Years ago I was spending some time in Washington state and became friends with a wonderful retired couple whose names I no longer remember. I do recall that the husband was a golfer though. Not a casual player, no he was an everyday kind of player. He even had a small side business where he would custom make putters, which really were works of art and created with a great deal of love for the game. Out of all the times I visited them there was one conversation that always comes to mind when I think about them. The husband was talking about going to a course that next morning to which his wife reminded him that he was going to be golfing on the Sabbath and asked if he thought it was a good idea to miss church because of golf. Then, almost instantaneously he replied, “But honey, golf is 2/3’s god.” He smiled at her, I started laughing, and she rolled her eyes and walked out of the room, thus ending conversation.

For some, golf is the heaven on Earth. For others it’s an incredible waste of land and natural resources. For example, keeping a lush green course alive and well in a place like Las Vegas. As for my perspective on golf, I have played the game. I have even purchased my own clubs. Granted, I only have three clubs and the first two, a pitching wedge and a 5 iron, I got for a dollar each from a thrift shop. I also own a 2 wood, which I purchased for 20 dollars from a Kmart that was going out of business and everything in the store was on clearance. I even keep the clubs in the trunk of my car for years with no bag to put them in. They just rolled around in the trunk along with an empty tennis ball container, a cardboard box filled with cleaning supplies.

When people see the clubs in my trunk there is always a pause of confusion. I get asked if I play, but it’s always an unsure question because I only have three clubs and they are pretty sure positive that I can’t play with only three clubs. I tell them the truth… yes, I do play, just not in the conventional way. And I only need those three clubs to play. Oh, and I only play once every 3 years or so, although I have been known to visit a driving range about once a year to hit a bucket with some coworkers.

So what is Rich Golf? It’s more a game of adventure with golf added into the mix. And I always make sure I bring a Baby Ruth with me in the event I run into a Sloth type character lurking in the rough. To begin with, I borrow a golf ball from one of the friends I am golfing.

Here’s my qualm with regular golf, the better you do, the less you get for your money. If you are playing 9 holes of golf and you get par every time, you get to hit the ball around what 30 to 40 times? Now my logic is that if it takes me 60 strokes instead of 30 I am getting twice as much play time for my money. To give you a clear understanding of my skill in this game, finishing a 9 hole game with a total of 60 hits of the ball is quite exceptional for me. On the average thought I’d say 10 hits before I get the ball in the hole is pretty standard and something I pride myself on. In the game of Rich Golf that is a fairly accomplished feat.

Treasure hunting is the other aspect of Rich Golf, which adds a whole new level of personal entertainment to the game. The rule is you have to try to keep it on the fairway when hitting the ball. Because I my excessive skill in hitting the golf ball in a way that makes it spin dramatically off course like a race car on icy roads. I spend about half of the game in the tall grass and tree filled areas. The thing about venturing off the padded grass path is that this is where I start building up my collection, no make that my bounty of surplus golf balls. I do attempt to find the golf ball I was using. I also begin looking for any homeless golf balls that happen to be living in the tall grass or wooded areas. The rule is that you have to stop searching for rogue golf balls once you find the one you hit into the rough. Unless you can’t find it, in that case you drop a new ball after 10 minutes of searching.

It’s so entertaining for me to come running out of the woods with 6 golf balls in the side pockets of my cargo pants that I did not have before (cargo pants are a must for this game, you need lots of pockets and storage space). I keep a running tally for the whole game. I always come out ahead too, which is another way you win while playing Rich Golf. I think my personal best over the past 10 years, by the end of the 9th hole, was 32 golf balls ahead. I was unable to return the ball I had borrowed, mainly because I had lost it, but did make up for that one lost golf ball. My record game was in Logan, Utah. It was a morning game too. Three friends and I headed to the links? Court? Field? Course… and it was by far one of the most amusing, entertaining, and playful games of Rich Golf I have ever played. My friends told me I came in last, but I think they meant that in the traditional sense of the game.

I never keep the golf balls for two reasons. I don’t have any place to keep them and since I only play golf with friends and they always have traditional golf equipment, why not let them keep the surplus of found golf balls to use at some later time. I know they actually play the game more than once every few years. The second reason, I wouldn’t feel right about keeping them. It’s like buying chocolates from Belgium and then keeping them in the box waiting for a special occasion to eat them. Not allowing inanimate objects fulfill the purpose and function of their existence is not only sacrilege, but it’s incredibly… well it makes me want to eat ice cream when I’m not in the mood to eat ice cream, and that is just not right, period. It might make a little more sense if I point out that I’m really not a big ice cream person either.

Some of you might be wondering how playing 9 holes of golf with just three clubs works especially then none of those clubs fall into the putter category. Putters are highly overrated and in my case never necessary. I either use my wood in a very soft tapping style, or I just use a clubs long section that has the grippy bits at the end and use it in a pool cue fashion to hit the ball into the hole. Besides, with only three clubs I just walk around with the three of them in only one hand. I then drop the two I don’t need for the shot and use the club that feels right. I do think that the more clubs you have the more befuddled the constricting the game becomes. I do think I might attempt using two clubs next time instead of three, you know, just to gauge the doability of the thing.

There is one alteration that may happen to my game though. A few weeks ago I lent my car to a friend to drive to Boise Idaho to help a friend pack up his house and move. When he got back and returned the car, he had me open the trunk. Inside was an old black and pink golf club bag fill will old, weather beaten clubs. He explained that as he was helping his friend move he noticed that a neighbor had placed the old bag of clubs out on the curb as trash for the garbage man to pick up and take away. So he grabbed it for me. There nestled in with the collection of old golf clubs were my three clubs, looking happy to have a bag to call home. I really have only one gripe. It’s not that they are women’s clubs, which they are, but I could care less about that. The problem is that they are right handed clubs.

Now I might be a lot of things, but right handed was never one of those… except for using scissors. It’s not my fault though. I blame it on the fact that I only had access to right-handed scissors in elementary school. I also believe that this is why I cannot make that Vulcan “live long and prosper” hand gesture with my left hand. I can make it with my right hand as easy as a monkey flings… er, messy stuff. But I cannot for the life of me make that symbol with my left hand, unless I can cheat and tape my pinky and forth finger together.

With this new bag addition to the game I have thought about keeping a golf ball for myself the next time I go. That way I will have my own starting ball the next time I go. Since having that initial thought the motion has been vetoed and will not be becoming a practice for my game. Borrowing that first ball is at the core what the game is about. An initial act of trust and kindness that is extended to you, which is repaid at the end of the game by the reciprocating act of giving them the entire golf ball treasure you collected throughout the game. It’s a brilliant moment when you ask your friend to hold out their hands and you begin unloading your golf ball filled pockets into their hands. Once you get to number fifteen they usually start laughing so hard they can no longer hold them all and they spill all over the ground as you keep handing them ball after ball after ball. It’s the perfect ending to a perfect game.

Do you have any sports that you altered to make your own?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: man golfing, sloth goonies, treasure, golf balls, using golf club as pool cue, Shatner Vulcan fail, and handful of golf balls.