January 13, 2006
TigerHawk is a self-described business executive living in New Jersey, and he posted this bold allegation:
“I think that golf is our most destructive sport. My reasons are legion. If you don’t agree, it is because you haven’t thought about it enough.”
I’ll give him points for being provocative. Otherwise I’d strongly disagree with his underlying assumption that golf is a destructive sport in the first place. I also wonder what other sports Tigerhawk considers destructive, so that a useful comparison could be made.
Some web commenters made their own counterproposals, including my two favorite suggestions, grenade-fishing (if done right) and Russian Roulette with semi-automatic pistols.
However, I thought I’d respond by identifying a few of the constructive elements of modern-day golf, especially here in the Cape Region.
For example, the total number of municipal and daily-fee public access golf courses is now well past the total number of private clubs in the United States, according to the National Golf Foundation. The sport’s growth in the last sixty years or so largely eliminated the old notion that golf is a recreational hallmark of the upper classes. By comparison, sports such as polo and squash have a long way to go to catch up to golf’s democratization.
There are several reasonably-priced opportunities to play golf in the Cape Region. In addition to inexpensive public courses such as Old Landing, The Rookery, and the Midway Par-3, the membership costs at nearby Sussex Pines CC in Georgetown and Shawnee CC in Milford are remarkably low. When I was president of Shawnee, new members who moved to Delaware from other states would frequently rhapsodize about how inexpensive golf was in the Cape Region, compared to their former residences.
If the cost of golf is what fries TigerHawk, he simply needs to move down. If he’s interested in an upscale golf experience, several opportunities are also here, such as Kings Creek CC and Rehoboth Beach CC—or, he could pay full price for a prime summer time-slot at Baywood Greens.
The notion that golf courses are environmentally destructive is also a favorite among anti-golf types. That doesn’t make it true–it’s just a favorite.
If these folks talked to Cape Region course superintendents, they would quickly be set straight. For example, Ed Brown at Rehoboth Beach CC is deeply involved in the Audubon Society’s Cooperative Sanctuary System. He can go on at length about what his club has been able to do to enhance wildlife habitat. RBCC has every right to be proud of that effort.
If that’s not enough, go over to The Rookery and see what Chris Adkins has done to trap flying insects, instead of relying totally on insecticides. The ingenious little black boxes really work, and are used at other courses on Delmarva.
Anti-golf folks don’t seem to appreciate that greenskeepers and golf courses have good reasons to minimize the use of potentially harmful chemicals, while caring for their acreage. These superintendents are in a position to act like rational environmentalists, and do.
Sometimes golf’s environmental benefits are built into the original design. For example, the golf course at Kings Creek CC largely used the low-lying acreage on the old farmstead that would have been marginally useful for homesites, if at all. That’s a common practice in golf/real estate developments, and it’s hard to see what’s so destructive about that approach to land use planning.
It may also explain why one of the Cape Region’s bald eagle nests sits high in the trees between two fairways at Kings Creek.
It may be true that “A golf course is a waste of a perfectly good rifle range,” as another commenter wrote. On the other hand, I suggest that the number of golfers actually outnumbers those desperate to check out their sharpshooting skills.
Therefore, considering the other alternatives for the acres involved, I respectfully submit that our Cape Region golf courses are far more beneficial than harmful.