Hioism: A Religion of Golf

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on January 3, 2015

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Hioism: A Religion of Golf

Golf, I have strongly argued, can be construed as a religion. Religion is a symbol system for expressing that which is ultimate; and, in so far as Golf provides such a symbol system, Golf can be a religion with sacred realities, moral codes, rituals, sacred places, sacred objects, sacred texts, and sacred experiences. I have explored Golf as a religion in the third part of my book, Roybob’s Book on Golf.

Recently, I was contacted by someone who has actually established a religion of golf. His name is Cory Scheurich, and he is the Head Ace for the Infinite Paths First Convocation of Hioism at the Infinite Paths Hioist Course. “Hioism” is the name of the golf religion he has founded, but the etymology or meaning of the term is not made clear at his website: hioism.com.

The main god or “primary power” of Hioism is Par. Par is opposed by a rival power referred to as Bogey. Par desires that humans acquire enough wisdom and merit to enter his Pinnacle (Paradise), and Bogey desires that humans be tortured in Callow (Hell/Purgatory). Par and Bogey fight to influence and control humanity. “Spirits of the Course” (minor deities) are found in the wind, trees, sand, and water. The “Spirits of the Course” are also caught up in the battle between Par and Bogey.

They may work for Par, but they may also pull one toward Bogey. Through consultation of “Nine Guides” and the cultivation of “Eighteen Sacred Values” one hopes to walk closer to Par and distance oneself from Bogey. The “Nine Guides” include Balance, Outlook, Stance, Concentration, Aim, Relaxation, Assurance, Drive, and Acceptance, and the “Eighteen Sacred Values” include Honestly, Respect, Loyalty, Family, Patience, Compassion, Perseverance, Unity, Ambition, Dependability, Discipline, Equality, Faith, Selflessness, Humility, Morality, Restraint, and Growth).

The symbol of Hioism is stylized version of a ball sitting on a tee, symbolically pointing to balance, new beginnings, and the importance of following the right path.

HiosimTeeSymbol

The proper Hioist hand position for prayer is an interlocking golf grip, and it too has symbolic value.

HiosimPrayerSymbol

The “Oath of Hioism,” which a Hioist must promise, calls upon one to “assist Par in guiding Hioists on their path to enlightenment,” “to trust that Par has put [one] on the correct path,” to make sure that Par is always “the object of [one’s] praise and the core of [one’s beliefs].”

I find Head Ace Scheurich’s golf religion of Hioism to be very creative. I find accord with his “Spirits of the Course,” “Nine Guides,” and “Eighteen Sacred Values.” I also agree that the religion of Golf need not be an exclusive religion. In Mr. Scheurich’s words, “Hioism is not made for or expected to be the sole religion of any person. Members are encouraged to seek additional beliefs and spirituality through any means that fit them.” However, Hioism’s dualistic notions of Par and Bogey pose problems for me as does the notion of an afterlife in Pinnacle (Heaven) or Callow (Hell/Purgatory).

God, for me, is ultimate reality, and ultimate reality is Reality-itself, Energy-itself or Being-itself. Reality-itself did not stem from the Big Bang but rather was the basis for any Big Bang. From absolute nothing comes absolutely nothing. Since there is something now, something must have always been. The something that has always been is Reality-itself (God), the “Isness” of all that is. Reality-itself aims at the realization of beautiful occasions of experience; evil (Bogey) occurs when occasions are discordant to one degree or another or when they are less than they could have been. Reality-itself is expressed in realities that move from potential to actual and from actual to influential. Any afterlife is merely influential in nature, not subjective. Humans live on after death merely by the influence they exert on the actual course of events; they do not live on in some alternative reality as persons or subjects.

While I have differences with Hioism, I am happy to learn that others recognize in Golf the language for a religion. Further, I am delighted to find someone who has followed through with the establishment of a Golf religion. I have communicated with several people who find that Golf can be a symbol system for religion; until now I have not encountered anyone who has actually established such a religion. Hioism, I think, is a positive step toward the recognition of Golf as a religion.

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

{ 0 comments }

Book Review: Funny (but true) Golf Anecdotes

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on August 12, 2013

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Book Review: Funny (but true) Golf Anecdotes: about Tiger, Phil, Bubba, Rory, Rickie, Jack, Arnie, and all the rest.

See Roybob’s Ball Rating System

Dick Crouser, Funny (but true) Golf Anecdotes, Meadowbrook Press, New York, 2012.

The title describes the book. Crouser presents eighty-three pages worth of short golf stories relating to many of golf’s famous names. Some anecdotes are more humorous than others, but there were enough funny ones for me to me to award the book a full sleeve of balls. I included some “shorties” in my own book, and here are a few of my favorite “shorties” from Crouser’s book.

“Pro-Am Strategy”

Donna Caponi was playing with a sportswriter in an alternate-shot match. She would “hit a booming tee shot”; the sportswriter would scuff the next shot into the woods. She would “hit out of the woods onto the green”; he would putt “off the green into the water.” After several holes of similar frustrations, “she hit a big drive that stopped just in front of a water hazard. ‘What should I do here?’ he asked. ‘Whiff it,’ she said.”

“A Tough Golf Course

Robert Trent Jones was never the pro golfer’s favorite architect, because many felt that Jones had something against a golfer being able to shoot par. Jimmy Demaret, one of Jones’s severest critics, ran into him once and said, ‘Saw a course you’d really like the other day, Trent. On the first tee, you take a penalty drop.”

“Faldo’s Pricey Present

Nick Faldo had just won the biggest purse of his life – a cool $1 million – and was feeling generous when he asked his wife if there were anything she’d like to have. ‘A divorce,’ she said. ‘I wasn’t thinking of anything quite that expressive,’ Faldo replied.”

“How Slow is Sakura Yokomine?

LPGA star Christina Kim has never been known for keeping her opinions to herself. After learning she wouldn’t have to play behind Japanese player Sakura Yokomine during the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open, Kim said, ‘Phew. I’m glad… She’s slower than trying to bake a pie with a lighter.’”

“Maltbie’s Last-Round Comeback

The thrill and drama of the last-round comeback has made tournament golf a huge spectator draw. Palmer, Ncklaus, Woods, Love, Faldo – they’ve all done it. Roger Maltbie has, too, although he didn’t seem to possess the supreme confidence golf miracles normally require. Ten strokes back entering the last round of an Andy Williams tourney, he was asked what he’d have to shoot to win. ‘The rest of the field,’ he said.”

“Slow-Play Disease

The curse of the public golf course is slow play – the six-hour round. But even a few pros suffer from slow-play disease. Like Bernhard Langer, according to some. He and Lee Trevino were paired for a round in 1992, and as Trevino was coming off the 18th green, he was asked to comment on Langer’s new beard: ‘He was clean-shaven when we teed off.’”

If you are looking for a few laughs related to the game of golf, I recommend Funny (but true) Golf Anecdotes: about Tiger, Phil, Bubba, Rory, Rickie, Jack, Arnie, and all the rest.

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Book Review: The World’s Only Collection of Great Golf Poetry

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on May 23, 2013

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Book Review: The World’s Only Collection of Great Golf Poetry

Two BallsSee Roybob’s Ball Rating System

M. R. Henderson, The World’s Only Collection of Great Golf Poetry, Aldis Publishing Co., Los Angeles, 2007.

The very title of the book reveals the sarcastic nature of its author, M. R. Henderson. There are, of course, many books containing golf poetry, but his is “The World’s Only Collection of Great Golf Poetry” [emphasis added]. Having given up on golf, Henderson is described as “a retired mental patient” who “works tirelessly to educate children about the nature of golf, and how it can destroy self-esteem and ruin lives.”

The book is very small and very short. The poetic style is interesting. On occasion, Henderson launches into what the reader assumes to be a climb towards a lofty linguistic treat only to plummet rapidly into dark, vile, bitter satire. Here are a couple of my favorites.

A Man Once Said


A man once said of golf
it is not whether you win
or whether you lose
but it is, in truth,
how you play the game
That man was a fucking idiot

 

The Birdie


Like whiskey to an alcoholic,

the birdie keeps a bad golfer coming back
again and again and again
“Hey, remember that birdie?” he asks
again and again and again
When a golfer lies in bed at night
he does not remember the hideous slice,
or long string of triple bogeys
Only the birdie, so sweet, so sweet
A steadfast example of his true skill
And if he should ever score an eagle,
call his wife so that she may divorce him
and at least salvage her life

If you are looking for lofty, inspiring, edifying golf poetry, do not look in this book.  If, however, you appreciate golf poetry that is facetious, acerbic, and sarcastic, this may be the book for you.  Unfortunately, there is not a lot of poetry here.  The book is a very brief read.  Also, unfortunately, Henderson does not yet have a way to distribute the book.  Perhaps, that will come.  I m awarding two out of three balls to M. R. Henderson’s The World’s Only Collection of Great Golf Poetry.

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

{ 0 comments }

Book Review: Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on May 6, 2013

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Book Review: Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game

See Roybob’s Ball Rating System

Joseph Parent, Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game, Doubleday, New York, 2002.

All the major religions of the world have divisions and subdivisions, and Buddhism, the fourth largest religion of the world with some 376 million adherents, is no exception. As Buddhism developed in India, from the death of the Buddha in the early fifth century B.C.E.,  and found is way into China, in the first century, a more accommodating form of Buddhism emerged. This more accommodating expression became known as Mahayana (“Greater Vehicle”) Buddhism, and the Mahayana division, consisting of about fifty-six percent of the Buddhist population, is the largest of the three major divisions of Buddhism. As Buddhism developed in China and Japan, in the fifth and sixth centuries, a subdivision found expression into the form of Ch’an (in China) or Zen (in Japan) (Click the link for an audio pronunciation of Ch’an). Both terms, Ch’an and Zen, relate to meditation, the central practice for this form of Buddhism.

Ch’an or Zen Buddhism emphasizes the importance of meditation for the attainment of Nirvana, referring to the Buddha’s own enlightenment experience while meditating under a large fig tree and to a character known as Bodhidharma, the founder of the Ch’an or Zen school. Bodhidharma, according to the story, silently meditated in a cave, facing one of its walls, for nine years. In the seventh year, he fell asleep and became so angry with his lack of discipline that he cut off his eyelids to prevent his eyes from ever shutting again. As his eyelids hit the cave floor, tea plants appeared. Tea, with its caffeine, became a popular means to prevent sleep during meditation, and tea became a popular drink throughout China.

Readers are not going to learn a lot about Zen Buddhism from Parent’s book, but they will learn how Parent seeks to apply Zen principles and techniques to the game of golf. As the subtitle suggests, Parent wants to help us master “the mental game.” Parent provides readers with a lot of sound advice and tips that are worth trying. Whether they all work is something that readers will have to decide.

One of many very short chapters is entitled “to care or not to care.” Parent relates the Buddhist story of three Tibetan beggars arguing amongst themselves about whom they would rather be and who was the richest man in the area. One wanted to be the governor, the second wanted to be the king, but the third wanted to be Milarepa, the Buddhist meditation master. The third beggar explained that Milarepa “has tamed his mind, so he is always comfortable. He knows his own nature, so he doesn’t need confirmation from others. He is completely content with whatever he has, so he never needs anything. That makes him the richest man in the world.” Parent advises golfers not to worry about the shots they make and their results. “If you don’t need anything, you can appreciate everything. If you have a sense of humor about how things go, the universe loves to dance with you” (p. 115).

In the next little chapter, entitled “how to make every putt,” Parent makes a distinction between “making a putt and holing a putt.” He advises us golfers to choose “the best line for the putt that we can,” get “the best feel for the pace that we can,” and make “the best stroke we can.” “This is all we can do; after the ball is on its way, the result is beyond our control.” “”You may not hole every putt, but you can make every putt.” (p. 118). Knowing that you made the putt releases you from any attachments to the results. Knowing that you made the putt frees you from worry and gives you peace of mind. Elsewhere Parent writes that “a putt is a ball, a few feet of grass, and a hole” (p. 130). Any other significance we add to the putt comes from the past or the future. The putt may either make up for a previous bogey or give us chance to win the championship. Parent urges us to forget about the past and the future. Focus on the present which simply involves a ball, some grass, and a hole. Make the putt; let the results be what they will.

I was not sure I liked Zen Golf at first. Having been a golfer from a young age, I have been exposed to all kinds of advice, and most of Parent’s counsel was nothing new. The more I read, though, the more I found to appreciate. I am awarding a full sleeve of balls to Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game.

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Book Review: The Story of Golf

December 27, 2012

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf Book Review: Story Of Golf See Roybob’s Ball Rating System George Peper, The Story of Golf, TV Books, New York, 1999. The Story of Golf emerged as the companion volume to a PBS documentary (2000) of the same name. […]

Read the full article →

Book Review: Buddha Plays 18

December 26, 2012

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf Book Review: Buddha Plays 18 See Roybob’s Ball Rating System Edward Sarkis Balian, Buddha Plays 18, Second Edition, Silver Sky Publishing, Encinitas, California, 2011. The Buddha Plays 18 is an interesting book which, to some degree, resembles part of my […]

Read the full article →

Book Review: Missing Links

December 20, 2012

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf Book Review: Missing Links See Roybob’s Ball Rating System Rick Reilly, Missing Links, Random House, New York, 1996. The Ponkaquogue Municipal Golf Links and Deli was named by Golf  Ilustrated as “possibly the worst golf course in America,” but it […]

Read the full article →

Roybob’s Book on Golf Now Available Through Barnes and Noble

December 7, 2012

Roybob’s Book on Golf is Now Available Through Barnes and Noble Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Read the full article →

Roybob’s Book on Golf Is Now Available on Kindle

October 19, 2012

Roybob’s Book on Golf is Now Available on Kindle Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and A Religious Philsophy of Golf

Read the full article →

Roybob’s Book on Golf Is Now Available

October 10, 2012

Roybob’s Book on Golf is Now Available Through Amazon Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Read the full article →