Golf! What is it that so captures the one who has tried it? There are many answers to that question, depending upon who you ask.
For some, it is the fellowship one enjoys. For some, it is the challenge of scoring well and trying to continually improve. There are many other answers such as the fresh air, exercise, "getting away from it all" and just plain fun. Those who have played it for a while know that it is more than just going out with the clubs and a few balls and trying to get them into the hole. It is truly a complex skill if you really study it. To really excel, it takes a great amount of dedication and skill.
How does Webster define golf? He defines it as "an outdoor game played on a large course with a small, hard ball and a set of clubs, the object being to hit the ball into each of a series of nine or eighteen holes in turn, using the fewest possible strokes."
Let's have some fun with what some of the players had to say about golf. Someone unknown said, "When I die, bury me on the golf course so my husband will visit."
Golfer Jim Bishop said, "Golf is played by 20 million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun." Hank Aaron, the great baseball player said, "It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course." Paul Harvey said, "Golf is a game in which you yell 'Fore,' shoot six, and write down five."
Billy Graham said, "The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course."
Jack Lemmon said, "If you think it's hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball."
Another unknown golfer left us this thought: "A golfer's diet: live on greens as much as possible."
George Deukmejian said, "The difference between golf and government is that in golf you can't improve your lie," Another unknown said, "Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of a bagpipe."
All of the above comments came from e-mail so whoever was responsible for collecting them cannot be recognized.
In his book "First Off The Tee," Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative correspondent for the New York Times and a golfer himself, said, "Over a span of nearly 100 years of American history, from William Howard Taft to George Walker Bush, there have been 17 presidents. Fourteen of those men played golf, which qualifies it as the most cherished sport among the White House occupants over the past century. Most of these presidents played the game as recklessly and as joyously and sometimes, even as guiltily as millions of their constituents."
He then separates them into the following groups: the Purists, the Worst Off the Tee, Hail to the Cheats and the two Bushes.
Those who played as Purists -- those who played completely by the rules -- include John F. Kennedy, Dwight D, Elsenhower, Gerald R. Ford and Franklin D, Roosevelt. The Worst Off the Tee group includes William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan. The Cheaters include Bill. Clinton, Richard M. Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson and Warren G. Harding,
Comments from some of the presidents are interesting. "Ike" said, "I love the game, no matter how badly I play." Gerald Ford said, "I know I'm getting better at golf because I'm hitting fewer spectators."
Eleanor Roosevelt said of her husband, "Golf was the game that Franklin enjoyed above all others ... After he was stricken with polio, the one word that he never said again was golf."
William Howard Taft said, "The beauty of golf to me is that you cannot play if you permit yourself to think of anything else."
Ronald Reagan said, "I learned a long time ago that if you're going to throw a club in anger, throw it in front of you so you won't have to go back and pick it up."
Warren Harding said, "I may not know everything about being president, but I do know that a lot of decisions can be made on the golf course."
Lyndon B. Johnson said, "One lesson you'd better learn if you want to be in politics is that you never get out on a golf course and beat the president."
The book "First Off The Tee," is a fascinating and revealing book and is the source of these quotations.
There are many golf stories but I am sharing this following discussion between a golfer and his caddy.
Golfer: "Think I'm going to drown myself in the lake."
Caddy: "Think you can keep your head down that long?"
Golfer: "I'd move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course."
Caddy: "Try heaven. You've already moved most of the earth."
Golfer: "Do you think my game is improving?"
Caddy: "Yes sir; you miss the ball much closer now."
Golfer:" Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?"
Golfer: "You've got to be the worst caddy in the world."
Caddy: "I don't think so sir. That would be too much of a coincidence."
Golfer: "Please stop checking your watch all the time."
Caddy: "It's not a watch. It's a compass."
Golfer; "How do you like my gains?"
Caddy: "Very good sir, but personally, I prefer golf."
Golfer: "Do you think it's a sin to play on Sunday?"
Caddy: "The way you play, sir, it's a sin on any day."
Golfer: "This is the worst course I've ever played on."
Caddy: "This isn't the golf course. We left that an hour ago."
Golfer: "That can't be my ball, it's too old."
Caddy: "It's been a long time since we teed off, sir,"
Credit for the above is simply e-mail.
Arris Johnson, Hays, is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.