Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Top Ten Changes to the Game of Golf that Should Happen Before I will Consider It a Sport, In Ascending Order of Necessity

by Klondike, 2007 KankaNation Laetare Recipient

#10: Uniforms. You should be able to look at a golfer without risk of seizures, queasiness, or other physical maladies.

#9: No more caddies. The golfer will need to carry his own clubs. A quiver arrangement would probably be the coolest looking. But anything else, like a hip sheath, would also be acceptable.

Of course, #9 is maybe the least likely to happen. We'll never sell any of these changes if we can't convince the Caddy Mafia. For those caddies out there who now want me "whacked" for #9, please ignore #9 and accept #8.

#8: "Caddy" is now another position on the golf "team". In addition to carrying the clubs and keeping up with the golfer, the caddy will be in charge of all defensive maneuvers. If the golfer is the equivalent of a quarterback, the caddy will now be something of a defensive back.

#7: Timed games. You can time the whole course, but I would think timing each hole would be more flexible. The best competitions always have a sense of energy, of urgency. People will watch chess if it's timed. (Note: Baseball could also benefit from a clock, but this isn't my baseball rant.)

#6: Mascots. At least at the professional level. If you go with #8 you'll have a team, and all sports teams have mascots. If you go with #9, you'll have plenty of former caddies who could immediately fill your new mascot positions.

#5: More Hazard Types. All right, we've got sand traps and we've got water traps. That's a good start, but it gets monotonous. I'm not saying we have to go totally miniature-golf at a macro level, but how about some hedges on the fairway? Or mud pits? They can be hazards for the golfer, too. Remember, time is now a factor. Crank up the fog machine. Put up some hurdles.

Okay, #5 may be too much of a departure. But if you discount #5, you'll have to go with #4.

#4: More Existing Hazard Types. Break up that fairway with a few more sand traps. Get some streams running through the fairway, deep enough to give the golfer a struggle as he hurries to the next shot but not so much that you have to caulk the wagon and float it across.

#3: Cheerleaders.

#2: Similar to #7 but more important; There needs to be a shot clock. If you regularly hit the ball two-hundred-fifty yards, you'd better be able to run two-hundred-fifty yards in under a minute. Or thirty seconds. Or however long it takes an average person to run two-hundred-fifty yards and still have a chance of lining up the next shot.

#1: Defense. A sport cannot be a sport without defense. Let your opponent get to putt your ball away after every one of your shots. Maybe your opponent gets to place a hazard. Maybe your opponent's caddy/defensive back tries to block you while you run to place your next shot. Something has to be in place that allows your opponent to directly, tangibly, and significantly affect your game. Otherwise, it's only ever going to be an activity and never a sport.

All the best.