Range Bag vol. I
What do we do when there's a creative lull and other things don't go according to plan? We tap in super hard with the community, correct. This is Range Bag: a new editorial series with the express intent of capturing the hearts and minds of the golf community through the tried-and-true form of AMA. Nothing can go wrong.
I simply don't have the foresight to know how frequently this will happen, but let's call it bi-monthly (twice per month), and see what happens. My sincerest thanks to everyone who sent in their questions, and for those who I didn't get to, I'm sorry—we'll try again next round.
@christinefaserdesign: How do you justify loving such a historically misogynistic, bigoted, racist sport as you do?
We’re starting the series with this question, because I take it entirely seriously, and it is something I’m constantly sparring with. There’s a quick defense I’ve used, admittedly, which is that golf—the sport, the game, the turf, the club, and the ball—knows nothing about us. Golf doesn’t know what we look like, or how we sound, or who we are in love with. Golf doesn’t keep us outside the gates, doesn’t set its greens fees. Golf doesn’t know how you play, or why you play, or what clothes you wear on its fairways. And I think that if golf had any idea how we’ve treated it, how we’ve used it to reinforce ideas of who belongs and who doesn’t, it would be really, really fucking pissed off.
I love this sport because I’ve seen firsthand how it can bring people from wildly different backgrounds and belief systems together and laugh with one another, support one another. I love it because it can bring you to every corner of the world, or keep you coming back to the same one every week, and have just as much fun. I love it because, ultimately, it doesn’t love me back, and it took me too long to realize that for me to justify walking away now. Most importantly, I love it so much that I want to make it better.
@hypegolf: Do you bring the entire bag to the range? And do you bring golf shoes?
I rarely practice at the driving range, and when I do, my main intention typically is to have a laugh, shake off rust, or just enjoy the time outside. As my proud membership to the Weird Swing Club™ might suggest, I’m not the most technically-minded player, so I’ve never fully understood “range sessions” to mean meticulously working on every club in the bag. I bring my whole bag, sure, but I’ll usually hit a few pitch shots, then work upwards through the odd-numbered irons, and then smack the driver around a few times. This typically only gets me through half of my Range Bag (™).
What really gets me giddy during a driving range session is that second half of balls. I spend that time expressly having fun with punch shots, trying to nail a stinger or two, or working to flop a 60 degree wedge delicately onto the top of the range cart. Yes, I’m still twelve. As for footwear, I’ll mainly roll up in trainers, or go barefoot and say it's to work on balance.
@bradfordwilsongolf: What’s your favorite era of golf fashion/style?
Metalwood Studio. No, really. There’s an Easter Eggy tongue-in-cheek bent to the current adoption of ‘90s and early ‘00s fashion sensibilities, but there’s something delicious about the lack of irony that some of those players fitted themselves with. Some of the Poulter and Daly stylings were simply atrocious, but at least they took chances.
More seriously, my favorite era of golf fashion hasn’t rolled in on a large scale yet, but is starting to rear its head—one that pulls on postmodern concepts, which is to say subjective meaning, individual expression, and the challenging of gender norms, among other principles. In essence, the best era of golf fashion will be when “dress code” solely refers to what you, personally, make of it. Basically, I’m vowing right now to wear more dresses on the golf course, because it has to start somewhere.
@ramshillwil: What are the top 3-5 “golf smells”?
This is a timely question, and one I partially addressed in Gratitude. One of the most interesting smells on the golf course comes from mowers—specifically, it’s the combination of grass clippings with gasoline exhaust. Poetically, I’m fascinated by that sensory experience: the duality of something alive and beautiful, with something inorganic and fuming; the marriage of raw nature and our imposition on it.
The smell of salty sea air at an oceanside course is really tough to beat. When paired with a dramatic cliff to peer over, it’s a cheat code.
Lastly, one of my favorite words is petrichor, which has a real connection to golf. Petrichor is the sweet, earthy smell that rises from the ground, during the first rain after a long period of dry weather in the summer. There’s a ton of nostalgia connected to that smell for me: ducking under the trees to wait out the passing storm, and reemerging as the ground seethes and steams. It’s really cinematic, and I love singular words that describe such specific concepts. Keep your nose open for this smell.
@safariiliiz: How can golf clubs be better at combating climate change?
The only thing that golf courses can do to effectively combat climate change is not exist—we have to start accepting that reality. Between resource spend, and use of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals, golf courses operate on environmentally shaky footing. Water is a fleeting resource, and the way it's used in natural desert regions in the US is entirely unsustainable; I recently played a golf course in New Mexico, which had recently come off a year-long hiatus due to drought.
It's not all a dumpster fire—some courses are taking steps to lessen their environmental impact. Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore will become the world’s first carbon neutral golf course in 2022, as a portion of revenue over the next twelve months will be set aside to support carbon offsets purchases by the club. Bandon Dunes is taking steps to reduce plastic waste at the resort, and protect native plants and water sources in its community.
The grand scale isn't pretty, though, and more attention needs to be paid to this issue in the golf industry, to which I can say… I’m working on it.