact to the environment. It is wonderful to see the peaceful coexistence.
I had the pleasure of playing in the recent Honolulu Country Club Foundation Charity Golf Tournament. It was inspiring to see players and sponsors come together and donate $50,000 to two wonderful local charities - Family Promise and The Lokahi Giving Project. The positive impact made to our community was tremendous. This is the unsung story about golf. In 2006 alone, The Professional Golfers Association and other tours donated more than $105 million. The Tiger Woods Foundation and his other two charities have raised $95 million over the past three years.
The Friends of Hawaii Charities cite the Sony Open in Hawaii as their prime fund-raiser. Along with the Weinberg Foundation, the Friends of Hawaii has donated more than $7 million to local beneficiaries.
I am proud of the game and those who play and support it. I love golf. The tradition. The beauty of the courses. The test on every shot. The generosity of those who share the game. If you don’t play, try it. You’ll find a friend for life.
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