millenials on a murder spree
June 9, 2018 8:31 PM   Subscribe

 
My own preference is that the large country-club style dual 18-hole type places should be subdivided into many minigolf cutthroat absurdities, one 9-hole minigolf course per inital development hole. Such reuse policies should look closely at the success of the minigolf-magic Myrtle Beach municipal model and seek to emulate it.
posted by mwhybark at 8:51 PM on June 9 [18 favorites]


The second link’s grim assessment at how old and white the audience for golf is (compared to how old and white basketball fans are not) is striking. Once you reach the half century mark, you realize how goddamned much of the time golf was on TV in the seventies. That and bowling, which seems demographically similar and also mystifying as a televised sport.

In short, things were very different in the old days.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:52 PM on June 9 [28 favorites]


Good news for once!
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:52 PM on June 9 [14 favorites]


I’m so delighted that golf is dying!
posted by umbú at 8:53 PM on June 9 [16 favorites]


Good. Golf is untenable as a sport—taking up too much space, water, and real estate.

Which dies first, the NFL or the PGA? I'm thinking the latter but I expect them both to dissolve in my lifetime.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:55 PM on June 9 [14 favorites]


When I first read "NIMBY battlefield," my brain didn't register what the acronym was and I expected this article to be about some new, unauthorized competitive game being played on abandoned golf courses on the lowdown; I imagined it would be a cross between Nerf gun wars and LARPing, and maybe throw some cosplay in there too.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:55 PM on June 9 [99 favorites]


Bowling is more of the fun-stuff-to-do-while-drinking category. Fun to do, not so much to watch.
And it's relatively cheap to do and the rules are pretty simple.

Golf is expensive, slow and boring. Golf courses are ecological nightmares. Fuck golf.

Mini-golf's ok, though. We can keep that.
posted by emjaybee at 8:56 PM on June 9 [55 favorites]


Golf courses have always struck me as a criminal waste of space, especially private courses. I've seen a few estimates that golf courses cover as much land area as a small state like Delaware. And they're basically just huge lawns for rich people.
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:56 PM on June 9 [39 favorites]


"Yes it deserves to die, and I hope it burns in hell!"
posted by Ferreous at 9:04 PM on June 9 [21 favorites]


How about we take golf back to its true roots — just substitute "Rich People" for "Goblins" in the original legend.
“Old Took’s great-grand-uncle Bullroarer, who was so huge (for a hobbit) that he could ride a horse. He charged the ranks of the goblins of Mount Gram in the Battle of the Green Fields, and knocked their king Golfimbul’s head clean off with a wooden club. It sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit-hole, and in this way the battle was won and the game of Golf invented at the same moment.”
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:05 PM on June 9 [15 favorites]


I will rep bowling though, anyone can walk into a bowling alley with a few bucks, grab some shoes, drink some beers while playing taking an action every few minutes and have a good time. The same cannot be said of golf.
posted by Ferreous at 9:05 PM on June 9 [30 favorites]


Lots of places, like Arizona, make bak on old, white people who play golf. It may be in decline, but the percentages, and who has the cash, means golf will be viable for many, many years. Maybe not at the real-estate eating levels it is now, but, how many places prosper almost solely from golf tourism...? A lot.
posted by Windopaene at 9:08 PM on June 9


Absent all the associated evils of the land use and money involved, I kinda like golf, watching it and, rarely, having played, but those associated evils are far too potent for me to do anything but root for its demise as a major recreational activity.

I dread, however, the coming battles between the NIMBYs and park land reclamationists and those who wish to convert it to use as housing since that's going to be ugly and potentially create a split between otherwise nominal allies in some instances. Higher density housing first, in areas of need, is my belief, but the push for parks and/or commercial use is going to be hard to overcome.

With the NIMBYing, more and more I'm starting to look wistfully towards that Bladerunner "dystopia" as more a best case outcome. Having the wealthy move "off world" en masse doesn't look like that bad a thing at all oft times.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:11 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


Good fucking riddance.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:12 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


The link in the first comment is blocking requests from Germany.

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posted by nikaspark at 9:15 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much Trump might be hastening golf's demise?
posted by brookeb at 9:19 PM on June 9 [28 favorites]


But the bigger story involves the sport’s aging demographics and the athletic tastes of Millennials, who just aren’t that into an expensive, poky sport that provides few health benefits.

Those darn millennials are just killing everything off.
posted by octothorpe at 9:20 PM on June 9 [5 favorites]


Golf courses are ecological disaster areas, they’d be much better served as mixed use medium density towns, parkland, rewilded spaces, or such.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 PM on June 9 [11 favorites]


Hahahaha die golf die!

Does it count as a death threat if it's made against a sport?
posted by medusa at 9:33 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I like golf courses, but not for golfing. I’ve lived a bunch of areas where they and cemeteries were the only parks.
posted by corb at 9:34 PM on June 9 [12 favorites]


But Wii Golf is still cool, right?


Right!?
posted by FJT at 9:35 PM on June 9 [9 favorites]


they’d be much better served as mixed use medium density towns, parkland, rewilded spaces

bioswales! rain gardens! wetlands!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:38 PM on June 9 [16 favorites]


please millennials there are so many more things that need to be killed, we are counting on you. do the murders.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:42 PM on June 9 [126 favorites]


This is me desperately wishing that the comeuppance for systematically dismantling the middle class might be something more cutting than Some of Yer Golf Courses Might Close As Fewer People Can Afford to Play, Yo.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:49 PM on June 9 [35 favorites]


listen who knows what might happen once they're all crowded together on the last extant golf course in the nation. especially in sinkhole country.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:51 PM on June 9 [8 favorites]


On one hand, my brother in law is a golf pro and he's very nice and I wouldn't want him to lose his job. On the other hand, I went from being indifferent to golf to actively hating it after the "Get in the hole!" people started with their bullshit.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:53 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


"*Buy* Bushwood?! You ... you-u-u-u-u ... !?!" (strangles Al Czervik)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:59 PM on June 9 [10 favorites]


BRING BACK NICE WALKS.
posted by Artw at 10:01 PM on June 9 [19 favorites]


I didn't know you're supposed to be wealthy and only play on perfectly groomed (to the point if ridiculousness) courses in order to play and enjoy golf. I must be doing it wrong.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at all the sweeping generalizations in this thread. But as a long-time public course hacker, I can safely say not all (Hell, likely most) golfers aren't stuffy, PGA Tour wannabes or Judge Smails types wearing plus fours. And many courses are closer to cow pastures than toxic manicured carpets.

Were too many courses built during the Tiger Woods boom? Damn straight there were. Is there a correction taking place? Definitely. Are TV ratings down? Rathings are down in all types of programming, not just sports. Is golf as popular as it was 15-20 years ago? Nope.

Is golf going away? Nah.
posted by bawanaal at 10:02 PM on June 9 [62 favorites]


I imagined it would be a cross between Nerf gun wars and LARPing, and maybe throw some cosplay in there too.

At first I was like SIGN ME UP but then I thought, why wait for the golf to stop before charging the field with a couple N-Strikes?!?
posted by Jpfed at 10:03 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Listen, I've been golfing one or twice, and I'm pretty sure I qualify at the bottom end of the millennial scale. I get the attraction. It's a marginally strenuous activity in the outdoors. It's vaguely laudable.

I can even relate a personal story. There was an older guy I was antiquated with, professionally, for a few years. One day I was told that he had died.

He, as far as I know as I was not a member of the immediate family, had died of an aneurysm. Sitting up in front of the TV, eating a snack, after a long day of golf at a resort with his established adult son. And the SOB loved, absolutely loved, golf.

I honestly can't imagine a better death. The bastard probably didn't even know he was dying. It's absolutely my ambition in life to leave this world like that.
posted by figurant at 10:11 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


My wife and I have a longstanding disagreement about golf. I contend that it is not now, nor has it ever been, a sport. A game, undoubtedly, one that involves some degree of skill. A hobby, for many people. A sport? Absolutely not. There is almost not athletic ability involved. I have golfed. I have also played baseball, and soccer, and was a competitive Irish Dancer for many years. Golf != sport.

Her counterpoint is "why are we still talking about golf, what's wrong with you?"
posted by curiousgene at 10:13 PM on June 9 [49 favorites]


'Golf != sport.'

"sport: an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment." (citation: somewhere on the internet).

So, is bowling a sport? Is pool? Is curling? Is table tennis? Is figuring skating? Is competitive Irish Dancing?

These are interesting questions, and as long as we are asking them while doing an Irish Dance over the grave of a dead golf course, I'm not sure I care what conclusions we come up with.
posted by el io at 10:32 PM on June 9 [7 favorites]


Once you’re done killing golf, can you kill grass lawns, next? Man, I hate mowing my lawn.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 10:36 PM on June 9 [33 favorites]


Speaking as someone who has spent some time being wildly out of shape, I can say with confidence that just standing upright in the outdoors for 2 hours counts as physical exertion.

Also, Chess is a sport, so there.
posted by mmoncur at 10:42 PM on June 9 [10 favorites]


I think golf, at the pro level, is a sport. Look at Tiger's physical decline. Wasn't just from walking around. Like baseball players, it's not what you during each game so much as the grind of the season. The torque on the back has taken out many top players over time...
posted by Windopaene at 11:00 PM on June 9


I have always said I'll only play golf if there's a dinosaur and a windmill on the course.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:01 PM on June 9 [20 favorites]


One of the mountain bike trails I frequent runs up against the fence of a golf course back nine and I've shouted "golf sucks!" on more than a few occasions while riding by because golf sucks.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:02 PM on June 9 [12 favorites]


I’m so delighted that golf is dying!

Forgive them, Arnold, they know not what they say ... or as I previously put it ...

the value of golf as a TV entertainment is almost entirely hangover cure, which is why they always play the final round on Sundays. Just lay back, watch people walking on nice fields of green, with muted commentary and occasional bits of distant applause.

my father understood this
posted by philip-random at 11:03 PM on June 9 [24 favorites]


The definition of a sport is a game where you can play defence, or at least defensively. Ergo auto racing and golf are sports, ballroom dancing and gymnastics are not.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:04 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


You take drugs, Danny?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:04 PM on June 9 [14 favorites]


Golf isn't THAT expensive. Sure, if you want to play at some fancy club, and must have a $700 golf club set, you can spend a stupid amount of money on it, just like any sport.

If you want to play golf cheap, head to some out-of-the way course, and you can play a round for $40, which on an enjoyment/minute scale, is pretty cheap. If you want a workout don't get a cart, and carry your $100 golf clubs around. I get it that it has this "old rich white guy" reputation, but it's as fun as the people you are doing it with.

I could spend equal if not more amounts on basketball shoes, hockey equipment, fishing rods, etc. Every hobby has its "gear guys" but you can have fun on a non-watered "terrible" course with cheap clubs and mixed-bag balls that they dredge up from the ponds.
posted by Mr. Big Business at 11:07 PM on June 9 [18 favorites]


The golfer is a varmint.
posted by fallingbadgers at 11:09 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Turn them all over to Leslie Knope. Problem solved.


Yeah, golf can suck it. It's the emblem of the Rich White Man -- the success of Tiger Woods notwithstanding. Although, if I were prone to conspiracy theories, I'd notice that it's likely that many professional golfers have had extramarital affairs over the years, but I don't know if anyone before had a career so thoroughly demolished by a sex scandal, and it just so happens that he's the first (?) young, charismatic African-American to succeed in an almost overwhelmingly white sport, and it also just so happens that he did so by surpassing the records of every previous star of the sport (and, financially speaking, most other sports too) by leaps and bounds, and it all just so happened to unfold a year after the election of the first young, charismatic African-American president... But I'm not prone to conspiracy theories.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:10 PM on June 9 [12 favorites]




Seeing people get ecstatic over the death of a sport (and not, say, wondering how it might adapt to changing times) is really kind of a downer.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:38 PM on June 9 [34 favorites]


Back to the article at hand. My hometown has seen two clubs slowly die by Madoffs hand and the current solvent generation just not being interested.

One threw in the towel pretty quickly. The other waited it out about 8-9 years, but they both sold out.

Now you've got two very different approaches to redelopment. One guy is playing a slow long game. He figures eventually the village will need cash and he'll strike. I doubt he ever wins given the super liberal nimby vibe of the folks in town (and to be clear the plans are for like $ 2mn homes).

The other guys led with "we want a deal and we'll give you a great amenity (a village club including a smaller course).". They seem to have a chance but I think they are thinking even bigger lots at higher price points. But that village is Republicans mostly anyway. And is more a 60s development as opposed to the other town which was mostly developed by 1930.

Regardless I'm intrigued to see what happens. They didn't pay much for the courses because absent permission to develop they are probably loss making.
posted by JPD at 11:46 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


This article at the Economist mentions the long hours it takes to play golf, and how that doesn't fit with modern child-reading ideas, and that struck me as a legitimate factor. I am in roughly the same demographic my parents were when raising children in the 70s and 80s, and things are very different.

When I was a kid, my parents didn't plan family-centered or child-centered activities on the weekend. They did what they needed or wanted to do, and we tagged along or kept ourselves busy somehow. Whether we liked it or not, we went along on visits to family, shopping trips to the hardware or auto parts store, and so on. We spent certain periods of our childhoods exquisitely bored most of the time as they dragged us around.

My father did none of the hands-on child-rearing. So, yes, he did things like take off to play golf and have dinner with friends from work on a Saturday. I do not think he was ever solely responsible for me and my brother at any time when we were too young to be left by ourselves. Heck, I was born in October, and somewhere in a box I have a postcard my dad sent to my older brother from deer camp (with my name squeezed into the address as an afterthought) when I was barely three weeks old and my mom was still recovering from a c-section.

I think it's legit to say that for a lot of contemporary parents, it just doesn't fit into our expectations for partnerships and families for one parent (let alone both) to have a hobby that takes them away from home for the better part of one of the two days the family has together during the week. I have never worked more than part-time since having kids, but a lot of my friends are two-career families, and the limitations that two full-time jobs impose on family time during the week make the weekends even more precious.
posted by Orlop at 11:58 PM on June 9 [58 favorites]


I don't like framing this as a NIMBY issue. Obviously there are too many golf courses, but 600 detached houses replacing a golf course is a failure.
posted by ethansr at 12:35 AM on June 10 [18 favorites]


I used to enjoy golf and only stopped my regular practice because I moved somewhere where it wasn’t convenient to hit the range and the putting green twice a week along with a weekly 9 or 18. It’s a fantastic game, mentally and physically challenging, with lots of opportunity to socialize, and, if you like, network.

I haven’t played regularly in several years, but if this story indicates that I am now more likely to play 18 in four hours instead of 5 or 6, I think it is probably a good time to start playing again.
posted by notyou at 12:54 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


One way or another, the sport (or non-sport, game, hobby, who cares?) of golf is declining and the debate is over how to use the land left by defunct courses.

As the first link says:
Consider that the average 18-hole golf course is 150 acres. At standard densities, that means that your average golf course can host at least 600 new single-family detached homes. Mix in townhouses and apartments, and a single shuttered course could provide housing for thousands of new residential units. This is land in desirable communities: Golf-centric subdivisions built in the 1990s and 2000s feature courses threaded among affluent McMansion-style developments, meaning that the new housing could go in areas with access to high-quality schools and work opportunities.
This would piss you off -- it would piss me off -- if you lived near one of those defunct courses and you didn't want it to turn into thousands of new neighbors overnight, but what can be done? Maybe the city (or developers) could offer to buy out their homes so they could move away? Turning old courses into parks and preserves does nothing about a housing shortage.

No answer can make everyone happy, but in an area with a housing shortage, more people would benefit by turning the land into affordable housing, especially when the alternative is worsening sprawl and congestion: building on more land out of town and having more commuters jam the roads into town.
posted by pracowity at 12:54 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


Maybe the city (or developers) could offer to buy out their homes so they could move away?

Or hey, those that didn't want new neighbors could team up within their HOAs and buy the course themselves instead of the city doing it. But no, it's unearned privilege and demands without concessions all the way down.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:04 AM on June 10 [21 favorites]


Here's an article about San Francisco specifically. At over 2% of the city's total land area, it's a huge amount of space devoted to a single use, when space is in short supply. So far, I haven't heard much talk of decommissioning any, but it seems likely that it should happen at some point.
posted by alexei at 1:10 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


Not only does golf take up enormous amounts of room here in LA, and use enormous amounts of water, and effectively displace an enormous number of people in a market with near-zero rental and purchase housing inventory, but it is actually subsidized by the taxpayer.

Golf clubs—very expensive, selective (racist) golf clubs that rich people pay to join and play golf at are more or less not charged real estate taxes... at least in LA. Considering the fact that my tiny little lot's taxes are in the $4500/year range I cannot begin to imagine what the many 18-hold courses within the city's tax revenue would be if they were taxed. Malcom Gladwell postulates that that just ONE course in LA's land is worth more than $6B dollars and should carry a property tax bill of $75M/year but only pays $200k because of an exception that this private, rich person golf club has from a 1960 ballot measure. There are nearly 100 golf courses in LA... many of which are public. If we exclude those (and maybe we shouldn't) we're looking at more than $100B in property that could be sold and developed into housing... enough housing to really move the needle in the city AND more than $2.5B in additional tax revenue. So poorer people are paying for services disproportionately, getting fewer services than they could be AND are paying too much rent. Because of golf.

Fuck golf. If people had to pay the true price for the sport (at least where I live) no one would.
posted by n9 at 1:19 AM on June 10 [65 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised by the (apparently wealth driven) golf hate here.

I come from a family of hackers; when we were kids our clubs were all hand-me-downs or Salvation Army finds. Our ball supply was primarily restocked from the bushes (and sometimes the ponds) of the local courses. Our shoes were ... well, sandals or whatever the hell we were wearing. Who owns golf shoes?

Comparing the places we played to the PGA, or even a gated community, is like comparing the Ritz to a Motel 6. Everything was either municipal courses or some rancher's back forty 20 miles out of town. 18 holes cost about twice the price of a movie ticket, a lot less with bulk discounts.

In short, everything was cheap and easy. Also a free tip: if you bring two pushcarts but everyone plays out of the same bag, you can stock up the entire second cart with beer.

My brothers still play when they can (see Orlop's comment on time constraints above) and to hear them talk the whole thing is still primarily an alcohol infused walk with friends. Who can hate that?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:30 AM on June 10 [24 favorites]


I love golf as a sport/hobby/endeavour, but golf culture is the fucking worst. And there are a lot of barriers to taking it up; it’s varying degrees of expensive, it can take a long time to play and you have to play regularly for, like, years to attain a basic level of skill. My brother (who is now a club pro) and I got our reps in as kids because the company our dad worked for owned a course and employees and especially their kids could play for a steep discount, so even though I only play half a dozen times or so a year I’m still respectably good because muscle memory is a thing. Anyway, this article lines up with a lot of things my brother has been telling me about the industry’s decline. I don’t think his job is in any danger because he works at a very high-end joint, but courses are closing all over the place.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:32 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


And to echo some of the other people in this thread, I’ve played places in the U.S. where dudes were playing in denim cutoffs without shirts and there were more coolers than golf bags on the carts, so it’s not like every course is Augusta National in terms of the decorum and demographics.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:37 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


#notallgolfers

Will that stop all of the, "I'm not rich, but I play golf," nonsense?

Of course not. Who am I kidding?
posted by Revvy at 1:48 AM on June 10 [24 favorites]


I dread, however, the coming battles between the NIMBYs and park land reclamationists and those who wish to convert it to use as housing since that's going to be ugly and potentially create a split between otherwise nominal allies in some instances. Higher density housing first, in areas of need, is my belief, but the push for parks and/or commercial use is going to be hard to overcome.

There’s also the option of buidling high density mixed residential/commercial use housing surrounded by recovered parklands where everything is mosty carfree and walkable and theres a public transport hub to get you where you’d need to go but that wound require environmental management and planning and lol no that’s for the Dutch.
posted by supercrayon at 2:22 AM on June 10 [34 favorites]


This is all very interesting to me because I live in Scotland, and my parents live in a small village with its own golf course. The next village along the Hillfoots also has its own golf course. And the next one. Once you start paying attention, there are golf courses everywhere there are enough people gathered. Of course, we have a lot of rain and a lot of land that's no good for farming and there's a big plot of land with planning permission just down the road that they just can't seem to sell, so I'm not sure what the negatives would be here.

I was asking my dad about our local one the other day, and how it survives because surely the young people don't play much golf. And he says apparently they do, it's still popular, and the club allows non-members to turn up and play on certain days for a small fee (and it would have to be small because the unemployment rate is huge, this is not a well-off village).

So the only golf course I hear horrible things about is trumps damn monstrocity in Aberdeen and my god I can say bad things about that ALL DAY! It was a protected area! They forcibly displaced people! If American golf courses are all like that one, then fuck 'em.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:23 AM on June 10 [23 favorites]


I think golf, at the pro level, is a sport.
You can get a college degree in golf. It's a science!

The definition of a sport is a game where you can play defence, or at least defensively.
If you can smoke a cigarette while doing a thing, that thing is not a sport.
posted by thelonius at 3:11 AM on June 10 [12 favorites]


Damn, I had no idea MeFites disliked golf so much! I personally don't have strong feelings one way or the other toward golf itself, but definitely not a fan of many clubs and their exclusionary policies. Given how many business deals have been brokered over a round of golf, excluding women, Jews (or non-Christians in general), and minorities has certainly given them a handicap that is often overlooked.

The definition of a sport is a game where you can play defence, or at least defensively.

I have often said golf would be more fun to watch if players could block each other's shots, but so far the PGA has not expressed an interest in my idea.
posted by TedW at 4:09 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


I have often said golf would be more fun to watch if players could block each other's shots

Even if they could block them with their own ball, that would be cool. It was part of the early rules, called a 'stymie'.
posted by The_Vegetables at 4:28 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


'Golf != sport.'

I did golf as my mandatory school sport. I went to a selective state school organised vaguely along British grammar-school lines (Melbourne High) and, while we had mandatory sports on Wednesday afternoons, we had a broader choice. Some boys did laser-tag at a local facility. I settled on golf as it'd mean that, instead of wrestling in mud over a football or something, I'd get a pleasant walk, at the cost of shlepping a bag of golf clubs to and from school once a week.
posted by acb at 4:36 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


If you can smoke a cigarette while doing a thing, that thing is not a sport.
I find it hard to agree.
posted by doop at 4:38 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]


I wonder how much Trump might be hastening golf's demise?

Or perhaps political polarisation, where being “a keen golfer” has similar connotations to being “a huge Wagner enthusiast”: not entirely code for far-right views, but a strong suggestion of such.

Have the garbage-Nazis adopted golf as a signifier, alongside polo shirts and tiki torches, yet?
posted by acb at 4:39 AM on June 10 [9 favorites]


The definition of a sport is a game where you can play defence, or at least defensively.

That... doesn't really work for a lot of sports, like shooting or skiiing or kayaking or sailing... Lots of sports are fundamentally individual rather than directly vs an opponent. I'd be open to just including those in athletics instead though.
posted by stillnocturnal at 4:42 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Also: somebody should do a game, along the lines of 80s/90s PC golf games, named Donald Trump Pro Golf, or something similar. It'd look like the sort of thing one would have played on a SVGA-equipped PC, with a golf course rendered in flat greens in front of one's pudgy, orange-hued avatar and a swingometer on the HUD, but would differ in that, no matter how one swung, the shot would be a hole in one.
posted by acb at 4:42 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]




If, like me, you came to this thread hoping for photographs of abandoned golf courses and derelict clubhouses, here you go.
posted by verstegan at 4:56 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


As a stream ecologist, golf is pretty terrible environmentally. Course designers love to build along stream valleys. They put the stream in pipes in some places, dam it in other places, and everywhere it's still a stream, they cut down all the riparian vegetation. Meanwhile, turf management requires tons of fertilizer and pesticides every year, which run off into that same poor stream (and then travel downstream to cause algal blooms, etc.).

In urban areas, golf courses are frequently one of the only remaining green spaces. They are not currently publicly accessible, but they could be. Stop the turf management, take out the dams and the pipes, replant the riparian vegetation, and let water, gravity, and likely some beavers do the rest. Away from the stream, build high density apartments and townhomes surrounded by some more trees. Done.

Atlanta has a few, beloved public golf courses. One of them, in Candler Park, has allowed the beavers to colonize the stream and turn what was once a degraded mess of algal blooms and death into wetlands. The golfers play around and sometimes their shoes get wet. I wish they would stop with the turf grass nonsense, but it's a good compromise. Another, the Bobby Jones Golf Course in Buckhead is being restored for unclear reasons (or rather, the usual reasons: rich people). They are doing exactly the opposite there, wreaking huge damage on the local ecosystems for a dying sport.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:06 AM on June 10 [38 favorites]


Reading people's narrowly exclusionist definitions of what constitutes a sport is just as fun and interesting as reading people's narrowly exclusionist definitions of what constitutes science fiction.
posted by kyrademon at 5:07 AM on June 10 [11 favorites]


Oh, I forgot the best thing about the gold course near my old house, a few villages along from where my parents live now - it was on a hill so flat areas separated by steep slopes, and every time it snowed they let all the kids sledge down the hills which were so much flatter and smoother than anywhere else. They would get so much use that the snow would become ice and you could slide down just by sitting down. Golf courses should be part of and benefit the community or you're doing it wrong.
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:11 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


Golf is an excellent TV sport. For one thing, it's really quiet, so you can ignore it. But it is also the pinnacle of TV artistry: following a golf ball in mid-air is considered to be one of the greatest challenges a TV camera operator faces. I modestly propose that we use a combination of green screen and CGI to keep golf on the screen, but off the green.
posted by Morpeth at 5:16 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


Televised golf may be a hangover cure, but that's probably because it's such a terrific sleep aid.

Sorry, science fiction is not a sport.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:18 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


...and nothing of value was lost.
posted by the painkiller at 5:27 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


I was wondering if there were any closed courses near where I live and found two: Highland Country Club and Churchill Valley. Both seem to have had NIMBY issues but for different reasons. Highland had residents opposing the townhouses that the developers wanted but it looks like they eventually built a bunch of hideous single family ranch houses. The owners of Churchhill so far have only proposed natural gas fracking which I think we can agree with the NIMBYs in opposing but no plans on housing. The two municipalities that the former Churchill Valley land sits on both have shrinking populations so there's not much pressure for housing in the area so I'm guessing that it'll just sit fallow for generations.
posted by octothorpe at 5:30 AM on June 10


Damn, I had no idea MeFites disliked golf so much! I personally don't have strong feelings one way or the other toward golf itself, but definitely not a fan of many clubs and their exclusionary policies.

I don't know about others, but I realised that a great deal of my antipathy towards golf was really towards golf courses. My only experience of golf courses - private or public (-ish, I think you still need to pay) is of spaces clearly marked "you don't belong, don't trespass".

I actually grew up adjacent to a golf course - but really all I ever saw was the fence and a lot of trees to block the view of the course from the apartment buildings. That chain link fence - high, maybe with barbed wire on top? - was our scourge - it was just a little too close to the bottom of our tobaggan hill, and every time you got a good speed up, you risked smashing into it.

Unlike other green spaces in the city, you can't walk through golf courses. They are barriers to getting around, massive exclusionary zones to the people who live near them, if they aren't the right people.

A village course in Scotland (where the turf also grows naturally, unlike North America) really isn't the same beast as most of the golf courses I've seen. Here, even our city-owned courses are fenced off - and all I've ever seen of them is the long, long, fence that I have to walk a couple of km to get around. This is in contrast to city-owned soccer fields, basketball courts and baseball diamonds and now even ping-pong tables, all of which sit openly in parks, free to cross when not in use, and free to use when not booked.

And, of course, tv showed me that the inside of these 'country clubs' was so very alien and hostile to people like me, and that I'd probably never see the inside of a clubhouse except as a waiter -- it's just hard to get up much interest in the sport.
posted by jb at 6:16 AM on June 10 [41 favorites]


Anything in a city that isn't paved and bricked is a loss negated.

Austin is on the way to selling one of its courses alongside Lady Bird lake; cue a housing 'affordability' that makes golf a penny game in comparison.

Besides; When all the courses are gone; where are car less teenagers going to go do their drinking and smoking at?
posted by Afghan Stan at 6:17 AM on June 10


My point is: I never play basketball, baseball or soccer - but I don't feel any of the antipathy that I do towards golf courses. And that's because I can walk through them when games aren't on, and use the greenspace in my own ways. It's open and non-exclusive.
posted by jb at 6:17 AM on June 10 [10 favorites]


When I first read "NIMBY battlefield," my brain didn't register what the acronym was and I expected this article to be about some new, unauthorized competitive game being played on abandoned golf courses on the lowdown; I imagined it would be a cross between Nerf gun wars and LARPing, and maybe throw some cosplay in there too.

I imagined it as PUBG: Mar-a-Lago, in VR. But LARPing sounds like so much more fun; maybe instead of NERF guns, it can go full-on SCA!
posted by mystyk at 6:18 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Besides; When all the courses are gone; where are car less teenagers going to go do their drinking and smoking at?

That's what ravines and adventure-playgrounds-at-night are for.
posted by jb at 6:19 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Okay, I apologise for my "not a sport" derail. I have strong feelings about golf, because, as n9 says, in Los Angeles is a massive waste of space and water in an area that has little of either. They carve out their tax exemptions and water restriction exemptions, and then make it clear that most Angelenos aren't really welcome. I don't really care if golf dies, and really, things like golf never die. We all have chess, javelin throwing, and other games/sports that have survived hundres or thousands of years. Golf courses, in Southern California, can fuck off.
posted by curiousgene at 6:22 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Golf clubs—very expensive, selective (racist) golf clubs that rich people pay to join and play golf at are more or less not charged real estate taxes... at least in LA. Considering the fact that my tiny little lot's taxes are in the $4500/year range I cannot begin to imagine what the many 18-hold courses within the city's tax revenue would be if they were taxed.

My father, a retired tax and bankruptcy attorney who lives in a gated community with two private golf courses, jokes that the reason golf courses are taxed at such low rates is because only idiots consider that use to be *improved* land...
posted by mystyk at 6:25 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I have a couple of friends who occasionally enjoy heading down to the golf course for a pleasant afternoon playing whackfuck. I don't think we need to change anything but the name.
posted by flabdablet at 7:10 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


As mentioned by n9 above, here's a link to Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History episode that discusses how wasteful golf is, especially in LA. Plus there's some bonus discussion of the Ship of Theseus paradox as it applies to golf
posted by ensign_ricky at 7:11 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Tell Me No Lies: "I come from a family of hackers; when we were kids our clubs were all hand-me-downs or Salvation Army finds. Our ball supply was primarily restocked from the bushes (and sometimes the ponds) of the local courses. Our shoes were ... well, sandals or whatever the hell we were wearing. Who owns golf shoes?"

I think there are somewhere around 16 courses within an hour's drive of my home. All but 2 or 3 require golf shoes.

thelonius: "If you can smoke a cigarette while doing a thing, that thing is not a sport."

Then the only sports are those that involve immersion in water. Before the anti-smoking shift smokers would partake during anything else. Baseball, natch. Running? Sure. Sex? Of course. Putting Gas in the Car? No problem. I realize gas dispensing not normally classified as a sport but added to show there are no bounds.

runcibleshaw: "Golf courses have always struck me as a criminal waste of space, especially private courses. I've seen a few estimates that golf courses cover as much land area as a small state like Delaware."

It's a lot worse than that. Carlin does the math in 1992 before the boom and comes up with 2 Rhode Islands and a Delaware.

mystyk: " jokes that the reason golf courses are taxed at such low rates is because only idiots consider that use to be *improved* land..."

BC has an Agricultural Land Reserve (basically by in the 70s a socialist government looked at all the good agricultural land being turned into housing and strip malls and designated most of it as ALR which equates to no development upon allowed). Several golf courses were built afterwards on ALR land because they could in theory be turned back into pasture. Be nice to see a couple hundred head roaming those courses when they close.
posted by Mitheral at 7:15 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


#notallgolfers

Will that stop all of the, "I'm not rich, but I play golf," nonsense?


No, that sort of pat dismissal only works when you’re talking about people’s feelings. In this case some posters have been judging golf based on what they can see — country clubs and television. Painting a picture of how the other half lives is an attempt to help round out that view.

It’s just more information. You needn’t feel threatened.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:16 AM on June 10 [19 favorites]


Yeah so I work with a non-profit that helps justice-involved veterans get through the justice system, while offering them tons of support and access to the VA and stuff. Part of the process is providing money to them - i.e. paying for their alcohol/drug testing, gas cards to get to court or VA appointments, gift cards for grocery stores, rent assistance, paying some of their bills. Anything they need to get better, essentially.

All of this is handled by a non-profit arm that works with the courts to get these vets the support they need.

The most effective fundraiser we can do? A charity golf outing. Course charges 50 bucks a player. We charge the player a hundred bucks. Put 36 foursomes out there, and that's $7,200 we clear, just for the golf itself. Add in hole sponsors, various raffles, and a major sponsor, and we can directly provide about $15,000 to support veterans in need.

You won't see me kicking golf in the teeth.
posted by disclaimer at 7:19 AM on June 10 [10 favorites]


>>Who owns golf shoes?
>I think there are somewhere around 16 courses within an hour's
>drive of my home. All but 2 or 3 require golf shoes.


Well now we know which courses to save. :-)

Seriously though, my point about Salvation Army still applies.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:25 AM on June 10


A village course in Scotland (where the turf also grows naturally, unlike North America)

Pretty much every course east of the Missouri River can do fine on natural rainfall. It’s only the West that lacks the rain. The fact that most courses have watering systems is a function of competition and perceived value. Not actual need.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 7:31 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


And they're basically just huge lawns for rich people.
Exactly. Heck, I was explain to my kids as they help me rake our postage stamp of a lawn for mowing with the Weedwhacker, that lawns were just basically Bougie flaunting of wealth.
posted by tilde at 7:32 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Obviously there are too many golf courses, but 600 detached houses replacing a golf course is a failure.

brings to mind an acid trip from way back. We're wandering late at night through a nice suburban neighborhood -- everything neat and finely trimmed, gardens and lawns and occasional hedges, maybe a tiny park every half dozen blocks. My friend suddenly says, "Can you imagine how fabulous all of this would be if you sort of moved all the dwellings way closer to each other. Keep the basic square footage. But get rid of all the yards, except maybe little contained garden areas. Suddenly, there would be be acres and acres of room for not just parks and playing fields, but actual nature. Forests and marshes and watercourses or whatever. But nah, everybody needs their abruptly defined .35 acre piece. This is why I hate our culture ... " And so on, sideways into less interesting stuff ...
posted by philip-random at 7:33 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


That said, I agree that these dumb golf tournaments are one of the best ways to get money for charity lotta times.

We had some old golf equipment in our back shed when I was growing up, I wanted to be a caddy since I heard they make great tips got great connections, but aside from my parents being against it, the whole being a girl thing really worked against me. Definitely an old boys club back in the day. Only marginally less so now.
posted by tilde at 7:34 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Pretty much every course east of the Missouri River can do fine on natural rainfall. It’s only the West that lacks the rain. The fact that most courses have watering systems is a function of competition and perceived value. Not actual need.

Not in southern Ontario. Left to its own, or even watered occassionaly, grass here goes brown and scratchy. We don't even grow the same species of grass as in Britain. To maintain our golf courses as green - and they are always green - we need to constantly water them. The game doesn't work without good, British-style turf.

We have more water than southern California, of course. But the Great Lakes have been going down over time through agricultural and industrial usage.
posted by jb at 7:46 AM on June 10


When all the courses are gone; where are car less teenagers going to go do their drinking and smoking at?

My understanding is that the kids don't do much drinking or smoking these days, and when they do it's in their parents' basements.
posted by windykites at 7:50 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I've lived in my particular neighborhood since the turn of the century. When I moved here it was a dicey neighborhood complete with drug dealers obviously hanging at the local high school & prostitution. Somewhere along that time the state came up with a plan to renovate one of our local highways ( not too far away) and move it into a tunnel, with a park over top. The city run golf course was the perfect spot for a flood overflow. No one cared and the plan went through. Work has finally started.
In the intervening years the neighborhood has gentrified and new rich white people are in the area. We had a huge fight over this plan, our prescious "heritage" golf course must be saved!
So sorry rich folk, you didn't care when it was a poor neighborhood. Too late now. It's a very lovely dirt pile.
posted by evilDoug at 7:56 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]


I think that Orlop has a very good point, that modern expectations of child-rearing and family togetherness are a big part of what is killing off golf - and, for that matter, other expensive away-from-home hobbies (flying private planes is one I have heard mentioned), the "den" or study as adults-only space, and traditionally male clubs like Elks, Masons, etc.

I'm of the same generation and, while I remember going to the zoo and Children's Fairyland on some weekends (being an only child has advantages!), excursions like this were treats, not regular weekend occurrences. And dad did go off by himself to golf on some weekends, and mom would go off to do her own thing sometimes as well, and I'd get shuffled off to grandma's (which was fun!) or to a friend's for an overnight stay. And I remember being dragged along on all sorts of adult errands, not just grocery shopping but to doctor's appointments and what not. Bored? Entertain yourselves! And don't bother the adults!

That is now dead and gone among the middle class and up. Millennials seem to be shunning golf not because they're The Wokest Generation, but because many are now married/partnered and with families. It's deeply uncool for men to spend weekends on their hobbies and not with the spouse and kids. Same with women. Everyone is supposed to do "family" stuff like picnics and going to the zoo on weekends. Bye-bye, time-consuming adult hobbies!

I think this is a good thing - you should want to spend time with your spouse and kids, you chose to marry and have them, respectively! - and dads being family men instead of Don Draper is great. But obviously golf course owners might think differently.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:15 AM on June 10 [9 favorites]


I think most of the posters here will appreciate something in today's Sunday New York Times. I believe that for me to say more could be considered a spoiler.
posted by DanSachs at 8:33 AM on June 10


Getting rid of the large number of golf courses that have de facto exclusionary policies along any number of axes and/or are environmental and ecological disasters would still leave plenty for charity tournaments and the like. Replacing those courses with reclaimed land, affordable housing, or any of the other perfectly reasonable solutions other commenters have offered isn't a nefarious plot by coastal elites to Disrespect Our Troops or kill off the working class.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:34 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Golf probably isn’t coming back
I did need some good news.
posted by doctornemo at 8:48 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


There was a course in North Pittsburgh on Lowries Run Road that I used to drive past a lot on the way to a game store. I think it was about 10 years ago that it just didn't re-open one spring and last time (last year?) I went down there it was developing some wetland and decent tree coverage.

Problem was, the building stayed up. So for the first five years or so it just looked like reeeaaaaally depressed land with an even more depressed and dilapidated looking clubhouse that no one wanted to use. The clubhouse is partly obscured now from the road but I wish that had been bought and turned into a park or something and the clubhouse turned around into a community center.

If these places are let go, that's good. For the courses that are bordered by communities (like the one above is), just letting them grow wild probably isn't the best use.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:51 AM on June 10


I think most of the posters here will appreciate something in today's Sunday New York Times. I believe that for me to say more could be considered a spoiler.

Space golf?
posted by Artw at 8:52 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


This is what the former Highland Country Club north of Pittsburgh looks like now. They managed to make the housing even less dense than the surrounding suburban tracts. Plus, they're built by Ryan Homes who has a deservedly terrible quality reputation.
posted by octothorpe at 9:12 AM on June 10


The real solution is Urban Golf, truly urban golf. Here in San Francico, for many years, a group would specify a number of holes on city streets, usually in North Beach and Chinatown. Each hole would usually end in a bar. Drinking and swinging clubs on city streets, knocking whiffle golf balls here and there, surrounded by loads of befuddled tourists made for a truly San Francisco experience. And the only damage was probably to livers.
posted by njohnson23 at 9:15 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I always used to know when the flight to Phoenix was getting close to landing because the otherwise unbroken blue skies had clouds over the Camelback. These clouds are man-made, from all of the irrigation of Scottsdale's golf courses.
posted by scruss at 9:19 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


My (large, North American) city and its surrounds are already sufficiently served by golf courses (as well as football fields, soccer pitches, baseball diamonds, etc.).

What it desperately needs is cricket pitches. Every weekend, I cycle through the suburbs, and see young, mostly South Asian people set up in parking lots, random playing fields, or whatever open space they can find, playing cricket. Of course, these young people are non-white new Canadians (or the children of), so their needs are not exactly a priority (especially after the recent provincial election).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:26 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


when canada invades and occupies the US i hope they will turn all the extant american football fields into combo regular football and cricket pitches
posted by poffin boffin at 9:28 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


What it desperately needs is cricket pitches. Every weekend, I cycle through the suburbs, and see young, mostly South Asian people set up in parking lots, random playing fields, or whatever open space they can find, playing cricket. Of course, these young people are non-white new Canadians (or the children of), so their needs are not exactly a priority

Come to think of it, it's a bit odd that we don't have a cultural niche for cricket, given our relationship with the U.K.
posted by windykites at 9:39 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I don't care much for golf. I have terrible eye-hand coordination, am bad at judging distances, and am too impatient to stand in silence while someone else set up their swing or putt or whatever the hell it's called.

However, I do care about the fact that the older white men with power in my profession care quite a bit for golf, therefore, the younger white men with ambition will join country clubs and learn to play so they can go hang out with the boss on weekends.
posted by basalganglia at 9:40 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


But the bigger story involves the sport’s aging demographics and the athletic tastes of Millennials, who just aren’t that into an expensive, poky sport that provides few health benefits.

I've got it. Reformulate golf to be like Ski-Cross. A timed event, with all golfers on the course at the same time.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:50 AM on June 10


Are country clubs still a thing among the sort of people who can belong to country clubs? Where I grew up, golf was really associated with country clubs, which were private and exclusive (and racist and antisemitic, although they admitted just enough token members to deny it) and offered a range of different activities, which meant that parents could drop their kids off at the pool and then go play a round of golf. I'm actually sort of curious about how young people from the right social class view country clubs. Are country clubs are in the same kind of trouble that freestanding golf courses are?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:51 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


At first I was like SIGN ME UP but then I thought, why wait for the golf to stop before charging the field with a couple N-Strikes?!?

posted by Jpfed

Have you ever been hit by a golf ball???

Make sure you yell "Playing through!" and attack from behind.
posted by Jane the Brown at 10:09 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


For the courses that are bordered by communities (like the one above is), just letting them grow wild probably isn't the best use.

I disagree. Not every acre of land needs to be used. If there's a lack of housing, that's another story, but I'd actually prefer a woodland to a park.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:13 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of a real estate scam I read about a while ago but can't find right now. Developers in the 1990s and early 2000s would build a new golf course and mcmansions surrounding the course, with the course as a major selling point for the homes. They'd maintain the course for a few years or until most of the houses sold. Then they'd close down the course , claiming it was too expensive to operate. Does anyone else remember this being a thing or am i I misremembering?
posted by mcmile at 10:17 AM on June 10


Our house backs onto a golf course. Each summer we harvest two or three golf balls from the back yard, although we haven’t had a window broken in maybe twenty years. Couple years back, I found about three-fifths of a Titleist back there. I am sure I could make time to hear what happened with that ball, and where the rest of it wound up.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:27 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


If you want a mashup of two places where golf courses shouldn't exist for a whole bunch of sound ecological reasons, check out the Arizona Golf Resort in Saudi Arabia.

Our house backs onto a golf course. Each summer we harvest two or three golf balls from the back yard, although we haven’t had a window broken in maybe twenty years. Couple years back, I found about three-fifths of a Titleist back there. I am sure I could make time to hear what happened with that ball, and where the rest of it wound up.

That's why they call it a "slice."

*rimshot*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:28 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much the "death of golf courses" is a combination of

* Boomers are aging out, no longer able to play, or no longer have the resources to do so;

* Gen-Xers are a much smaller crowd, and less interested in general: they're not rushing in to fill the gaps left by Boomers who drop away from the game;

* Millennials, who now outnumber Boomers, are pretty much broke. It doesn't matter if there is "cheap golf" available; cheap golf is still several hundred dollars and a whole lot of hours away from work and family to get started. Probably requires a car. Oh, and the hobby/sport is crowded with Boomers, and the president loves it.

So: general attrition, with Millennials again being accused of "killing" something by not taking up their grandparents' habits, because those grandparents failed to persuade their children that the habit was a vitally important thing to do.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:53 AM on June 10 [8 favorites]


Once you reach the half century mark, you realize how goddamned much of the time golf was on TV in the seventies. That and bowling…

I'm old enough to remember Bowling for Dollars, but young enough that I was too little to realize how dull it was. We were a multigenerational bowling family, though, so I probably got more out of than most preschoolers.

Bowling is more of the fun-stuff-to-do-while-drinking category. Fun to do, not so much to watch.
And it's relatively cheap to do and the rules are pretty simple.
Golf is expensive, slow and boring.


I'm not saying I've ever been out drunk-driving golf carts, but I'm not not saying I've never not drunk-driven a golf cart. Wheee!

Lots of places, like Arizona, make bak on old, white people who play golf. ...how many places prosper almost solely from golf tourism...? A lot.

I remember standing at the luggage carousel the first time I went to Las Vegas, and all these tall, skinny, hard-sided, black cases kept coming out. They looked like Skyline display cases, but none of them had the Skyline logo. It was only after I saw one guy open his and check the contents that I realized they were travel cases for golf clubs!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at all the sweeping generalizations in this thread. But as a long-time public course hacker, I can safely say not all (Hell, likely most) golfers aren't stuffy, PGA Tour wannabes or Judge Smails types wearing plus fours.

Our county public course is right across the road from our private, university-owned course. The public course is scruffier-looking, but certainly more welcoming! However, there was no public course where I grew up.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:54 AM on June 10




No, that sort of pat dismissal only works when you’re talking about people’s feelings.

Talk about dismissive. This isn't about feelings. This is about privilege.

It’s just more information. You needn’t feel threatened.

I'm not threatened and it's not "just more information". It's sea-lioning in response to fragility about golf being a privileged sport.
posted by Revvy at 11:35 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


Space golf?

Note that while the title is The Rich Are Planning to Leave This Wretched Planet, the URL slug was originally https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/06/09/style/pigs-in-spaaaaaace.html. While that link still works, they have quietly redirected it to the anodyne https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/09/style/axiom-space-travel.html.
posted by zamboni at 11:55 AM on June 10 [15 favorites]


Denver Country Club won't grant any sort of easement to allow the Cherry Creek Regional Trail to pass through the enormous expanse of Denver real estate they take up, so for the entire stretch of trail going around the club, people on bicycle or foot are required to use a too-narrow sidewalk about a foot and a half from speeding cars. They're also really slow about trimming all the shrubs and trees that grow into the trail (narrowing it dangerously), and often just point their sprinklers at the trail, dousing hapless non-club-members just trying to get from point A to point B. People die at the intersection of 1st Ave and Gilpin St, the only place in the city where the trail can be crossed in a car, a crossing that only exists to serve Denver Country Club.

I'm pretty much ready on a moment's notice to bring out the torches and pitchforks and sledgehammers to tear that wall down, because fuck Denver Country Club and its $100k+ initiation fees and its high walls and no-trespassing signs. The club only pays about a third of one member's initiation fee in annual property taxes for the parcels that include parts of Cherry Creek. That's not anything like enough to offset the disruption and danger the club's presence creates on the most heavily-used bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure in the state.
posted by asperity at 12:31 PM on June 10 [31 favorites]


Come to think of it, it's a bit odd that we don't have a cultural niche for cricket, given our relationship with the U.K.

Presumably there's only room for one bat-and-ball game, and baseball has that filled.
posted by acb at 2:33 PM on June 10


Pittsburgh has a public course right in the middle of the city. It abuts a very large forest park on one side and Carnegie Mellon's campus on the other. People feel pretty free to just walk right through it to get where they're going (there's a road through it too, that you have to hit your balls over on some holes). They recently put in a bunch of bioswales and other sustainable land stewardship thingies. I can get behind that. It's on insanely expensive land, so if it went into private hands, it'd be houses or university buildings in a nanosecond.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:46 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Bowling is decidedly working class, and fun, plus beer and onion rings. Srsly, any activity where you can borrow the shoes is not for the wealthy.
Golf is for the rich, mostly, with some municipal courses. But you still have to have clubs and probably shoes. Skiing is even more expensive. So these are good places to meet and hang with rich people.

I hate the environmental cost, and the whole business of lush green courses in the desert, sucking up water, which is part of the allure for some wealthy folk.

I've known people who really love it. It requires skill to do well, and I won't argue whether it's a sport.

So you have towns with a big green space that needs to be re-purposed. Preserving that green space would be really smart, a good long term move in many communities, but, yeah, it's gonna get developed into the highest-profit option. Especially golf courses, because old, white, conservative money-grubbing course owners. (sorry, people who love it)
posted by theora55 at 3:57 PM on June 10


Oh boy. I'm reminded of the fight Virginia just had on taxing the two Arlington golf courses a little bit more.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:58 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I guess I shouldn't be surprised at all the sweeping generalizations in this thread. But as a long-time public course hacker, I can safely say not all (Hell, likely most) golfers aren't stuffy, PGA Tour wannabes or Judge Smails types wearing plus fours.

Hell, I'd be more into golf if there were more plus fours worn!

Actually, apart from all the environmental, societal, financial, political, race, gender, aesthetic, and substance abuse issues — golf is pretty great.
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:09 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I personally am happy that golf is a thing that exists. I'm also happy that many of the courses here in South Florida are going away. I'm not happy that they are being packed full of suburban housing.

Thing is, it's not the courses with million dollar plus homes abutting them that are going away, it's the obligatory course or two that was built with every phase of some 10,000 acre retirement community in the 70s and 80s that are being paved over. In that way I'm becoming convinced that the trend is not as positive as I used to believe. It annoyed me that there were three separate courses within a mile of Georgia's parents' house, but now I'm annoyed that the two that went away were the ones that weren't pretentious and the one that remains is the one chock full of assholes that has a dress code and a steep membership buy-in. Never mind that it's been 20 or 30 years since they've had a PGA event and they should really get over themselves.

The only reason I'm not sad about losing some of the very little open space that incidentally gives the water constantly falling from the sky somewhere to go that doesn't flood permanent structures is that at least the retirement communities that owned them got enough money to cover condo association expenses for the next 30 years out of the sales, which will make them more affordable to current retirees and allow them to have more frequent non-golf events for residents, many of whom depend on that sort of thing to keep active.

The point being that there's a lot more to the subject than golf courses always being a nuisance. It actually pleased me that the last city I lived in had several public courses that were well used. A bit of everything for everyone is a good thing in terms of community-provided activities as far as I'm concerned. Maybe I won't use a skate park or a golf course, just like some people find no use for dog parks. That's perfectly ok with me.
posted by wierdo at 4:40 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]


Did I miss a comment about disc golf?
posted by notreally at 4:44 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I hope they keep one or two golf courses, just so that we can have these increasingly exotic relics of a bygone age, like 1920s steam liners or something. Once they're the only ones left, the facilities should be demodernised, and remodelled in an authentic mid-20th-century style, and a day out at the golf course can involve dressing up in (some approximation of) historical costume, with period-appropriate entertainment laid on (perhaps some Sinatraesque crooner fronting a big band or something). Hitting a small ball into a hole can be secondary to the immersive historical experience.
posted by acb at 4:53 PM on June 10


Harpo Marx lived in one of those developments that was part residential, part golf course. (Several of the brothers were instrumental in starting the first country clubs in the area that allowed Jews to join.) He used to get up early and stroll from his yard to the course so he could get in a game naked before anyone else showed up.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:04 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


I love golf courses because you find a lot of kangaroos there, just chilling out. Don't know what the attraction is if you live in a country where they don't have kangaroos. I guess you get moose or something.
posted by daybeforetheday at 5:27 PM on June 10 [9 favorites]


I'm right there with you asperity The DCC is on my ride home. I always hate that part of the ride.
posted by evilDoug at 6:01 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]




Atlanta has a few, beloved public golf courses. One of them, in Candler Park, has allowed the beavers to colonize the stream and turn what was once a degraded mess of algal blooms and death into wetlands

I lived right by there for years, and I have always regretted not picking up some old clubs and giving it a try. I loved that neighborhood; it was still affordable for slackers, in my day, and I spent some of the happiest years of my life there.
posted by thelonius at 6:37 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Millenials:getting rid of golf by not playing
Boomers: getting rid of Skiing by catestrophically heating the planet with their pollution.
Gen X: turning against football for concussions

Finally, ultimate frisbee has the opening it deserves... oh who am i kidding.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 7:02 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]


The mountain biking paradise of my youth, just a few minutes from where I still live, got developed into a golf course, back in the mid-90s...

I would like nothing better than to see that place revert to some semblance of what it used to be...but, maybe with a disc golf course & a gym, in the clubhouse building...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 7:27 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I love golf courses because you find a lot of kangaroos there, just chilling out. Don't know what the attraction is if you live in a country where they don't have kangaroos. I guess you get moose or something.

Close. We get beavers.

No, really.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 7:31 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


It just occurred to me that the house I'm sitting in right now is on land that used to be a golf course. Up until the mid-40's this whole neighborhood was a private golf course, then redeveloped in Pittsburgh's post-war boomtime. So at least in this case it was the baby boom that killed a golf course.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:34 PM on June 10 [7 favorites]


I guess you get moose or something.

Close. We get beavers.


Wild Bill Murrays.
posted by Artw at 7:41 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I think most of the posters here will appreciate something in today's Sunday New York Times. I believe that for me to say more could be considered a spoiler.

So no one here does the acrostic in the Magazine?
posted by DanSachs at 8:32 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Count me in as one who doesn't have any problems with the sport of golf, per se. What I do have substantial problems with is the private and exclusionary ownership of huge swaths of urban land. I grew up in a rural area, with a handful of golf courses around. Who cares? Everything else is just woods and pasture, and in Washington State, I'm sure irrigation was not as big an issue as it is in the Southwest.

But now I live in Seattle, and there are three private clubs/courses with housing here. This is one of the most housing-starved cities in the country; our homeless population looks like Chicago, and something over 70 percent of the city is ruled by single-family low-density NIMBYs. So with that context, Sand Point Country Club and Broadmoor Country Club seem a little more offensive.

Broadmoor, being right in the middle of the city, has a really ugly history of racial discrimination and all the things. It's hedged in by giant walls with obvious barbed wire, it's guarded and gated, and through business I have met a number of current and former owners. They have been (and sure, #notall1%s) pretty ugly people to my thinking. They have told me about their feelings on density and racial integration in no uncertain terms, and in at least one case unsolicited.

Some baseball players are going to be assholes. Some soccer players are going to be elitist racists. Not all, or perhaps many, golfers are going to be these things. But private golf courses in the middle of a city or urban area are fundamentally anti-urban; the idea that an entire neighborhood should be fenced off to prevent people like me from entering and spoiling their pastoral role playing. They are fundamentally declaring that they wish to take advantage of our space while sharing none of their own.

Good cities rely on shared spaces and mixed uses. Central Park is many things to many people: all are welcome, and everyone thinks of Central Park a little differently. Broadmoor is one thing to a small number of people. I'd rather they opened up to the public, so we can all share this green space, or that the NIMBYs would all go form Galt's Gulch and leave the city to those of us who'd like to work together to live better lives.
posted by skookumsaurus rex at 8:51 PM on June 10 [17 favorites]


asperity: "Denver Country Club won't grant any sort of easement to allow the Cherry Creek Regional Trail to pass through the enormous expanse of Denver real estate they take up, so for the entire stretch of trail going around the club, people on bicycle or foot are required to use a too-narrow sidewalk about a foot and a half from speeding cars.."

This is the sort of thing eminent domain should be applied to. At least to carve off enough land to increase the sidewalk to 5m wide.
posted by Mitheral at 9:40 PM on June 10 [7 favorites]


Perhaps Golf will shrink back to where it came from - that sandy, scrubby bit of land edging the sea in Scotland. It really is not much use for any other human activity (wildlife loves it though). However even there, there is a need for the golf industry to try turn it into a version of south California.

Also, I thought, "I don't remember all that much bowling on TV in the 70's". I didn't realise you meant that kind of bowling - I was thinking of Lawn Bowls...
posted by TwelveNoteRow at 2:46 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


The game doesn't work without good, British-style turf.

This is simply not true. In my youth, I played on a lot of public courses in South East Asia, and let me assure you that not one of them had anything but the local, wide-bladed, rough grass variant. Courses were fine. Maybe some Miami private links wanker would complain, but it played fine.

That you Americans choose to do the stupid thing with the grass doesn't mean it's necessary.
posted by Dysk at 3:18 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Broadmoor, being right in the middle of the city, has a really ugly history of racial discrimination and all the things. It's hedged in by giant walls with obvious barbed wire

And it's not even the most infamous high-security facility by that name.
posted by acb at 4:29 AM on June 11


I'll step up and say that building golf courses where necessary natural resources are limited and that there are better uses of the lands involved, screw them. They shouldn't have been built in the first place. But the idea that suddenly, the land will get put to a 'best case' use is simplistic.

I don't really have a good idea why I began playing in the first place. It was when I was 10-11 in rural Texas in a very poor family. As other's have shared, I literally stomped through the mud in the water hazards at the local muni course to get golf balls. I don't think I had a proper, unbroken tee for years after I began. I also had the additional indignity of being severely left handed, thus used the shittiest old leftie rentals to hack my way around.

There were maybe two private clubs in our community. I never played them. Never had a chance at a look in. Never even wanted to if it was offered.

Fast way forward. I've had the privilege to play golf around the world on almost every type of turf and circumstance. Many, many countries manage course builds so much better than in the USA in general. In addition to Kangaroos, Wombats, Browns, Tigers, Kookaburras, etc, thanks to the care of the waterways, the club I've been a member of for a long time (another story) has an active population of platypus that didn't exist before.

I haven't been able to play for several years due to health issues. I miss it. I miss being a part of a community of women golfers with over a 100 year history of competitive women's match play and pennant.

Yes, there are lots of conservative, racist, older white assholes. I don't like that aspect of the community at all. On the other hand, there's the large lesbian community that are just about as active, and a hell of a lot more fun.

Golf can be egalitarian and environmental. It still takes a large time commitment, which is a problem in itself. But, don't write it off because of the toxic tone it inhabits in the USA.
posted by michswiss at 4:46 AM on June 11 [12 favorites]


Good. Kills trees, poisons water, wastes space that could be used for parks, exercise and nice walks.
posted by eustatic at 7:01 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


I think I qualify as a boomer (I was born in 1960), and I don't particularly care whether golf dies out. But that might be because I was always really, really bad at it, not because I think it's evil.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 8:09 AM on June 11


now I'm annoyed that the two that went away were the ones that weren't pretentious and the one that remains is the one chock full of assholes that has a dress code and a steep membership buy-in.

That was sorta my thought reading the thread - the kind of golf one really would prefer to go away is probably the last kind that will hold on.
posted by atoxyl at 9:00 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


the root basics of golf are, I believe, eternal.

Yonder is a small hole with whatever landscape distractions and hazards between you and it. In front of you is a small ball (or perhaps rounded rock). You have a selection of clubs or sticks or whatever with which to hit the ball (or perhaps rounded rock). How few hits do you think it will take to get the ball (or perhaps rounded rock) into the hole? And do you think you can do it better than I can? Whoever loses buys the drinks.

you probably don't even need the hole or the small ball (or whatever), or even the hitting devices. You just need a distant target and a small thing you're aiming to hit it with in as few tries as possible. The loser still buys the drinks.
posted by philip-random at 9:13 AM on June 11


Wild Bill Murrays.

Bills Murray, surely.
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:24 AM on June 11 [10 favorites]


We went through this (referring to the first link) with a local course while I was on the planning commission. The neighbors were indeed very unhappy. In our case, the land is being converted into a care facility for sufferers of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

The most important lesson I learned as a commissioner was land use is not forever. In this case, what was a golf course when you purchased your home might not always be a golf course. Large, open spaces, such as golf courses, are particularly likely to change over time. This is a strong argument, to me, for buying within the built-out environment. It's not perfectly stable, but definitely more so than the wide open spaces of the suburbs.
posted by emdeesee at 11:26 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: the whole thing is still primarily an alcohol infused walk with friends
posted by kirkaracha at 12:25 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


I know what will save all these golf courses: Footgolf!
posted by box at 2:53 PM on June 11


So what are our thoughts on Army-Navy CC in Arlington? Surely the military should be able to relax a bit on the links?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:59 PM on June 11


On a quasi-related note, I called the Sirius XM people yesterday to update my credit card info. I noticed that on the most recent e-mail they sent me (on Sunday) there was an offer: “plus, update your payment method and get your next 6 months of Sirius Select for just $30!”

It turned out that, as three different CSRs from Sirius explained to me, this offer was only available to first-time customers, so it hinges on some idiosyncratic definitions of the words “update” and “next.”

The Customer Retention specialist tried to sweeten the deal by offering me a bonus package of sports channels “so you could listen to baseball, hockey, golf...” Notwithstanding that I have precious little interest in even watching sports, who the grunting fuck listens to satellite radio broadcasts of golf?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:14 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Save space by combining golf courses and cemeteries.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:35 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Dibs on the windmill tombstone.
posted by asperity at 2:38 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


The Beavers saved Candler Park golf course. Before the Beavers, I thought the place a waste of good city resources. Now I defend the public golf course because I want the beavers left alone. I will put up with the occasional golf ball hitting a car parked at the elementary school if Beavers are being left alone to do their thing.
posted by EinAtlanta at 4:05 PM on June 13


Public golf courses seem like a reasonably good thing, if they're not horribly wrong for the local environment: land preserved for not-housing; attached to a sport/hobby that involves moving around; doesn't require extreme fitness to play; can use the terrain for picnics or whatever. (The town I grew up in had a public golf course, no fences or other borders; it took me a long time to realize that most golf courses weren't arranged so that anyone could just walk through them.)

Private country-club golf courses seem like the worst kind of rich-white-dude privilege. It's a real shame that if "golf is dying," those aren't the courses that are going to vanish first.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:20 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


My town had a little 9 hole course at the end of the island devoted to sports complex (multi sheet hockey complex; lawn bowling; various sizes of baseball fields; soccer fields; tennis; curling; skateboard park; etc. and a multipurpose path circling the whole thing with interval training stops and areas devoted to wildlife enhancement). It closed last year and there is currently a big process ongoing to figure out what to do with it. One of the proposals is to basically keep maintaining it as is because it turns out to be a very popular clandestine location for group/wedding/portrait photography.
posted by Mitheral at 10:32 PM on June 13


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