With the Golfing world in a frenzy this week during the US Masters tournament, we examine just how yoggish the sport is.
For many, golf is just an activity where rich people hit a little ball around a park for 5+ hours. One can be forgiven for thinking that golf is not a YOG sport due its slow-paced nature, and whose participants, even Professionals, aren’t always the most athletic specimens.
But when you look at it, golf is a very simple concept with extremely complex elements requiring precision and the constant application of the laws of physics.
This requirement for precision can be extremely frustrating, particularly for the beginner, and a high level of patience and focus is needed. But it is the challenge of mastering this degree of difficulty which makes it so Yoggish. It is quite normal that all it takes is one perfect shot out of a hundred shots and you’re hooked.
Rules and Traditions
Golf involves many strict rules which rival that of a catholic private school. The main problem with this is the constant cheating that occurs either through lack of knowledge or blatant disregard for the rules and limited enforcement of these rules, especially with so many trees and golfers going off in their own direction! (unless you’re playing in a professional tournament). This cheating, is obviously not the way of the YOG, neither is being bound by so many restrictions!
Their are also traditions and etiquette dating back hundreds of years, particularly in certain golf clubs, including dress codes. There are the non-yoggish types of tradition, such as the inequality between gender, social class and race (although these boundaries are being broken down little by little making golf more accessible).
But there are also some pretty cool traditions built around respect for others. Take the US Masters tournament for example…
– No running is allowed on the course to discourage patrons from hustling to get into better viewing positions, and distracting the players.
– Shouting is not allowed either even after a player has taken his shot as this could distract players.
– There is a tradition that if a spectator sets down their chair and leaves it for extended periods of time, it will not be moved or taken by anybody else, no matter how long it has been there.
Collared shirts, belted pants or ‘plus fours’ and two-tone shoes…Thanks to dress codes imposed by golf clubs, golf fashion for the most part is, NOT yoggish.
But there are increasing efforts to work within and even push the dress code boundaries to make the kind of gear that allows YOGs to wear comfortably while expressing themselves (demonstrated here by future YOG Ricky Fowler).
YOGs are always up for a laugh. One thing the game of golf doesn’t lack is good healthy banter, particularly when things get competitive. I can’t count how many times I’ve hit a putt too softly and heard “Oh, does your husband play golf too?”
Golf even has its own language. There are many words and expressions to describe the elements and results of shots. Some of my favorites include:
Joe Pesci: A nasty little 5 footer (putt distance)
John Wayne Bobbit: A nasty slice and ended up short.
Moped scooter: A shot that gets you there, but you’re not very proud of it.
Rock Hudson: Looked straight but it wasn’t.
YOG role models
As mentioned earlier, golf doesn’t necessarily demand superior athleticism as much as skill, focus and nerves of steel. This means there are many top professional players you wouldn’t consider YOGs from a physical aspect. Yet one thing is certain, and that is players are able to compete at the top level well into their YOG years, in some cases their 50s and 60s.
The ability of these pros to manipulate the flight of a golf ball as if on a string, combined with the mental toughness to maintain focus for each shot, on each hole for 4 – 5 hours, doing this consistently for 4 days straight is nothing short of pure YOGness.
However, there are definitely important physical traits necessary to be the best including flexibility, strength and power, and the new generation of players coming through are changing the physical appearance and typical shape of the pro golfer.
Golfers also make money, lots of money. It is not uncommon to see extremely generous acts of philanthropy and many foundations established by YOG golfers for great causes which are really making a difference.
Top 5 YOGs of the 2014 Masters
There are a bunch of players competing in this year’s Masters tournament with more YOG qualities than you could poke a stick at, yet they just fall short of YOG age. With players like defending Champion Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Trevor Immelman all becoming of YOG age in the next couple of years, the future is looking bright for the YOGness of golf.
But if we look at the +35s who are competing this weekend, for us, these are the yoggy cream of the crop:
5. MIGUEL ANGEL JIMINEZ
Yes, even gingers can be YOGs. While the often cigar toting Spaniard may not be the ultimate picture of health, 50 year old Senor Jiminez is a character who always looks like he’s having fun, and seems to lift the spirits of those around him.
Masters Wins: 0 *Odds to win 2014 Masters: 200/1
4. BEN CRENSHAW
At 62, ‘Gentle Ben’ is still mixing it with the best. He has a calm demeanor and one of the best putting games on tour. But Ben will probably be most remembered for his marriage to a hot swimsuit model!
Masters Wins: 2 (1984, 1995) *Odds to win 2014 Masters: N/A – didn’t make cut for round 3
3. DARREN CLARKE
Another YOG who loves a pint and a laugh. That unmistakable Irish smile is a testiment to the 45 year olds outlook on life, despite losing his wife to breast cancer in 2006.
Masters Wins: 0 *Odds to win 2014 Masters: 500/1
2. BUBBA WATSON
At 35, Bubba just scrapes in as a YOG. It’s fitting too that Bubba, once hampered by anger issues, has now overcome them and settled down ready to excel in his YOG years. This doesn’t mean he takes himself too seriously, as demonstrated by this boy band music video he starred made for charity…
Masters Wins: 1 (2012) *Odds to win 2014 Masters: 3/1
1. FREDDIE COUPLES
You’ll be hard pressed to find anybody who doesn’t like this YOG, particularly among the female population. If this guy was any more laid back he’d be in a coma. His yoggish persona can be demonstrated by his range of golf shoes which push the boundaries of the traditional.
The 54 year old American seems to always be in the hunt at the Masters, probably aided by the fact he is a crowd favorite year after year. Heading into round 3 he is well placed for a top ten finish. And even if he doesn’t win the Green Jacket this year, he’ll have won the hearts of the Augusta faithfuls, and will have done us YOGs proud as always.
Masters Wins: 1 (1992) *Odds to win 2014 Masters: 50/1
*Odds after Round 2 of competition