The Secret Lives... and Surprising Metaphorical Possibilities... of Golf Balls

Golf Ball Guts                                        Illustration: Golf Girl Media

Golf balls have been getting a bit of a bad rap lately.

No less an authority than Jack Nicklaus recently stated that he felt golf balls were largely to blame for slow play.  That's problematic when you consider that slow play... for many golfers and golf fans... is the scourge of the game.  Or at least the scourge du jour.

The tiny, dimpled orbs have also taken some flak due to environmental concerns. Probably because it takes hundreds of years for a golf ball to decompose naturally... and because some 300 million of them are lost in the US each year. There are however, some innovative solutions to that problem.

Then there are all the stories about the errant golf balls that make calamitous contact with people and possessions.  Certainly those anecdotes do nothing to enhance the reputation of that much maligned white sphere we chase around our verdant courses.

Leave it to a non-golfing artist to show us the golf ball's gorgeous side... or inside as it were... and allow us to appreciate the unique multi-chromatic beauty hidden within.  The hero is photographer James Friedman, who had the ingenious idea of simply splitting a bunch of golf balls down the middle, presumably with some kind of saw. What was revealed, and artfully presented by Mr. Friedman, was something quite stunning... and rather delightful.

The story's been all over the place these past few days, allowing the humble golf ball to transcend the sport into the realms of tech and design, with Mashable gushing about the golf ball's gorgeous guts, while Gizmodo compared one bisected ball's close-up to... a pint of dragon fire ice cream. I'm not sure, but I think that's a very flattering comparison.

The photographer said it best when he wrote, "To my surprise, what I found inside inspired me to consider that I could discover, in the unlikeliest of places, elegant formal qualities and surprising metaphorical possibilities."

* You can admire each of James Friedman's sexy golf ball portraits (and his other amazing projects) at his website

Golf's Water Hog Reputation... And Its Little Known Green Side

Not surprisingly, when the subject is water usage, golf often finds itself on the defensive.

In communities where water is scarce, the perception of lush emerald fairways and perfectly verdant greens... maintained at great cost for an elite few... often strikes residents as a frivolous allocation of this most vital resource.

Whether the cause of a water shortage is prolonged drought or rapid population growth... or whether there even is a water shortage in a particular area... golf courses are seen by many as the consummate water hogs.  And golfers, by association, are looked upon as self-indulgent, inconsiderate, porcine primadonnas.  Not a flattering image, to say the least.

However as Attaya Anthony points out in a recent article in the Sun Sentinel, many golf courses are actually helping to replenish drinking water.  It's a fascinating piece that highlights the role of turf grass as a natural filtration system ...and the thing is, this is just one of numerous environmental benefits a golf course can provide when managed with sustainability in mind. As more golfers are educated to these facts, the hope is that they'll support those with an eco-friendly focus, and the sport's water hog reputation will ...pardon the pun longer hold water.


"From the Rough": The Upcoming Film & The Amazing Story Behind It

"From The Rough" Help Support an Independent Film 
Golf is a game where unexpected trajectories have been known to produce surprising results.

Whether it be on the fairways and greens, or during the four day grind of a major tournament, that implausible errant tee shot, the putt that seems to defy gravity... those are the kind of things that can quickly lead to an unforeseen reversal of fortune.

Golf can change the path of a career as well. Such was certainly the case for the extraordinary Catana Starks who after working as a swim coach for the Tennessee State Tigers made history when she became the first woman ever to coach a men's NCAA golf team.  The story is all the more remarkable because Starks actually built the team herself, assembling what seemed like a motley group of players and transforming them into a winning force.  Her team secured an NCAA Regional Championship invitation and a Division I-record win the National Minority Championship.

So impressive are Catana Starks' accomplishments that her story has now been made into a full length feature film due to be released this year.  One look at the trailer (below) convinced me... and will probably convince you... that "From the Rough" is going to be a compelling, ultra-inspiring movie experience.

The thing is, even though the film is complete and ready to be released, getting it wide distribution and is going to be a challenge... as it always tends to be with independent films... because of the cost involved: over $1,000 to get it onto just one big screen!

To increase awareness and get "From the Rough" into as many theaters as possible, the producers have launched a funding campaign via Indigogo.  There are various participation levels, each with nice perks for funders.  Have a look at the campaign, and at the film's website. If you can't participate in the funding part, you can support the movie via social media.  Like, follow, friend, etc... and encourage your contacts to do the same.  Then watch for updates so you can see "From the Rough" when it comes to your town.

From the Rough on Facebook ... Twitter ... YouTube


A 4th of July Weekend Dedicated to Golf, Garden & Garage

At its best, the 4th of July is the quintessential summer holiday. Saturated seasonal color complements the pure, primary tones of the US flag, while warm weather lends itself to outdoor activities of all sorts. That's the ideal, anyway.

Of course we've all lived through less-than-perfect Independence Days, because in reality, many parts of the country are subject to the possibility of heavy rain or extreme sweltering heat at this time of year. However it's the perfect ones we tend to remember. Fortunately.

Here in CT, 2013 has presented us with a 4th we won't soon forget.  Pretty close to classic, it may have been a tad too hot/humid for some, but after an extremely wet month of June, the past couple of days have been sunny and dry.

This fortunate turn of meteorological events has allowed us to put a dent in our perceived golf deficit - playing twice in three days will make up for those couple of golf-less weeks in June.  Unfortunately, we've also been running a bit of a deficit in the home and garden departments, thus numerous hours of digging in the dirt and a much-postponed mucking-out of our massive garage are also on the menu. Such pains pleasures of home ownership often sometimes make us consider the whole "downsizing to a condo" concept.  I can't dwell on that however as I fully intend to continue my weeding chores head to the course for a quick nine.


Women's Golf: The Babe, The Queen Bee and Who's Coming in Second

There's probably not a competitive female golfer in the world who doesn't aspire to be a Babe.

That's Babe with a capital B, and the Babe in question... the one everyone wants to emulate... is the legendary Babe Zaharias.

Now there's a contemporary golfer who's actually achieving those aspirations.

With her US Women's Open win yesterday, on the undulating greens of Sebonack Country Club,  Inbee Park reached a level of... well, Babedom... that hasn't been seen since 1950.

Like the iconic Mrs. Zaharias did in the mid-20th century, the 24 year-old Korean has won the season's first three majors.  If Park wins next month at the Ricoh Women's British Open she'll actually be able to best the Babe by winning the season's fourth major.

Mind you, there were only three majors back in 1950.  Had there been more, The Babe would have had them in her sights and I suspect she'd have won them. One of her best known quotes, reflects the confidence that would likely have taken her there: "The Babe's here, who's coming in second?"

At Sebonack fellow players spoke about Park's performance with amazement. Brittany Lincicome went so far as to say it seemed she was, "...playing a different golf course,"  and Paula Creamer asked, "What are you going to do when you go against someone that hot?"

I have a feel next month at The Old Course in St. Andrews I'm guessing we might hear that famous Babe Zaharias quote adapted for the 21st Century: "The Queen Bee is here, who's coming in second?"
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