Through a long and arduous dig in the Amazon rain forest, a team of archaeologists slowly worked to reveal the glory of an ancient lost city. With each day, new wonders were revealed—broad boulevards, mighty pyramids and hidden treasures. The builders of the city apparently had worked for centuries with the most primitive of tools, building towers and temples and creating art that left even the most jaded amazed. That they would work so hard for so long was incomprehensible.
Still, one feature puzzled the archaeologists. On the outskirts of the city, they uncovered the outlines of what appeared to be a park, with broad walking paths bordered by drainage ditches—and every so often, a slightly elevated, flat topped mound. Further, some of those mounds appeared to have holes in which to put posts—perhaps for aligning to the sun in some sort of ceremony. They were, the archaeologists supposed, an ancient calendar.
The mystery continued until the archaeologists managed to uncover a small temple at one end of the park. Inside, they found a mosaic showing people strolling up the paths holding bags of sticks. Then it dawned on the archaeologists that the park actually was an ancient golf course. The mounds were the remains of greens; the holes weren’t for posts, but for flags and; the temple was actually a clubhouse.
Stunned by their discovery, the archaeologists visited the local tribe to determine if there were any oral traditions regarding the game. There were, and it appeared that the game had been played for centuries before giving it up altogether.
“But why would they give it up,” an archaeologist pressed. “With all the work, surely it must have been a welcome leisure.”
“It’s not too hard to understand,” said a village elder. “The game was just too hard.”