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Golf: The Road to Hell

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland
“Fairways to heaven? My experience of playing golf is more a road to hell” So reads Dan Jones’ headline which contains a large photograph of the gentleman directly beneath his, some would say and especially golfers, rather daring suggestion.
On giving up
Dan appears to be a fine-looking youngish man and doesn’t appear to be a quitter and yet he writes, “I gave up after a couple of months and I haven’t looked back. You may ask what I plan to do in my retirement; Cryptic crosswords and crown bowls will do me just fine.”
As we know the origins of the game are shrouded in mystery and Dan reminds us that, “Back in the 15th century, when golf was first getting going in the British Isles, the Scottish parliament — progressive then, as it is now — called for it to be “utterly cried down and not used” (i.e., condemned and stopped.)” However I find it hard to believe this great game was designed to break one’s spirit and I quote.
“Trying to hit a little white ball miles towards — and less frequently into — a hole the size of a Sprite can is hard. Infuriatingly hard. Golf is a game designed to break your spirit and convince you of the awesome hopelessness of your own mortality. It is physically and temperamentally exposing.”
Existential angst
Dan writes, “In the past decade golf participation and golf club membership have fallen sharply. As a nation it seem we are seeking existential angst elsewhere. You can experience quite a lot of inadequacy and despair from just looking at Instagram, which saves a fortune in green fees and spiky shoes.”  
And concludes, “Anecdotal evidence, I realise. But not promising for those who wish to preserve golf. After half a millennium of torment, perhaps it’s time to let it wither away.”
Link to Dan Jones 
Let the record show 
The exact words regarding, “utterly cried down and not used”
And please note it was not just golfers who were given a hard time.
Extract from the Act of 6 March 1457
'Item it is ordanyt and decretyt that Wapinschawing be haldin be ye lordis and baronys spirituale and temporale four tymes in ye yeir. And [th]at ye futebawe and ye golf be uterly cryt done and not usyt And [th]at ye bowe markes be maid at all parochkirks a pair of butts And schuting be usyt ilk Sunday ... And touchand ye futebaw and ye golf We ordane it to be punyst be ye baronys unlaw. And if he tak it not to be tain be ye kings officars.

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