Thursday, May 17, 2007

I'm Not So Sure 5/17/07

I'm not so sure that:

Absolute silence is required during a golf swing.

I'm not doubting for a moment that golf requires great concentration. I also don't question that having somebody suddenly ambush your concentration while trying to do a complicated and precise maneuver is cruel (though sometimes funny). But are golfers really so fragile that they need absolute silence in order to concentrate? Surely not.

I'm not a golfer but I have stood at the foul line with hundreds of people screaming and waving at me while I attempted a crucial free throw. I've also stood on a football field filled with a cacophony of screaming, yelling, encoded instructions and marching bands, amidst the threat of very real violence, and I've still managed to make complicated reads and decisions. And every Sunday I make complex oral arguments, largely from memory, while babies cry, cell phones are answered, noses are picked, and musical chairs are played. But when I'm really concentrating, most distractions get blocked out.

Our world is increasingly noisy and distraction-filled, while simultaneously getting more and more demanding. Just driving down the highway while reading signs, listening to the radio, fending off your phone, and negotiating traffic has become an exercise in chaos management. And yet it's the golfer who needs everyone around him to hush?!

I think the operative word here is "need." The golfer doesn't need quiet. I think he wants it. Who wouldn't like the world of distractions to hush for a moment while we concentrate? If not for the culture of golf and the golfer's obvious preference, I don't see why the spectators at a golf tournament couldn't show up with noise makers and megaphones. Most of us could manage to block it out like we do every other day.

But isn't it nice, at least at the golf course, that we don't have to?


Anonymous said...

It isn't quiet that is needed by a golfer. The problem is if there was constant background noise it wouldn't be an issue. The reason it bothers golfers is it is dead quiet and then someone yells something and your bodys natural reaction is to flinch. And, if you haven't swung a club at a ball that doesn't move and think that it is easy you need to go try it so you can be humbelled in a hurry.


Thumper said...

Never said it was easy.