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Great Divides

Mixed Media



Golf in America

News Brief: FIFE, Scotland, Feb. 12, 1567 Two days after the murder of Lord Darnley, his wife, Mary Queen of Scots, was spotted playing a round of golf at St. Andrews, where the couple maintains a vacation cottage. Mary, the reigning monarch of Scotland, has often escaped to the links when the weight of the crown has been…

News Brief: MAR-A-LAGO, Florida, Feb. 17, 2019 The day after declaring a national emergency at the border between Mexico and the United States, Donald Trump shot his 171st round of golf since becoming president twenty-five months ago. Trump, an avid player and owner of seventeen golf courses around the world has declared his golf days “Executive Time”, which is needed…

Golf is not a blue-collar sport.

Unlike shooting some hoops with friends at the local park, tossing a football on the front lawn with your kids, or grabbing your mitt to play catch on a sleepy suburban street—You must reserve a time to play on a golf course, which is usually not on your property, making it less than impromptu.

Golf is an expensive game.

Greens fees (what is charged to play 18 holes of golf) are about $40 for a run-of-the-mill municipal course. If you want to play at a popular or more storied course, and depending on the time and the day, you’ll be shelling out $250 to $500. You can expect to pay $200 to $400 for a beginner’s set of clubs, as much as $2,500 for a professional set, and a divot-taking $32,000 for a custom set made by the Japanese company, Honma. Golf shoes are a couple of hundred bucks for comfortable ones, which makes the constant cost of golf balls and tees a negligible expense.

Golf is hard on the environment.

Like any sporting-event lawn user, golf courses use a toxic stew of pesticides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers to maintain the grass, as a perfect playing surface. The courses’ design alters the local topology while constant mowing drives insects and small wildlife out of existence—keeping the greens and fairways flat and burrow-hole free. Notably, and especially troubling in the drought-plagued west, a golf course uses an estimated 312,000 gallons of water per day. In various combinations: Ponds, lakes, rivers and streams account for 69%; wells/ground water 46%; municipal drinking water 14%; and 12% reclaimed water make up a golf course’s irrigation supply.

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