(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘golf

“The more serious about gardening I became, the more dubious lawns seemed”*…

 

Colorado Rockies Grounds Crew

 

Surprisingly, the lawn is one of America’s leading “crops,” amounting to at least twice the acreage planted in cotton. In 2007, it was estimated that there were roughly twenty-five to forty million acres of turf in the United States. Put all that grass together in your mind and you have an area, at a minimum, about the size of the state of Kentucky, though perhaps as large as Florida. Included in this total were fifty-eight million home lawns plus over sixteen thousand golf-course facilities (with one or more courses each) and roughly seven hundred thousand athletic fields. Numbers like these add up to a major cultural preoccupation.

Not only is there already a lot of turf, but the amount appears to be growing significantly. A detailed study found that between 1982 and 1997, as suburban sprawl gobbled up the nation, the lawn colonized over 382,850 acres of land per year. Even the amount of land eligible for grass has increased, as builders have shifted from single-story homes to multi-story dwellings with smaller footprints. The lawn, in short, is taking the country by storm.

Lawn care is big business, with Americans spending an estimated $40 billion a year on it. That is more than the entire gross domestic product of the nation of Vietnam…

How did the plain green lawn become the central landscaping feature in America, and what are the financial, the medical, and perhaps most painfully, the ecological costs? “American Green.”

* Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

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As we go to seed, we might spare a thought for John Garnet Carter; he died on this date in 1954.  A hotelier who ran a lodge at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee/Rock City, Georgia, he built the first “Tom Thumb Golf” course to keep the children of his guests occupied– only to find that the attraction was a hit with adults.

Miniature golf dates back to the 19th century in the UK and the earlier 20th century in the U.S., when putting greens became attractions in their own right.  But Carter’s patented “Tom Thumb” approach– which incorporated tile, sewer pipe, hollow logs, and other obstacles, along with fairyland statuary– earned him the honorific “Father of Miniature Golf.”

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Carter, putting

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Written by LW

July 21, 2019 at 1:01 am

“I only fear danger where I want to fear it”*…

 

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The third annual International World Extreme Sports Medicine Congress confirmed our collective willingness to wreck ourselves in pursuit of stoke.

Global experts on how outdoor athletes stumble, trip, twist, crash, snap, pop, tear, and occasionally croak in hard-to-reach places convened in Boulder, courtesy of the University of Colorado’s sports medicine department. The mission? Bring practitioners up to speed on the many methods we’ve invented to destroy our bodies, so they can be prepared when they wheel in another human pretzel in a helmet…

An example of the findings that surfaced:

Seventy-two percent of BASE jumpers have witnessed a death or a severe injury.

Heard: Reporter had to depart before the question “are BASE jumpers insane?” was resolved. But we’re going with “yeah.”

More injurious insights at “19 Lessons I Learned from Extreme Sports Pros.”

* Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

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As we take it to the max, we might recall that it was on this date that “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias won the 1954 U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship.  Successful in in golf, basketball, baseball, and track and field (a double Gold Medalist at the 1932 Olympic Games), she is considered one of the greatest female athletes of all time.  She is surely also one of the most committed:  she had missed the 1953 Women’s Open, undergoing surgery for colon cancer; she was still in recovery when she took the title the next year.  Sadly, she relapsed and missed the chance to defend her title in 1955, as she was back in surgery; she died of her cancer in 1956.

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Written by LW

July 3, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Is a Hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool Opotamus?”*…

 

Dutch artist Florentjin Hofman, known for his massive sculptures (including his giant rubber duck), has floated a giant hippo, “HippopoThames,” down London’s iconic river.

Follow it’s progress past landmarks old and new here.  And see more of Hofman’s work here.

* Mitch Hedberg

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As we watch ourselves at the watering hole, we might recall that it was on this date in 1899 that George Franklin Grant was awarded a patent for the first modern wooden golf tee.  Grant was a dentist, one of trio who patented golf tees: in 1922, dentist William Lowell designed a red-painted, cone-shaped, wooden peg with a small concave platform that was patented and became the world’s first commercially produced golf tee called the “reddy tee.”  Recently dentist, Arnold DiLaura, patented the Sof-Tee, a tee that sits on top of the ground instead of in it.

Grant was a graduate of Harvard dental school, where he later taught– Harvard University’s first African-American faculty member.  He was renowned internationally within his profession for his invention of the oblate palate, a prosthetic device he designed for treatment of the cleft palate.

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Written by LW

December 12, 2014 at 1:01 am

“You drive for show but putt for dough”*…

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“Everybody has their one thing that they’re good at, and if you ever find it, you want to stick with it.”
—Rick Baird

On April 9, 2011, at a tournament in Richmond, Virginia, an IT manager named Rick Baird notched 18 straight hole-in-one shots to record a perfect putt-putt score. In more than 50 years of sanctioned competition, it was just the third time that anyone had achieved the feat.

Putt-putt is different from miniature golf. It’s played only on official courses; there are no pirate ships, no windmills, and no holes that cannot be conquered with one stroke — if you execute the perfect shot. On that day in 2011, Baird executed the perfect shot 18 times in a row.

Via Grantland

* Bobby Locke

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As we address the ball, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that president Bill Clinton underwent surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital to repair the quadriceps tendon of his right knee.  An avid golfer, Clinton had injured his knee at 1:20 that morning when he slipped down some stairs at Australian professional golfer Greg Norman’s house.  Clinton’s surgeon later reported that the president’s primary concern after the surgery was when he would again be able to “swing a golf club.”  Upon his return to the links, Clinton continued to improve his game, and once remarked that he was the only president to trim his handicap while in office; it stood at 15 when he left the White House.

President Clinton on the links in 1995

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Happy 3.14–  Pi Day!

And Happy Einstein’s Birthday!

Written by LW

March 14, 2014 at 1:01 am

Playing golf while blitzed…

During World War II, German aircraft from Norway would fly on missions to northern England; because of the icy weather conditions, the barrels of their guns had a small dab of wax to protect them. As they crossed the coast, they would clear their guns by firing a few rounds at the golf courses there. Undaunted, the British played on…

There will always be an England…

From Doug Ross @ Journal, via Boing Boing. [TotH to Don Smith]

As rethink our aversion to bunkers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1805 that a force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries attacked the Tripolitan port city of Derna on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States.  Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in what one might now think of as “the first Libyan War” that Hamet Karamanli presented him with the elaborately-designed sword that serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers; the phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, is a reference to the Derna campaign.

Presley O’ Bannon (source)

“a culinary equivalent of the ship in a bottle”…

The dedicated researchers at our old friends Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have come through again:  this time, with step-by-step instructions for making omelettes inside of eggshells.  “While it may not be possible to make omelettes without breaking eggs, it turns out that you actually can get pretty close.”

 

As we wonder what’s keeping the hash browns, we might recall that, while George F. Grant is perhaps better remembered as a successful Boston dentist, and the first African-American professor at Harvard, it was on this date in 1899 that he received the first patent for the wooden golf tee.

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