Roybob’s Book on Golf

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

 

Preface

The first part of the book consists of humorous stories inspired by a golfing group called “The Hucks.” The group plays at Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club in Tallahassee, Florida, and I have been a part of the group since about the year 2001. The stories are offered purely for their entertainment value. I knew the Hucks had been a rather amusing golf group over the years, but as I began to compile and record our stories, I was surprised at the extent of our antics. I hope outsiders will laugh as much as we have.

The second part of the book is a golfer’s rendition of Dante Alighieri’s famed Divine Comedy (1321). The reader will witness an array of golfing sins and their punishments as he/she joins me on my journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise. In hell, find slow players confined to a hole where they can never hit a shot, and find loud players with corks clamped down into their mouths. In purgatory, find those who threw clubs now having to protect their clubs, and find a device of penance being prepared for a big cat. In paradise, find the greats of the game, purged of their sins, and enjoying their communion with the divine.

The third part of the book consists of my religious and philosophical mediations as they relate to Golf.  As Golf came to dominant more and more of my life, I was faced with the prospect of acknowledging that I had devoted a great deal of time to an ultimately meaningless game.  Rather than admit that a substantial portion of my life had been spent in vain, I explored the possibility that I was attracted to Golf because I found in the game a metaphor for life and a vehicle through which I could discover and express my own philosophy of religion.  I agreed with Walter J. Travis, America’s most successful golfer in the early 1900s, that “Golf is something more than a game, it is a religion.  It reveals a man to himself in all his pristine weakness, and exposes to others weaknesses which he is ordinarily at great pains to conceal.”[1]

I found an apology for Golf, and I mean “apology” in the classical sense of the term, that is, a defense of Golf.  Golf is a sport, a leisure activity, or a game, but it can also be construed as a religion, a form of worship, a cult.[2]  Golf provides a set of symbols by means of which golfers can understand reality.  Golf has its High God, its minor gods, its places of worship, its priests, and its worshippers.  Players may treat Golf as merely a game, if they choose, like Christians can treat church as merely a place to meet people, but for others Golf has a spiritual quality that cannot be denied.


[1] Mark Frost, The Greatest Game Every Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf, Hyperion, New York, 2002, p. 165.

[2] The word “cult” derives from the Latin cultus and refers simply to a form or kind of worship.  The word did not originally carry the negative connotations with which it is encumbered today.

 

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