Sideline Slants

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
Golf is a strange sport. How can something that looks so easy be so difficult?

You hit a stationary ball, walk up to it and hit it again until you finally get it in a small hole in the ground.

A golf course requires a lot of land. Green fees and golf equipment aren’t cheap. It takes a lot of time. And apparently it’s addicting. A friend of mine says his wife has a sign in their living room that reads “When I die, bury me in the 8th fairway so my husband will visit me seven times a week.”

Being good at golf requires a lot of skill and patience, two traits that I lack.

On the plus side, you don’t have to be a great physical specimen, although the image of golfers has changed tremendously since Tiger Woods entered the scene and turned every event into the “Tiger Woods Invitational.”

Golf also is a game that lends itself to humor. You have to laugh to keep from crying, right? For example, one Web site offered the following observations.

The game of golf is 90 percent mental and 10 percent mental.

If you want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.

Since bad shots come in groups of three, a fourth bad shot is actually the beginning of the next group of three.

When you look up and cause an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

Any change works for a maximum of three holes and a minimum of not at all.

No matter how bad you are playing, it is always possible to play worse.

Never keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.

Humor aside, why is golf growing in popularity? Someone shared with me some truisms about golf and I’m happy to share them with you.

Golf is an honorable game, with the overwhelming majority of players being honorable people who don’t need referees.

Golfers don’t have some of their players in jail every week.

Golfers don’t kick dirt on or throw bottles at other people.

Professional golfers are compensated in direct proportion to how well they play.

Golfers don’t get per diem and two seats on a charter flight when they travel between tournaments.

Golfers don’t hold out for more money, or demand new contracts because of another player’s deal.

Professional golfers don’t demand the taxpayers pay for the courses on which they play.

When golfers make a mistake, nobody is there to cover for them or back them up.

The PGA tour raises more money for charity in one year than the National Football League does in two.

You can watch the best golfers in the world up close, at any tournament, including the majors, all day, every day for $25 or $30. The cost for a seat in the nosebleed section at the Super Bowl will cost around $300 or more.

You can bring a picnic lunch to the tournament golf course, watch the best in the world and not spend a small fortune on food and drink. Try that at one of the taxpayer- funded baseball or football stadiums.

Golf doesn’t change its rules to attract fans.

Golfers have to adapt to an entirely new playing area each week.

Golf doesn’t have free agency.

In their prime, Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer and other stars would shake your hand and say they were happy to meet you. In his prime, Jose Canseco wore T-shirts that read, “Leave me alone.”

You can hear birds chirping on the golf course during a tournament.

Tiger Woods can hit a golf ball three times as far as Barry Bonds can hit a baseball.

Golfers have never called a strike.

There you have it-some good things about golf. Here are some final words of wisdom on the subject that I can heartily identify with: Hazards attract, fairways repel.

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