I was eating breakfast and idly watching Morning Drive on the Golf Channel this morning when the subject of pull carts came up. It was the friendly banter before the break, but the theme of the comments was that they’d run if they were paired with someone who came up to the first tee with a pull cart, no one under 50 should use one, it’s OK if you’re an old fart that needs the exercise, etc.
Joking or not, this punched one of my buttons. People sometimes wonder why golf gets a bad name, and this was a nice illustration of one reason. It’s somehow considered cool to stereotype players on the basis of superficial characteristics.
Golf is a sport touted for it’s accessibility to all ages, both genders, the whole family, etc. All social and economic distinctions presumably disappear on the course, as the pipe fitter is paired up with the neurosurgeon and they spend a pleasant day strolling the fairways discovering how much they have in common through the love of this great game. (Obviously an exaggeration for effect, but not too far off of what you’ll hear in the ads pushing golf as a game for everyone.)
I don’t expect everyone to be delighted to play with everyone else. I’ve got folks I like to play with and folks I’d just as soon avoid, too. But it’s not because of whether they carry, pull a cart, or ride. It’s not because of their clothes, their clubs, their age or gender, or even their handicap.
It’s because of whether or not they are interesting and pleasant to be around, whether they play the game honestly or are always looking for that little cheat, and how they accept the inevitable bad breaks and bounces of the game. I’ve met some really interesting people in random pairings, and I wouldn’t have got to know them if I ran. I’ve become friends with some of them and I’ve never seen some of them again as we both moved on.
And some of them pulled a cart. (And no, I don’t.)
Pardon the rant, but I feel better now.