I’ve been playing a round with my Secretary….

….she’s hoping I might get her in the club.

Poking fun at at the lunacy that passes for journalism and academia is one of the few remaining opportunities for fun during these days of no travel, no concerts, limited seating sports and all the other restrictions imposed on us for our own good.

So, ladies, gentlemen and binary non-conformists, please enjoy the Sydney Morning Herald’s resident and tenured Bedlamite, “Jenna Price is a columnist and academic“:

Shut them down. Shut them all down. Golf courses sit in the middle of our cities, using up valuable space in places that need more genuinely public land. Hectare after hectare devoted to a few people wandering around attempting to whack a ball into a hole in the ground. While kids across the city queue for swings and the handful of remaining naughty roundabouts, the golfers do not queue except for expensive memberships in elite clubs.

Using up valuable space“, which would otherwise be used how? A newly built Chesterton’s Fence?

While kids across the city queue for swings and the handful of remaining naughty roundabouts…“, please post any photographic evidence of these queues for swings.

“….the golfers do not queue except for expensive memberships in elite clubs.“. Jenna then proceeds to use her entire column to tell us public, not private golf courses, should be shut down.

Sydney’s lord mayor Clover Moore is in the spotlight again because she wants to decrease the number of holes in the Moore Park golf links from 18 to nine. Here is why. Moore Park is just over 113 hectares, according to City of Sydney staffers. Less than one-tenth is for general recreation. One-tenth. That’s compared with 45 hectares for the golf course (a sport that so few people play) and 46 hectares for all the other sports fields and courts used by the vast majority of us. Moore Park Golf Club is what’s called a public club although those fees don’t seem particularly public to me.

“Less than one-tenth is for general recreation. One tenth.” Moore Park has a cricket stadium, a rugby/other sports stadium, multiple flat spaces for seasonal participation sports, several lakes and a lot of trees. What is the correct ratio for this parkland? We aren’t told.

Also, “links” doesn’t mean what Jenna thinks it does. But I’m sure she knows all about golf as they wouldn’t let someone who doesn’t know what the bloody hell they are talking about write a column. Cough, Peter Fitzsimons, cough.

Moore’s proposal to turn it into nine holes is such a good idea – but it doesn’t go far enough. Boot all the golf clubs out of cities where there is just not enough open space. Already the sport is being abandoned. Participation has plunged from 8.2 per cent in 2001 to 5.2 per cent in 2020, a decline of over 36 per cent in 19 years.

Participation has plunged from 8.2 per cent in 2001 to 5.2 per cent in 2020, a decline of over 36 per cent in 19 years.“. Erm, there were 18,769,249 people in Australia in 2001, there are 25,649,985 here today. So, about 205,279 fewer people play golf. I make that a 12% decline in real numbers, not 36%.

You may wish to get someone from the Mathematics Faculty to do your sub-editing in future, Jenna.

Compare that with the sports that don’t rely on big footprints, fancy clobber, expensive gear, such as recreational walking, which has increased by 70 per cent to just under half the population.

No source for that claim in a column otherwise littered with hyperlinks, I note.

Why are we giving up massive amounts of space to a pursuit that offers so little to so few? Build a few outback golf links and send the 18-hole obsessives on a long drive.

Are you sure your objection is not an emotional reaction? This seems to delight in the prospect of punishing someone.

The cost and the way the sport is offered is just so off-putting for the majority.

So’s cricket, dinghy racing, Thai kick-boxing, cycling, high stakes poker and sky-diving. It’s still not an argument, Jenna.

Professor of sport at Federation University and also at Victoria University Rochelle Eime loves golf so much she even signed up her twin 14-year-old sons to the game when they couldn’t play footy because of COVID.

Some similarly aged children quite close to me have played nearly a full season of rugby union and rugby league this year and only missed a few weeks of training. Didn’t Rochelle get the memo?

That cost a total of $100 at the social club rate. When she wanted to join her local club, she was told it would cost $1000. Then told she could only play on certain days of the week.

Different clubs and membership types cost different amounts and have different restrictions. Who knew?

She works full-time. She can’t be popping off for a quick 18-holes on a workday.

Describing 18 holes of golf as “quick” suggests quite a lack of basic knowledge of what is involved.

Eime says golf is a traditional sport, rooted in the male competitive model and that’s hard to break down to something that works for modern lives, including those of women.

Sport can be competitive? Again, who knew?

Is competitive sport an exclusively male thing? The Williams sisters are on the phone and want to have a chat, Jenna.

Also, if your “modern life” doesn’t have time for golf, consider the possibility golf might not be for you. As an alternative, I believe there’s a clue in the name of F45 which might better help your diary planning.

“We need female voices in the decision-making.”

Ok. Hopefully that’ll be inclusive enough to include women who play golf or are at least vaguely aware of it. No, not you, Jenna, sit down.

Malcolm Gladwell, in A Good Walk Spoiled, possibly my favourite ever episode of his long-running series Revisionist History, spends the entire podcast exploring the social, political and environmental wrongdoings of golf.

And there we have the admission; Jenna heard a podcast once and the Sydney Morning Herald let her write a column about it.

…social, political and environmental wrongdoings of golf.” Oh come on, you can tick a few more boxes than that, Jenna. What about race, trans, gender and sexuality? Also, what about that chapter of Mein Kampf extolling the virtues of the sport?

Golf itself knows there is a problem and does its best to paper over them. A drive for membership here, a recognition that the game has to change there. By July this year, membership of Australian golf clubs had risen by 0.05 per cent, the first increase since 1998

Hands up who can spot a contradiction with an earlier claimed statistic? Bonus point if you can explain why, prima facie, the two numbers can exist together and still both be correct.

Golf Australia said in a statement that it would argue to retain any public golf course in Australia. Fine. But now it has to build a sport that fits with contemporary values and the lives of working women.

Because? Reasons.

Ready for the big finish?

Let’s see if it has the drive for that.

Boom tish. Try the veal.

Bill’s Opinion

Full disclosure; I have only ever played golf twice and consider those several hours as a an even worse waste of my life than the 3 English Premier League wendyball matches I was tricked into attending (spoiler alert; four and a half hours of no score…. and the fans still applauded as they left!).

The only practical use for golf is to separate out the sporting population from those of us who have realised team sports, particularly those involving physical contact, are the only ones worth playing. It serves a similar purpose as the ability to purchase personal car number plates, it’s a shibboleth.

However, unlike Jenna, I’m not filled with an irrational jealousy and resentment of those who find joy in participating in golf.

In fact, I’d be curious to know precisely what Jenna Price finds joy in, as her back catalogue suggests the answer is, well, not much, not much at all.

Give us a smile, Jenna!

Actually, on second thought, please don’t.

4 Replies to “I’ve been playing a round with my Secretary….”

  1. “Golf is hard to play, which is a man thing, so there shouldn’t be golf.”

    Given the Bond villain-level of evil openly flowing out of modern Western governments the good old-fashioned feminist bullshit nagging is quaint and almost a welcome relief. Almost.

  2. This pees me off enormously. Every time I start thinking that I’m quite a bit smarter than the average, Billy O comes along and disabuses me of that notion.

    AFB, I could never have begun to write this.

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