Two words: Uptown Golf.
It could be the next hot trend.
Now, granted, I know less about sports than … any other man in the South. But I do know this: Urban games are making a comeback.
Take disc golf, for example. It’s very popular, like you can’t even pass a locked public restroom down on the RiverWalk without seeing a disc golf course.
Never miss a local story.
But it’s dangerous: I grew up throwing a Frisbee, as we called it before Wham-O attorneys sent us letters about registered trademarks, so I know how careless people can be.
It got to where you couldn’t hurl a 165-gram plastic plate at high speed without someone, possibly your cousin, recklessly sitting on the edge of the pool with her head right in the way. Anyone with any sense would know to duck.
This is why I don’t play baseball, by the way.
I hear high-speed golf balls also can be dangerous, and that is why, when golfers yell “fore,” they not always are just ordering another round at the clubhouse.
Years ago a coworker covering the Georgia General Assembly lived right beside Atlanta’s Candler Park golf course, and balls came flying into his front yard all the time. It’s possible he got hit in the head a few times, and maybe that’s why he got out of journalism. So it wasn’t just the long hours and the stress and the futility of trying to find logic in the legislature.
What I see, when I look out my window downtown, is not just pedestrians walking out in front of oncoming traffic, but people puttering around in golf carts.
But they don’t have any balls, or drivers, or caddies. And another thing I’ve noticed – besides the fact that they’re going to get hit by a truck, and that maybe the only reason they haven’t been hit by a truck is you can’t drive the truck and the golf cart and talk on a cell phone at the same time, so you can’t run over yourself – is that they’re not playing golf.
Now, I know less about games than … anyone else in the world. Like I can’t play poker because I don’t bluff, but I do know this: Novelty golf used to be very popular.
When I was a kid growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, the world was going to hell then, too, but at least we had Putt-Putt, and Wee Putt, and whatever they called that Miracle Strip course at Panama City Beach.
And I know less about business than … anyone, but I know this: Nostalgia is making a comeback, in a déjà vu sort of way, and when I look at some of the sculptures downtown, I have flashbacks.
I don’t know why those novelty golf courses failed. Maybe, with advanced technology, people figured out they could go out in the backyard and putt. Or just make the dog get up on the couch and do it in the den, while they’re watching golf on TV. Maybe they thought all the novelty-course balls should be white, and not painted so each player could keep up with his or hers.
I don’t know. But I do know this: We have golf carts, we have sculptures, we have clubs and balls.
I foresee people in golf carts pulling over in front of the RiverCenter not because otherwise a flock of young thespians would crash like migrating birds into their windshield, but to play through.
The Broadway fountain’s maybe a par 3, depending on where you tee off. I’m not sure about the statue of the kid in the raincoat up the street, or the “pocket park.”
I understand people may have public safety concerns. I have seen the movie “Animal House,” and I know that golf balls do not always go where they are aimed. Sometimes they slice, and smash through cafeteria windows, and splash into the soup of the day.
But such mishaps can be marketed:
Find a ball in your soup, get a free appetizer.