Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Some Things Are Sacred

It's been interesting, to say the least, to watch the Trump campaign kick off. It's been more of a train wreck than a launch, at least from a business perspective. And yet, among Republicans, if I can believe what I'm reading on the net, Trump seems to be doing well in the polls. Apparently, his brand of shoot-from-the-hip, tell-it-like-it-is rhetoric seems to sit quite well with a certain segment of American society. One thing at least, politically correct he's not.

The PGA and other major golf organizations are trying to put a little distance between themselves and the Donald. His strong views on illegals, or Mexicans in general (I don't know if you can properly extend his comments to say he was actually referring to Mexicans in general, but who said we have to be fair?)  and his no-punches-pulled view that golf should be elitist because it gives the rest of us something to strive for, don't sit particularly well with these organizations who recognize that inclusion is probably better for business and growth in the long run. Do you go with the one percenters, or the ninety nine percenters? The question applies to golf as well as politics.

My heart sunk to learn Trump had acquired Turnberry. My first thought was, is nothing sacred? It was no surprise to hear that he had big plans for changing that historic track. It's now been removed from my bucket list. With the Donald it will always be go big, or go home. Subtlety seems to be lost on this man. In fact, Trump is really a caricature of everything that most people think is wrong with America. 

I just hope the reaction from these golf organizations isn't just a politically correct, knee-jerk response. I hope they have awakened to the fact that this guy is not good for golf. I'll leave the politics out of the discussion, because you can't win if you get caught up in discussing religion or politics. All rhyme and reason seems to be lost when either subject comes up. But, surely we golfers can agree. In golf some things should remain sacred. We should cherish our history and our old historic courses. Golf should be inclusive, at least to some extent. We should always have great public courses that a working man can actually afford to play.

My greatest golf trip ever was the three weeks I spent in St Andrews, staying a two iron, or was it a hybrid, away from the first tee of the old course. I got up in the morning and carried my bag over to the Old Course, the New, the Eden, or the Jubilee--there are seven to choose from--and spoke to the starter who was always able to either fix me up with a game, or get me out on my own. It was off season, just after the Dunhill Links. I played for an average of forty five dollars a round. I played the old course for fifty four pounds, which is about ninety bucks I think.

There were no electric or gas-powered golf carts. No one offered to shine my shoes, or clean my clubs. It was just me and my wits against the wind, the rain, the gorse, and the humps and bumps of the links. It was heaven. Now that Trump has got his greasy mitts on Turnberry, is he eyeing St Andrews? You bet. The grand thing is, however, while nothing is apparently sacred to the Donald except money, the good people of St Andrews would never give him the time of day. To them golf and their old links is sacred. 

Where else would you see the course closed every Sunday so the townsfolk could enjoy the grounds and the turf could rest? Don't ever change, good people of St Andrews. If only the rest of the golfing world would pay more attention. You could still teach us a thing or two about the grand old game.