Golf is more a game than a sport as far as ol’Jack is concerned—at least the way I play. In my youth, ol’Jack played baseball, football, rugby, and tennis and in none of those sports was I allowed to ride around the field in a small motorized cart, which by the way is equipped with slots designed to hold beer cans and smaller slots suited for holding lit cigarettes.
Okay, I understand that golf is supposed to require a certain degree of hand-eye coordination, but even that is not always apparent when my friends and I shoot golf balls off in various directions. And yes I understand that professional golfers are required to walk the entire course, which does take a certain degree of stamina, but even they aren’t obligated to carry their own clubs encased in a not-that-heavy leather bag. No. Caddies do that, as well as suggest which club to use and where to aim.
It’s a tradeoff—light rough then jungle
Particularly in hot, humid Panama, most amateur golfers ride around in a cart, many enjoying a cigar along the way. A long Corona even has a nickname—“a nine-holer”—which means a player will only need two for 18 holes of smoking pleasure. I also concede that smoking is not required and that some occupants of the cart might even drink Gatorade or even water. Still not how I remember it out in the field the few times I played cricket. I’ve never seen a soccer player with a canteen for example. There are very few sports, where you’ll see a competitor munching on a banana or a bag of peanuts, which is rather common out on the links.
That doesn’t mean that a golfer doesn’t get any exercise. Heck just climbing in and out of the cart over 90 times and taking three to five practice swings before attempting to actually strike the tiny white ball is exercise. Then of course there’s getting out of the cart and walking around looking for a lost ball. In Panama, few players I know will actually venture into the jungle if their shot managed to go that far offline. Snakes. For the most part, the rough on the courses I’ve played here in Panama is pretty sparse compared to Spring rough in the places like the East Coast where the grass comes in thick and deep. It’s a tradeoff—light rough then jungle.
Mark Twain once said, “Golf was a good walk spoiled.” Well, with the heat in Panama, often interrupted by torrential thunder storms, it can be said that golf is a nice booze cruise spoiled by trying to grip a five iron with fingers made slippery with sun screen.