Time-tested golf humor

Contributing Columnist

Golf is competitive in nature, but aside from the tour, don’t take it or yourself too seriously. The time spent on the course should relieve you of all you worldly problems, albeit for just a few hours. Hitting that little, elusive white ball should command all your consciousness to the exclusivity of all your thoughts, especially the worrisome ones.

That being said, I am going to devote this column to humor, which is essential to the game. To this end, here are a few sayings I have come across through the years:

• Robert Browning: “There are three ways of learning golf: by study, which is the most wearisome; by imitation, which is the most fallacious; and by experience, which is the most bitter.”

• Anonymous: “In prehistoric times, cavemen had a custom of beating the ground with clubs and uttering spine-chilling cries. Anthropologists call this a form of self-expression. When modern men go through the same ritual, they call it golf.”

• Bob Hope: “If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play at it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.”

• George Dillon: “Real golfers go to work to relax.”

• Winston Churchill: “Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.”

• Anonymous: “My handicap? Woods and irons.”

• Henry Beard: “Practice tee: The place where golfers go to convert a nasty hook into a wicked slice.”

• Tommy Bolt: “Golf is a game where guts, stick-to-itiveness and blind devotion will always net you absolutely nothing but an ulcer.”

• Mark Twain: “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

• Paul Harvey: “Golf is a game in which you yell fore, shoot six, and write down five.”

• Bob Hope: “OK, what’s wrong with my game?”

• Arnold Palmer: “If you’re talking about golf, that’s not your game.”

• P.G. Wodehouse: “He enjoys the perfect peace, that peace beyond all understanding, which comes at its maximum only to the man who has given up golf.”

• Harvey Penick used to tell the story of the four University of Texas players getting ready to play a round of golf. They were discussing whether to play “winter” rules or “summer” rules. They asked Harvey Penick, their coach, “What did you think, Coach?” He replied, “Well, you boys can go play golf. Or else you can make up some other game and go play that, instead.” They understood his meaning. In the game of golf, the ball is played as you find it.

• Mark Twain: “It’s good sportsmanship not to pick up lost balls while they are still rolling.”

• Anonymous: “Is my good friend in the bunker or is the S.O.B. on the green?”

• Herbert Warren Wind: “Beyond the fact that it is a limitless arena for the full play of human nature, there is no sure accounting for golf’s fascination. Obviously yet mysteriously, it furnishes its devotees with an intense, many-sided and abiding pleasure unlike that which any other form of recreation affords. Perhaps it is, as Andrew Carnegie once claimed, an ‘indispensable adjunct of high civilization.’ Perhaps it is nothing more than the best game man has ever devised.”

Click here for all of Hal Lenobel’s Tee Time columns.

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