Last week, a bizarre thought entered my head and I bought my first pair of golf shoes since 1979. Claire dismissed it as a post-midlife crisis and at least two of my extra personalities cried “Foul!” . . . but I did it anyway. I have played for decades without spikes. (Not really played serious golf, just hacked around, not slow and not fast, just sorta half-fast.)
I nurture an intense dislike for 8mm steel, as well as the modern plasticized ceramic Mad Max spikes. The steel, notorious for wear on hard surfaces—like wood and plastic—can leave turf as bruised as a 95 year-old MMA fighter. Steel also hurts your lower back if you walk. The Mad Max Tarantula footwear can seem worse than steel, especially on softer, wetter greens. Since modern golfers don’t get much practice walking, they are unable to lift their feet. They scuff, drag and pivot, all while trying to yank the flagstick out, due to the new rule. This creates a minefield of spike marks that look like mole crickets on meth held a mating ritual around the cup.
This creates a minefield of spike marks that look like mole crickets on meth held a mating ritual around the cup.
But no worries, the Great Alphabet knew this would happen. That’s why they said we can fix spike marks now. (If the group ahead of you resembles a bunch of rice farmers squatting around the flag, be patient, they’re just fixin’ stuff.)
Anyway, I bought golf shoes. I found lots of spiffy shoes, but most weren’t really for walking, they were more for cart golf. Under the “spikeless” tab on the Adidas site, I found the Tour 360 XT-SL. Soft and cushiony, they offered substantial grip and . . . they even looked good. Hey, I know what you’re thinking: Somebody slipped cantankerous old RW a Colorado Gummi Bear. No, that’s not what happened. It’s just that I have always said I would take up golf when I got old and I’m pretty sure that has happened now. The signs are there: I require the double downward karate chop to get off the sofa. I begin most sentences with “Back in my day . . . “ and when I go to the gym, I have become quite popular with the blue-haired ladies.
Hey, I know what you’re thinking: Somebody slipped cantankerous old RW a Colorado Gummi Bear.
Now in order to actually play, there has to be an event to train for—that’s just how things work. So, I decided to bring back the fabled Great Gopher Tournament. (See The Greens of Wrath for details.) The GGT has been dormant since the day we sprinkled Dad’s ashes on the 14th tee of Rockbottum CC, but now the time is right to bring the Gopher back. It would honor Dad’s memory—and Uncle Virgil, too—and give my brother Mike and I a reason to come out of golf retirement.
In order to do this right, I have been researching the new rules of golf. At first, I tried to keep my pie hole shut until some actual empirical evidence came in, but I failed at that. While cavorting on a secret golf architecture forum, I provoked a senior Alphabet Rules Official concerning the new “Knee-Drop Rule”. I merely pointed out that my knee could reach all sorts of advantageous positions, from shoulder height to about an inch off the ground. He said I was an idiot and knee-dropping would speed things up.
They also invented a flagstick rule to speed things up. I think a penalty box or a shock collar would work better, but you can’t argue with the genius minds at the top. Looking at things from the GCS side, I am concerned this rule will lead to player demands for softer, thinner flagsticks, with a Remington 700 extractor synched to your smartphone, popping the ball up to chest height. This will stop golfers attempting to “yank out” the ball, because after 15 yank-outs, the cup will come out, too. Then, afternoon players will experience the “Volcano Effect” and lip-outs will increase. Subsequently, the Superintendent will be hunted down and accused of collusion or something.
. . . the knee-drop rule will be suspended, unless you use the Ricky Fowler variation.
Anyway, back to the GGT. If you would like to be considered for a coveted invitation to this autumn’s GGT, send us a PM on TurfNet or email me. Include at least one reason you should be accepted into such a high profile event. Don’t worry, you won’t have to play at Rockbottum CC, as that would be unfair. We know most of you have never played an unmaintained course; also, our nearest hotel is a truck stop out on I-75. Perhaps our TurfNet Entertainment Director might jump in here and help, providing he’s not still overseas trying to become Irish.
Tournament Rules: You will need a two man team, the knee drop rule will be suspended, unless you use the Ricky Fowler variation. There will be no steel spikes or “soft and thin flagsticks”. Pre-Shot Routines are limited to 10 seconds. Momma will be on hand to run the time clock and administer penalties, with her ability to correct iron deficiencies.
*Note: All matches will be filmed. No golf pros allowed. Oafs, knaves, varlets, TurfNet members and former Night Watermen will receive special preference. Winner gets a trophy. Losers will receive a signed copy of “The Greens of Wrath” and be forced to state, on camera, “I am an oaf who lost the Great Gopher”.
The first formal invitations will go out to Dave Wilber, Kevin Ross, Mickey McCord, Mark Hoban, Matt Crowther and Frank Rossi. Remember, You can run, but you can’t hide.