Dirty Talk About Golf

March 19, 2009

Is golf a dirty word these days? Dave Shedloski explored the question in Golf World's March 16 issue, supported by Ron Sirak's interview with Congressman Barney Frank, who had wildly criticized Northern Trust for entertainment at its tournament in LA. In an accompanying letter Golf Digest Publication's Chairman Jerry Tarde defended the sport, quoting, among others, H.L. Mencken, who defined golf as "conspicuous leisure" and a demagogue as "one who preaches doctrines he know to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." "These two definitions converged this year," wrote Tarde, "when Washington's elite rebuked the corporate golf junket known as the PGA Tour."

The pieces drew lots of mail, most of it supportive.

__Dear Editor, As a reader who fondly recalls H.L. Mencken it is most pleasing to read one of his quotes in Mr. Tarde's editorial piece. Tarde's letter is very timely in its effort to educate the nay-sayers about the effects of professional golf. Golf simply is better and cleaner than any other sport. Marshall Stewart>

Fort Worth, Texas__

__Dear Editor,>

I would like to compliment Golf World on the in-depth article and Jerry Tarde's editorial on my interpretation of the government interfering with free enterprise. Both pieces were well done. In these very trying times the Congress must remember their purpose of existence from the Constitution. I can't find anywhere where it mentions running the nation's businesses.__

Jim Kamerzell T

Tucson, AZ

__Dear Editor,>

The Chairman's Letter, "It's Time For a Pause in the Action", and Dave Shedloski's>

"Why Golf Is a Dirty Word in Washington" were two of the most well written arguments on the subject that I have read. These articles hopefully will help inform the uninformed, pompous, and know-it-all Washington politicians who were the primary cause of the economic down turn in the housing market. __

Golf is one of the purist forms of sports competition, and entrepreneurial ship, that as these articles state, hire millions, and raise millions of dollars for charity, and communities. I hope the politicians will not ruin golf as they have so many other

things. Hands off, Washington!

Barnie Baker

Augusta, GA

P.S. I have decided today to renew my GW subscription. BB


Dear Editor,>

This is all so true and it is why so many of us wonder why these people continue to go after so many of the good things that we have going in our country. This smells like class warfare and it is the basis of the Socialist movement. Keep up the fight.


Neil and Marian Farris

__Dear Editor,>

I do so look forward to my copy of Golf World, I consume the magazine for golf news. It is my hope that you can imagine my disappointment at the political commentary (Golf sponsors become and easy target and Why is Golf a Dirty word in Washington). Please stick to golf, we have far to many self proclaimed political pundits.>

Tim Cottrill>

Cincinnati, OH__

__Dear Editor,>

Jerry Tarde quotes Thomas L. Friedman as saying, "No, I am not for bankers using taxpaper money to buy private jets," yet Friedman believes it's necessary to use those taxpayer dollars to keep the hospitality industry afloat so that blue-collar workers such as dishwashers, cooks, and maids remain employed. __

That's a noble thought, but Gulfstream, whose plant is right next to the golf course where I teach, just laid off 1,200 workers. Shame on you, Mr. Friedman, for making such a thoughtless statement. Or, do you not care about blue-collar private jet employees?

Mark Harman

Teaching Professional

Crosswinds Golf Club

Savannah, Georgia

Thanks, all, for your letters. That last, by Mark Harman, illustrates how difficult it is to isolate any part of the marketplace by class. We're all in this together, the work force and the jet set (a point Friedman, ironically, was making). As Jerry said in his letter: "Pause is what's needed...The best stimulus package is a robust golf economy because nobody out-travels, outspends or out-contributes a golfer."

--Bob Carney