Golf and Time

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

The Golf Gods: Towards a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Golf and Time

The worst challenge to Golf is not a new ball that flies longer and straighter, not a high-tech club that swings faster and hits harder, not an advance in technology. Course designers can always keep up with the advances in technology; and, even on the older courses, good shots seem to matter more than technology.

The most horrible devil in Golf and, indeed, the most horrible devil in life is that horrible reality called Time. The Greeks called him Cronos; the Romans called him Saturn. Though some have referred to him as a “father,” Time is not necessarily a kindly father. A father would not rob his children of life or of the pleasures of golf.

I am not referring to four hour rounds. Yes, golf may take too long to play, and players may take too long to golf. I am referring, however, to when time has run out, when death has come, and there is no more time to play.

My Mom, Dad, and I have had a lot of fun golfing, and golf is a great game, in part, because it allows some people to evade Time or postpone the inevitable. My Dad still plays well. He was born in 1924, is now eighty-six years old, carries an eight handicap, and has shot his age numberless times now. In this sense, golf, more than basketball, football, baseball, soccer, etc., enables some to cheat Time.

Still, I know that the end of time is coming for my Mom, for my Dad, for my wife, for their friends, for friends with whom I have played, and, of course, for me. Time will pluck us all from the courses we enjoy. Francisco Goya’s painting of Saturn Devouring One of His Children (c. 1820) is a very vivid reminder of the sad truth that Time eats its children. Time gnaws away at golfers and takes them towards their demise.

Yes, yes, I realize that it was Time who gave birth to the game. Yes, yes, I know that it was Time who allows golfers to play. Time allows humans to learn, but in exchange humans must pay Time its due. Whatever time it takes humans to learn is forever gone, and by the time humans learn, they are too old, fat, decrepit, wrinkled, or bald to enjoy what they have learned. Golfers, for their part, never have enough time to perfect their game.

Time is part of the processive nature of reality, the becomingness of reality, the duration from potentiality to actuality. Time is a structural element in Reality-Itself, an element that allows humans to express themselves and to golf but that also demands an end to their existence.

From another perspective, though, Time is the great redeemer. With Time comes the death that removes golfers from their courses one final time and transports them to the ultimate place of peace, a nirvana or a paradise, where their minds and bodies will no longer be tormented by their inadequacies. Time transitions golfers to their final nineteenth hole from which they will never be summoned away.

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

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Boire September 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Hi .. nice piece… but.. as another who has looked into Aristotle’s schema of potency and act, may I heartily recommend Clarke’s “The One and the Many” especially for readers who want to know …everything that can be known.

Like the existence of time. Norris Clarke will point out that time does not exist. Time is a function of our sense memories. Things are spacially, not temporally related he argues. Along with Wallace’s “THe Modeling of Nature”, the avenues to our present and ontological insights come into view. Better than the perfect swing. My favourite golf book is by a Canadian, Scot Minni’s “Smash and Carve” based upon the Hogan swing. Took me to the mid seventies as an occasional golfer.




Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. September 19, 2012 at 8:49 am

I suppose I think of time as the duration of an occasion of experience including the entertainment of potential, the actualization of potential, and the passage of that actualization into the realm of the influential.


Leave a Comment