Don’t bore me with boring sports

Published 11:14 am Tuesday, October 27, 2009

As far as spectator sports are concerned, what’s more boring – professional golf or pro baseball?

At least in baseball, when someone swings a club and whacks a little white ball, there’s another person standing on a big green field to catch it and throw it back.

Professional golf has to be the most “ho-hum” sport ever invented. Plus it’s just too quiet.

What bothers me the most about golf – other than the land they play it on is a waste of precious real estate – is all the lingo of the game. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it.

For instance, golfers always talk about their “bad lies.” I was taught at a very early age that lying is bad. Sometimes a golfer plays a ball off what is known as a good lie. What exactly is a good lie – one that doesn’t come back to haunt you?

Then there’s an unplayable lie, playable lie, a downhill lie, an uphill lie and a preferred lie. All this lying makes me jittery. If you’re caught at any kind of lie and your mama is still living, she’s going to take one of those branches off those pretty little bushes lining the back of the 18th green and whack you with it.

Other golfing terms are also puzzling.

Did you know that a golfer will “address” their ball? If that means mailing one to a friend, don’t count on the US Postal Service getting it there before Christmas arrives.

If you’re playing golf in Scotland and whack the ball into a creek or stream, you’ve knocked it into a “burn.” How in the heck is a burn related to a body of water? Fire burns and water is used to extinguish a fire. Go figure!

If a golfer moves his/her hands down the shaft of a club, it’s called a choke. If the same golfer misses a one-inch par-saving putt on the 18th hole while tied for the lead, that’s what I would call a choke.

A golf hole is called a cup. The top rim of the cup is called the lip. In that cup is placed a pin, the same thing as a flagstick. That’s way too many descriptions for a simple hole in the ground.

When a golfer whacks out a piece of the course while striking the ball, it’s called a divot. A divot is also a hole, but not the same as a cup. Golfers are obliged to replace their divots by tapping them back into place. But yet a golfer isn’t allowed to replace the sod that was removed to make a cup. If that were the case, then golfers would go round and round in circles with no end to their game.

A golfer carries a bagful of clubs. There are irons, woods and wedges to use in order to get the ball on the green. Yet when they arrive on the putting surface, they use only one club – a putter. For simplicity, why aren’t all the other clubs just called “whackers?”

Another confusing term in golf is, tee. A golfer tees it up (meaning they place the ball on top of a tiny piece of wood they stick in the ground) in the tee box (the area from where the first shot of a hole is made). When they whack the ball for the first time on a hole, it’s called a tee shot, or teeing off.

Maybe the reason I don’t play golf is that I don’t understand all the lingo. In all honesty, I did play the game a while back. I teed it up, whacked it, found it in the woods, stuck it in my pocket and went home.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207.