Loyal reader Grays On Trays points out a good piece by Jay Nordlinger in National Review Online called Hail To The Golfer In Chief. Actually, the original article is in the January 25, 2010 issue of National Review, which you can only read online if you’re a paid NRO site member. But Nordlinger’s blog entry, Obama’s Healthy Habit, elaborates on his themes and is a sufficient read.
Nordlinger says that—unlike some more liberal critics—Obama’s golf habit is “one of the best things I know about him.” He then goes on to reflect upon the often negative and unfair images of golf, particularly as they relate to politics.
For this blog’s purposes, however, I’m perhaps most interested to see that Nordlinger is a Michigan guy, who learned the game on Michigan’s democratic (small “d”) courses:
I pretty much grew up in golf, on the munis of Ann Arbor, Mich. (A “muni,” in golf-talk, is a municipal golf course.) I also worked at a couple of these courses. And golf was — is — a thoroughly democratic game. Everybody played. Young and old, male and female, wealthy and broke, respectable and scoundrelly. We had hippies and druggies, in tie-dyed shirts and sandals. We had grimy, tattooed union members. We had snotty left-wing professors from the University of Michigan. We had rednecks from the sticks. We had Korean immigrants who could barely speak English. And so on.
The whole world came by these golf courses, and all were united, a bit — not to get too sappy — by this game. Such a glorious game, and an equalizer. On the golf course, the only thing that matters is the game.
I might mention, too, that, on the courses of Greater Detroit, there was a whole, wonderful world of black hustling — I mean gambling and the like. I was lucky enough to be introduced to this world. It is very far from, say, Oakland Hills Country Club, the marquee course in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. But it is certainly golf — a game that contains multitudes. Those who think that golf is a pastime for uptight WASPs should get out more. But uptight WASPs — as well as relaxed ones — are part of humanity too, remember. If you prick them, won’t they bleed?
The whole Nordlinger piece sort of rambles, but it’s worth the read.