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I have been looking into how to get rich. I have decided that one way to get rich is by becoming a professional chess player. But as chess is a sedentary activity, I may find myself getting out of shape and shortly thereafter tubby. I will then have to get some exercise. Given that by that point I would be rich, I would want to engage in some form of exercise in which rich people engage. But the wealthy don’t seem to exercise much. They do play golf and that is what I would play until such time as I discovered some form of exercise in which rich people engage. Today’s topic then is (you guessed it) golf. Golf is way, way more complicated than chess, seems to me. With golf, there is so much more equipment to purchase and to learn to use. And if you are female there are more things to worry about in golf than in chess, like the fact that ladies’ clubs are cut to a different fitting standard than men’s, whereas in chess everything seems to be the same size for everybody. And I don’t think that chess has rules barring women from membership in fancy clubs even if the women are just as rich as the men. When I am very rich I want to be treated just like all the other rich people are. That is the American way. Golf is also a lot more dangerous than chess. I have been reading up on the rules of golf. (One should always read up on the rules of games before one invests a lot of money in equipment because a close reading of the rules sometimes makes clear that the game one is considering taking up involves more danger than one cares to expose oneself to.) There are quite a few references in the sources I consulted to projectiles, mainly golf balls which while small probably could do a lot of damage to one if the ball has been hit by a strong person, and strong some golfers may be. They (and weaker people too) are supposed to yell, “Fore!” when you and other people are in danger from their actions. There are all kinds of rules dictating what penalties will be imposed on golfers whose balls hit, among other things, themselves, their partner, their caddie, their caddie’s equipment, the player’s opponent (presumably accidentally), the player’s opponent’s caddie (ditto), the opponent’s caddie’s equipment, etc. In some situations, you can lose the hole. Perhaps sterner penalties are assigned on the basis of the injury to all of those people and damage to all of that equipment. The risk of injury is intended to be reduced by the rule stating that you shouldn’t take up play until the people in front of you are out of range. Try to stay out of range at all times—that'd be my advice. There are other hazards out on the golf course, some of them put there on purpose in order to make playing golf a challenge (as if avoiding getting walloped by hard little balls were not enough of a challenge). A “water hazard” is water that supposed to be on the course and you aren’t supposed to get your ball into it. This bit of water is not the same as “casual water,” which is simply a puddle or a similar temporary accumulation of water. You are allowed to extricate your ball from the puddle, as it isn’t supposed to be there. The puddle, that is. Nor your ball in
the puddle. It should be in the water hazard except when you can avoid it, which is one of the aims of the game. Not only is there all that water, temporary and semi-permanent (which seems to be possible only in golf), there are also obstructions, many of which have been put on the golf course on purpose to make things difficult. There are people who like to make things difficult and many such are attracted to the field of golf course design. If the obstruction is obviously detritus such as a pop bottle or a maintenance tool, the golfer can move it. But he is not allowed to move great big obstructions that have been put there to make his life difficult on purpose. I am small so moving great big obstructions is not something I can do easily, anyhow. You are allowed to brush aside worms and other creepy-crawlies and dung and icky poo--I am starting to have my doubts about this golf thing. According to some rulebooks a ball is lost five minutes after you begin looking for it. I would think it would be more likely to have been lost five minutes or more before you begin looking for it. In any case, if you can’t find the ball, even if you had brushed all the leaves off it (see below) (and here you lost it only a few minutes after getting it out of the non-permanent puddle), you can start playing with a provisional ball, which is probably just like the ball you have lost after beginning to look for it. As to whom you consider your opponent, one source said that anyone one is playing against is one’s opponent. Some of the rules are equally straightforward, such as the fact that according to some rulebooks you must play by the rules and aren’t allowed to change them. I can see why people like golf. Simple, stark moral clarity. Flexibility when it comes to the rules is not, as you may have gathered by this point, encouraged. You are to know your starting time (one would think that punctuality would stand one in good stead in most sporting situations) and you aren’t to stop playing unless there is lightning (more danger) or fall ill or unless an official asks or tells you to cease playing (perhaps because someone has been injured by a golf ball). You are to endeavor to play only your own ball. Playing someone else's ball might annoy the owner of it, unless of course you are an extraordinarily good golfer. You are also not to give advice to your opponent and one doesn’t quite see why you would want to, since he is your opponent after all. If your ball falls off the tee, you are allowed to put it back on, which is awfully nice of the officials. The tee, by the way, is that little wooden spike thing, I think. If your ball gets covered in leaves and dirt you are allowed to clean it off so that you can see some of it, which is a definite advantage given that at some point you will want to hit it. But you are not to hit your ball while it is moving. I couldn’t quite envision in what circumstances I would want to hit a moving golf ball nor could I envision myself being able to do so as golf balls are, by most regulations, 1.86" (and who knows what in the metric system) in diameter, which is pretty small and it would be hard to hit something that small when you
or it are stationary let alone when you or it are or is moving. Lucky for me that the rules say that I am not supposed to do so. Hit the ball when it is moving, that is. That is another reason to read the rules. As I read the rules, you are not supposed to cheat. You should not, for example, pick up your ball and move it to a spot from which you would be more likely to hit it or hit it to your best possible advantage. That would be deemed unsportsmanlike behavior, presumably by men who don’t let women, however rich they may be, join their clubs. Another rule has to do with clubs. You aren’t supposed to carry more than 14. Oh, like I could carry anywhere near that many anyway. But I would hire a caddie and he could carry the 14 that I am allowed to have but no more than that. That is to say, he probably could carry more than 14, caddies usually being big strapping guys. But you are allowed to have only 14 clubs, which include a wood, which may be made of metal and an iron, which is primarily metal, apparently. Or partly anyway, maybe entirely. Who knows? I am still in the learning the rules phase. Here is another one. A rule, I mean. You are not supposed to stand in front of another player when he is putting. I would think that you probably shouldn’t stand in front of him at other times either, as doing so at other times could be even more dangerous than doing so when he's putting. It is bad manners and unsportsmanlike to stand in front of your opponent (or golfers whom you don’t know) when he is putting and other times, too. You are supposed to obey signs regulating the movement of golf carts and I would suggest watching out for carts driven by people who have less regard for rules than you do. I won’t begin playing golf until I have completed my study of the rules of the game.