Royalty, Peasants and Golf
Made out of plastic and rubber, the golf ball resembles an egg. The club is made of graphite or steel and rubber. All of it is a lifeless matter, yet the stick swings at such a high speed that causes the ball to take a flight to hundreds of yards. Only for a brief moment, both the stick and ball become alive. It is almost as if the life in the human hand and thought in the human mind gets translated into the club and then into the ball. It’s a continuous process of movement and idleness. Science calls it a shift of energy, players call it a sport. The game is an activity that cannot be transmitted into these lines through still words. It is an act to operate something. The action presents life and stillness represents lifelessness. The living motivates growth and the dead adds to debris.
Some lead a deathlike life, a few live in deadly conditions. Some give in to the hardships of life while others stand firm to face all odds. Some commit suicide and others kill to live longer. Some are dead men walking, others are crippled but running. It’s not only the breath that is proof of our existence. It is the celebration of life that matters. Ultimately, hard work is the best way to relish life. One of the lighter ways to appreciate life is to play golf.
Humans tend to complicate things in pursuit of perfection. Golf was invented by the colts of Scotland. By the fifteenth century, to keep the spirit of competition warm in the cold environment, the open, vast, and lush valleys invited the wool worn and restless hillside youth to come out of their smoky dungeons and play. They found plenty of the bent wooden sticks from the Scot fields and pebbles from the Eastern beaches. They began to hit those round stones over the sand dunes and ponds to a pinned point. Thus golf comes into being. Men played many games with sticks. Ancient Romans played with bent sticks and stuffed leather balls. Punjabis played with a straight stick and a small wooden ball-like straight object called ‘Guli Danda.’
Later on in Scotland, royals became interested in the game of golf and declared it a glorified sport. Kings have the tendency to transgress simple matters into a complex and expensive affair. Royals or vagabond thrill and beauty thrives them alike. The landscape of Scotland provided beauty, thrill, and chill while golf added more excitement.
Wherever on this Earth, a peasant locates a piece of the valley that can be cultivated while the rich always find a law that helps him to own that land. The same happened to their game of golf. The peasants became caddies and royalty became the player. The colonial-era introduced it across the continents. And later on, capitalism transcribed it as a commercial sport of the elite. For centuries this game entertained the rich and provided dough for the poor. The invention of Scottish youth opened new avenues of employment for them though, Coach, caddie, gardener, carpenter, blacksmith, the tailors, cloth merchants, and many others got opportunities to earn more.
First Wille Anderson, then Arnold Palmer, and now Tiger Woods and many other enthusiasts like them helped to bring golf back to the spheres of its original owners, the common men. Now golf is accessible to all. It is an industry worth billions of dollars. People like Nick Faldo are trying their best to take the game to the doorsteps of the communities that otherwise can not reach a window of opportunity. His work witnesses his love and contributions to golf and golfers.
Poverty produces innovation and richness promotes luxury. Needs breed invention and knowledge springs comfort. Practice creates improvement and hard work nurtures perfection. If we multiply all of the above it surmounts to greatness. That is how golf ascended from the dunes of eastern Scotland to the top destinations at all corners of the world. What a journey from a pebble to expensive balls like Titleist Pro V1 and what an improvement from brentwood to golf clubs by Ping etc. The designs of golf resorts and the engineering and ambiance of the golf courses speak volumes of human progress. Humans’ capacity to improve, change, innovate, and invent may soon take us to golf courses on the far-flung stars within or beyond our universe.
Golfer, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Author, Poet, Wanderer, photographer