The United States Golf Association and The United States Constitution
The United States Golf Association and The United States Constitution
The following is dedicated to President Barack Hussein Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid
and all those members of this current administration who break all the rules they can every chance they get.
Golf is to some the greatest game ever invented by man. To others, it’s a really stupid game. You hit a ball with a stick and then go chase it and hit it again. Your goal is to knock that stupid little ball into a hole that is far away in as few shots as possible. Could anything be dumber? The ball isn’t moving when you hit it and nobody is making any noise trying to disturb you. You can take your time and when you are absolutely ready you simply swing the stick and try to hit the ball “out there” somewhere toward the hole. Out there somewhere can be around 300 yards away and the only way you can hit another shot is to walk 300 yards, find your ball and hit it again, and again and again until you knock it in a rather small hole that isn’t much bigger than the ball. The pleasure comes from doing it right. It isn’t as easy as it looks and when you do get right, it feels rather good. In fact, there almost isn’t a feeling at all. It’s a pure rush to hit the ball perfect and then watch it soar toward the place where you aimed it. This doesn’t happen very often to even the best of players so you can imagine how often it happens to those of us with much less skill. Yet, we go out and play as often as we can all the while just trying to get it right. You can play golf for 50 years and still have no clue as to how to get it right. There are as many ways to swing that stick, as there are golfers. The way you hold onto the implement is up to you. Some say there are several recommended ways that will generally give you the best results more of the time but yet there is no one way you have to do it. The way you stand is up to you also. You can place your feet and body in any position you like or that is most comfortable. You can even wear special shoes just made for golf that help prevent your feet from slipping. There’s even a special glove to make it easier to hold on to the club while you swing it. The stick is actually called a golf club and it’s now designed by scientists and engineers to make your efforts more productive. The new clubs are designed in such a way as to help the ball get air born and travel the greatest distance possible for the amount of force applied. The balls are also a scientific miracle. The sticks and balls were originally so primitive it’s a wonder people had any kind of fun. The original stick was actually a Sheppard’s staff which he used to control his flock of sheep and the original ball was a rock. The hole was something dug by a rabbit or gopher. The equipment these days is simply wonderful and yet the game still remains very hard to play well. The original golf course was nothing more than pasture land. It was as natural as God made it. Today golf architects design golf courses and there is so much science and engineering that goes into making a great golf course it’s mind blowing. The architect is presented with a plot of land to work with and he sculpts out a creation that is like a work of art. The course is designed to be fun, challenging and beautiful all at the same time. The tees, fairways, bunkers and green are manicured to perfection. Even with all of this the simple game is still hard.
Now you’d think a simple but hard game should have little or no rules but golf is a game of contrary. It looks simple but it is hard to play well. The rules should seem simple but yet they are complex. The most important thing in golf is honor. It doesn’t matter what score you shoot but it does matter how honorably you played. You are supposed to, while on the golf course; follow all the rules to the letter. In golf, that can be a monstrous task because there are so many rules. When you do break a rule, it is expected that you call a penalty of one or more strokes on yourself. If your opponent sees that you broke a rule, he will advise you so. If you did break that rule, you will incur the penalty. It’s usually one stroke but sometimes it can be more. If you break a rule and nobody sees you do it, you STILL CALL THE PENALTY on yourself. Think about that last statement! It’s the only game where this takes place. Some of these rules are just downright silly and we golfers know this but yet we do follow the rules because that’s what golfers do. Cheating in golf is about as low as it gets. For example, if your ball is on the green and you are getting ready to putt and you have addressed the ball by grounding your putter behind the ball and you see the ball move a thousandth of an inch due to the wind but nobody else sees it, it is expected that you call a penalty of one stroke on yourself. Is that fair? No. But, those are the rules. We all do it. There are tens if not hundreds of crazy rules like this but we follow them all. We play the game honorably and we call penalties on ourselves when we break the rules, knowingly or otherwise. There are times when we actually lose a match or competition because of some stupid rule that we called on ourselves.
What’s my point with all of this? Why all this talk about golf and rules? What’s so important about golf?
Golf is life. Golf is what life should be. Golf is what life can be. Golf is a journey from the very beginning all the way to the end. It is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, good breaks and bad breaks and at no time do you not play fairly and by the rules. You don’t even think about it. You just do it. You play the game fairly because it’s the right way to play the game. You deal with adversities and sometimes you overcome them and sometimes you don’t. You’re judged on how well you dealt with these adversities and your score reflects exactly that. You know in your heart if you’ve played well and have done your best. Sometimes you go play and your score doesn’t reflect your skill level and sometimes it does. Sound familiar? That’s golf. That’s life.
The USGA (United States Golf Association) is responsible for writing and interpreting the rules of golf. Those rules are “our Constitution” when we are on the golf course. We live, and die by those rules because we believe in them and we believe in the spirit of the game. It’s just a game. It is just golf and it is no big deal. We play for fun and yet we do take it seriously. We’d rather lose than cheat. When we make a mistake, we tell others even if they didn’t see us do it. The scale of importance of our golf game in the big scheme of things is almost non-existent. Yet, the other game we all play, the game of life, we don’t play by the rules. Our leaders, with whom we’ve entrusted our lives, lie, cheat and steal every chance they get. Is a game of golf more important than the game of life? I think not. I think when you have been selected to represent other people, there is nothing MORE IMPORTANT than playing by the rules and playing “the game” fairly. Lying, cheating and stealing are not things we do on our journey through life. When our elected officials do it, their behavior affects all of us. They are the role models who we’ve chosen to represent our values and us. Should they not play by the rules all the time? When they make a mistake, should they not call a penalty on themselves? We don’t expect perfection in golf and we certainly don’t expect perfection in life. However, we do expect honesty in both. There can be no exceptions.
Our Constitution is our Rule Book. We all play the game of life here in this country. Unlike some other countries, we are all expected to play by the rules. When we find ourselves in a situation that is uncomfortable, we don’t cheat and we don’t lie. We deal with it as best we can and then tally up the score when we’re finished. We won’t be judged on our score. We will be judged on how well we played the game.
The rules are explicit. The rules govern the game we love and play. The rules apply to all. Golfers know this. Golfers follow the rules without exception. When golfers don’t follow the rules they are disqualified from the game. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all golfers?