The Summer of Letters at Imogen Gallery, Astoria Oregon
Golf is a mindfuck. It is interminably difficult yet easy at the same time. If one thing goes right, ten things can go wrong. Or vice versa. Many who play compare it to the struggle of daily life: exhilarating, disappointing, confusing, overwhelming, inspiring… And those are just the swing thoughts as one brings the club back. In reality, it doesn’t mean anything. Golf is simply an exercise in being human and at the end, if you care, you count up what you’ve done and measure yourself against your peers and foes. Like life, does it really matter? That depends on the person playing, or living.
These objects are the detritus of the game. The tee markers signal where to begin. The flags tell you where to end. But nothing is permanent and each item has a life span until it is deemed unusable. Sound familiar? But there is hope, like waking each morning with the optimism that today will be a great day on or off the course. People can be granted second chances to fulfill their purpose and these pieces of golf’s machinations can too. The game of life will trudge forward to that steady drum of existence that can only be experienced, not explained.
In the time of the pandemic, the game of golf has adjusted as well. Professional events have been cancelled, many golf courses themselves have closed due to safety concerns, and those that have remained open have put significant measures into place to keep social distancing possible. In theory, golf is the perfect game for these times. One is usually far apart from others. The game promotes exercise. And a nice walk can clear one’s mind from seriousness and isolation of these times. Yet the custom of handshakes before and after a round are discouraged. High fives and fist bumps after making a nice long putt are a no-no. Sharing birdie bottles (flasks of whiskey) after going one under par on a hole is definitely out. But in the end, doing the right thing for the sake of others, even at the expense of a favorite past time, is a small price to pay to help our communities, country, and planet have a sense of normalcy.