Not good enough. I can see the ball.


Here is the text of a letter that I will be sending to the Greens Committee at my club:

September 7, 2012


Greens Committee:


There has been a fair amount of grumbling about the length of the rough here at the club.  I am writing to disagree with this pathetic whining.

It needs to be longer.

I offer as my first piece of evidence my own success in getting up and down for par in a few isolated instances recently.  I ask you, why should that be allowed to happen?  Such an outcome completely upends the implicit intentions of our course’s design.  If I do manage to get on a green in regulation it should only be as a prelude to three-putting, and if I do miss a green, I should be punished for doing so.  Why should I, or anybody else for that matter, be allowed to enjoy himself while playing this course?  What a crazy and weird notion.

My business life in real estate is a sequence of aggravating and frustrating missteps and delays: incompetent contractors, excessively rigorous underwriters and overly bureaucratic counterparties.  Why should my chosen form of recreation be any different?  Imagine how unsettling Mondays would feel if I were to return to work having frittered away my weekend having tasted success and enjoying myself.  I need to stay in shape for a challenging and sometimes harsh world and our rough helps me keep my expectations at an appropriately low level.

There are other benefits as well.  Five minutes is not a long time, but several of these search and rescue interludes do add up to a meaningful pause in the action, and I cherish the extra time I have had to learn more about my playing partners’ life stories as we meander over hill and dale searching for balls that may have wandered only a few feet off line.  I have also developed a better appreciation for other pursuits or lines of work.  I have never hunted for truffles or panned for gold, but now I know what it feels like to spend one’s time on a challenging and often fruitless search.  I think that this, in a small way, makes me a more empathetic and better person, and I owe it all to our rough.

My fellow members, we need to draw a line in the grass here.  If we give in to these complaints, what will be next?  Smiling and laughter are like cell phones: there is no place for them on a golf course.  Let it grow, let it grow, my friends.  Let that wet, thick, glossy grass swallow up our Titleists and Bridgestones!  Let it grow so that we sink up to our ankles in it!  Let it soak our socks and the cuffs of our trousers!  Let it twist and grab our clubfaces so that shots angle even further off-target and into even more remote patches of rough!

Please, I beg you, do not give in to those who would compromise the golfing experience that we have come to expect as members of this club.


Yours in suffering,



Paul Staley