Ko Evokes Childhood Memories

Lydia Ko Films Great Commercial for New Event

The sponsors who are putting together a new golf tournament in New Zealand knew just what they were doing. This September, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will be added to the calendar, and considering the scheduling and course problems the PGA is experiencing with Arnold Palmer’s event, it seemed like a refreshing way to do things. LPGA promoters were equally adept at choosing the right spokeswoman, although it must be admitted that the choice was clear. Lydia Ko is a great golfer of her time, by all accounts a pretty nice person, and is a New Zealander – perfect.

In the first few seconds after reading the announcement of Ko’s commercial intended to hype the new tournament, my mind jumped to Burt Lancaster’s The Swimmer. In this bleak movie, a former athlete returns home by swimming the length of every family’s pool along the way. At journey’s end, he finds his house abandoned and his family gone, but that’s aother story. When I watched the commercial starring Ko, Burt was banished, and  it brought back some of my favorite memories of a day in which imagining a game of golf was just as good as playing one. That made for a much happier experience.
Shop www.edwinwattsgolf.comWe, meaning my family’s male siblings, along with half the neighborhood, had three coures going on, and they shared some of the difficulties Ko experienced with gates and fences, dog dishes and swinging inner tubes, sandboxes, lawn mowers, and vertical wedges over trees only a few feet away. For us, the putting course was one of the favorites, although generally, guests were not invited. It was inside, snaking through our house, so we made it an invitational only. The putting course kept flexible and limited hours, depending upon whether parents were home, or would be soon. Our bunkers and lakes were carpets with odd breaks and ridges, piano legs, couches and planter boxes. Starting in my sister’s bedroom, the dog-leg left led down a long hallway, but the patterned carpet would allow it if you played it just right. Then another dog-leg right, avoiding a planter and couch to the left, a large stereo to the right, and during the winter tour, the overhanging branches of a Christmas tree. The back nine went the other way, into the family room, kitchen and utility room. A new hazard was often present with Faust, the German Shepherd, who loved attacking golf balls, and as for the wood floors – man, those greens were fast.

Most similar to the course Ko negotiated on TV was the backyard course, a long landscape with a garden fence protruding from a patio garden to the right. This is where I learned that hitting a wedge with an intentional slice was both hard and destructive to later rounds on municipal courses. The green and tomato can cup were actually pretty good, but you had to nail it, as the approach could bounce at any angle in any direction, even backward. Putting from off the green was impossible, and a shot down the right was doomed by the fence.

The local park was for majors only, and all were welcome. We brought out the woods for Gilbert Park, and the various rolls, hills, bordering ditches, and well-placed trees created the perfect Augusta-style playground for the imagination. Even Ko would have loved this – if she were seven or eight, perhaps. I still think there should be a real course there.

The fun part of the Ko promotion was that she interacted with people leading their normal lives along the way. It was perfect. Lawn mowers and people in bathrobes bringing garbage to the bins, children and dogs completed the picture. The approach is perfect for reminding fans that golf is to be enjoyed by anyone who wants to play, and that the days of Mary Queen of Scots are over. It sure would have been fun, though, if Ko had grown up in my neighborhood. She would have been a stellar member of the greatest tour on earth.
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