If you are reading this blog it is probably because you think golf is a “good” sport. But what makes a sport “good”? Is it how fun it is to play? How interesting it is to watch? Golf has long been criticized as “bad” sport for reinforcing social hierarchies and utilizing environmentally irresponsible practices.
The short answer: There is none.
For handicap purposes, the USGA imposes stroke limits (called Equitable Stroke Control, or ESC) to prevent golfers from sandbagging one hole to keep their handicaps high. Thus, when you enter a score into MyScorecard, we ask you to adjust that score for any holes where your strokes exceed that limit.
However, when you’re on the course, there is no “maximum” to take. Even a professional golfer can run up scores into the double digits. And just to prove a point, back in April of this year, Tour Player Kevin Na posted a 16 on the par 4 ninth hole at the Valero Texas Open.
Understanding how good the pros really are is best illustrated by the story of Kip Henley
All Kip Henley ever wanted was to be a tour player. His obsession began at age 5 when his mother, who worked folding boxes at the Arnold Palmer company in Chattanooga, provided her young son with a cut-off set of Arnold Palmer signature clubs.
Kip gave up his amateur status in 1982, trying tour school. No one tried harder and got less out of it than ol’ Kipper,” he said. “I paid a fortune in Q-School fees for probably 12 years.” After running out of funds, he turned to the life of a club pro and became a Class A PGA professional.
He has maintained his Class A standing with the PGA of America for years. Over the past 5 years, he made the transition to caddying for Tour Pro Brian Gay (that’s Kip in the white jumpsuit with Brian at the Masters) . In fact, Kip picked up $100,000 a couple of years ago when Gay won the FedEx/St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
Last fall, for reasons he still doesn’t understand, Kip Henley played in and won the Tennessee PGA Section championship, “even though I hadn’t broken par all year.” Talk about the blind squirrel finding a nut. “I shot 10 under for 54 holes,” Henley said. “Like I said, a miracle. I stood on the 16th hole in the final round and made birdie on 16, 17 and 18, with my hands shaking.” Continue reading