Opinion

NELSON: Activity and even democracy

Jim Nelson is a Tri-City News Face to Face columnist. - photo SUBMITTED
Jim Nelson is a Tri-City News Face to Face columnist.
— image credit: photo SUBMITTED

Despite the beating the teachers are taking lately, I had to promise I wouldn’t talk about education this time — enough’s enough.

Instead, I’m here to defend the game of golf from the attacks of my colleague over there in the right rough, the one who wouldn’t know a gap wedge from the unconstitutional treatment of teachers.

Now, although my golf game these days includes a slice meaner than a teacher’s salary cut, that won’t stop me from defending a game about which I’m as passionate as a public school teacher delivering quality education to our children.

Golf is more than a game, it’s a pastoral experience.

For 15 minutes, you own that beautiful fairway on the 11th hole at Sandpiper.  The oxygen-producing greenness, the soaring eagles, the Harrison River behind the towering Douglas firs. Serene and tranquil, you’re light years away from the hurly burly of the city and the non-stop teacher bashing on CKNW talk shows.

At golf courses and practice facilities, a demographic potpourri of enthusiasts rehearses swings and parts of swings; examining their turn, their finishes, their grip, like a bunch of tai chi practitioners. Golf is a democratic sport that welcomes all to learn, regardless of race, religion, ability, cultural background or special needs — much like one of B.C.’s world-class public schools.

Oh sure, Andy, golf courses take up to 150 acres to provide the golf experience.

To say golf course land could be put to better use than for chasing around a silly ball is like wondering why we waste Butchart Gardens land just so people can look at those silly flowers when we could build condos or publicly funded private schools on it.

Golf is five hours of aerobic activity.

It’s for young and old.

It’s healthful.

It’s challenging.

One learns to play with others of varying abilities and to tolerate disparity well, except at those snobby private courses that keep out the riff-raff.

Yes, Andy, the score doesn’t matter — it’s getting out there that counts. Golf is a pastoral haven, an aesthetic refuge, a world of fairness where no one is penalized just because the pro gets mad at them.

 

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