Wednesday, August 27, 2003 is for those folks who perform the business of golf, as opposed to the pleasure (or pain) of it. They issue a daily newsletter that updates the industry on who's doing what with which merchandise where. And when.
Treetops Resort in Michigan, for example, is scheduled to host a made-for-tv golf "Survivor" type show, during which the competitors attempt to game each other out of their play. As I understand it, every program one of the players is chosen to be erased from the game.
Here's the conundrum: If the object is to have a winning team, then the team will vote to eject the weakest member. But if it's a contest between individuals, the players will vote to eject the strongest member. (After all, why would you want to play against a great golfer when you could compete against a duffer?)
The teams, then, would offer much better golf than individual contests.
The tv production companies and networks love these types of shows because they're a lot cheaper than something that takes skill or craft (writers, actors, etc.), and they often sell just as much soap as a good show. When they can take the group to New Zealand or the Amazon, they can pay even less for a local camera and sound crew and advertise the exotic location.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Golf Trails have become a booming business since the Retirement Systems of Alabama pension fund decided to promote Robert Trent Jones-designed courses on a 100-mile stretch of highway.

Now reaching eight courses, with championship par 3s available on all of them, they're affordable ($35 for locals, no more than $60 for tourists) and they draw thousands of tourists a year.

It gives golfers something to do with their spare time other than just play a game. Robert Trent Jones Trail. When I tried this earlier, nothing appeared.

The genius behind the idea of a golf trail appears to me to take advantage of the guilt Americans feel when they play. If the goal is to play all the courses designed by a certain architect, or those in a certain area of the country, well, that gives it the semblance of work, and that makes it respectable.

Here are just a few more golf trails: Niagara Parks Trail. The Audubon Trail in Louisiana. Lewis and Clark in North Dakota.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

The book was "Round Ireland With A Fridge", by Tony Hawks.
An Englishman hitchhiked around Ireland with a refrigerator and wrote a book about it entitled something like "Hitchhiking Around Ireland with a Refrigerator." I've often wondered what it would be like to hitch around with a bag of golf clubs. Cart and all, of course.
In my younger pre-marriage days (1970) I hitched some 3,000 miles through the Midwest carrying a big brown canvas duffel. I painted little floral scenes on gesso-covered index cards and sold them for a buck or two rather than panhandle; and I would paint the name of my friend's and my next destination on the side of my paintbox to use as a sign. The paintings must have been passable, since I arrived back in Minnesota with more money than I'd had when I started.
The Englishman would go into a pub carrying his 'frig and the denizens would clear a seat for it. At one point, some folks even took it surfing. I don't think I'd like my golf bag to go surfing unless it wears a life preserver. It's okay if it has a beer now and again.
33 years ago, too, I was a different man. For one thing, my hair was longer. For another, it was. My bladder had a more youthful attitude--not to mention aptitude. Consumption of illicit drugs is no longer a problem, but today's licit ones might create the wrong impression. Would you want to take a water pill for high blood pressure in the middle of a Nebraska freeway?
What I'd really like to do is toss the sticks into the back of a motor home and float away. Carry my house, bathroom, clothes, etc., with me. Follow the golf trails--and there are getting to be more and more all the time. I'll put a list of some of the trails here tomorrow.