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Dec 28

It’s Golf’s Off-Season – What Shall We Talk About?

 

The Silly Season for Golf

 
 

Some people call it “silly season.” People are still playing golf during the off-season, of course, but none of the big stuff is happening, and the LPGA is taking a little longer breath before they visit the Bahamas.

tahoe 2 When football bowl season ends, it’s ok for a little while. I need at least a little break – but with golf, I don’t get exhausted long-term. I’m always ready for the next tournament. But, there isn’t really a next tournament for a little while, not really. So, what shall we talk about?


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Well, let’s see – Michelle Wie hit Gary Player in the stomach, but she didn’t really mean to – Gary was Jack Lalanning around and put her up to it showing off his abs, courtesy of over half a century of push-ups – now if Gary had hit Michelle, that would be news. I know he’s terrific, but with it being off-season, I’m just not in the mood.

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What else, what else? – Oh yes, a flood in Australia delivered two bull sharks to a course pond, increasing my feeling that golf within a thousand or so miles on either side of the equator should be outlawed until animal control has made a complete sweep of the area.

tahoe 1In my neck of the woods, and I really do live in the woods, I spent part of the holidays driving around some of my favorite country, and looking at some of my snow-bound mountain courses at 5,000 feet and higher. I am told that above 5,000 feet, things get a little dicey for the un-acclimated lungs. I was a regular feature on Rainier when I was young, but now I have to admit it – it’s true. Even walking around up there, it’s true. So how high can you really play golf?

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Peru used to hold the record with a club at well over 14,000 feet. I guess you can hit a drive there that makes Tiger’s efforts look lazy, but I’d have to swing with an oxygen tank on my back. Bolivia holds the current record at 10,800 feet, since the Peru course is now overgrown – so say the miners who own it. There is a course rumored to sit high in the Himalayas, courtesy of a group of Indian Army Engineers, but no thanks. The United States and Canada boast a lot of courses over six or seven thousand. Tahoe is only 6,200, but what a gorgeous miles-across water hazard. China has one in Yunaan province at 10,000 – but that’s not really what interests me. I want to know how far I can hit it, do I have to pull off of a putt to decrease distance – can I swing something over my head easier than I can at lower elevations? Could I breathe? Would the carb on my golf cart engine make it, or would I need solar or electric?

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tahoe 3 I can think of one advantage to high altitude golf – playing above timberline. Trees of every make have been my nemesis since I first started playing. Trees are for camping under, not hitting around – good riddance.

Whoever said that if they put a flag on Mt. Everest, somebody would give it a try, was right. We diehards aren’t just into golf. We won’t do without it. So hang on until the Bahamas, when we’ll finally have something of substance to talk about . Meanwhile, get those sharks off that course, really. Think it through! And until then, we’ll be glad Gary Player didn’t ask Suzann Pettersen to hit him. That might have been a little nasty.

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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.