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Jay Lacklen: Golf: hunting refined




Testosterone and evolution have driven males into the woods to procure for the family. 


This is seldom required today, yet men are still driven to do something along those lines, we just can''t seem to help ourselves. 


Many in rural areas continue to hunt with rifles and bows and build much of their recreational time around hunting. 


But in cities and suburbia, males have a quandary. The deer, turkeys and doves are not to be found in their neighborhood, nor are firearm discharges allowed in more densely populated areas. 


It seems golf has become a refined evolution for the hunting instincts that afflict males where doves and bucks become birdies and eagles. 


The similarities are numerous and telling. 


Both activities are centered around a form of shooting, either bullets or little white balls; both use a metal instrument to shoot; practice for this shooting is conducted at a range; both often employ a small motorized cart for transportation; both can produce profane outbursts when a shot goes awry; (blame for such poor shots is invariably placed on the metal instrument instead of the shooter); both often involve imbibing alcohol while doing the shooting, or immediately after; and both result in later detailed exploit recounting and valued male bonding with admiring male friends. 


In some ways, however, the hunting imperative takes similar yet varied form. 


Attire requirements are in some ways directly opposite. Hunters wear camouflage while golfers go for color and occasional ridiculous sartorial foppery. Both hunting strains wear caps of some sort emblazoned with symbols of their activity. For hunters this might be Remington, Smith & Wesson, or Mossy Oak; for golfers we find Titleist, Taylor, or Ping. 


I suppose such plumage is meant to ensure females know just what sort of shooter the male purports to be, as if there could be any question at this point. These hats are often worn outside the field of play to ensure everyone knows where the shooter would rather be. 


This field of play provides the most striking difference within the similarities. 


Hunting revels in a return to pristine nature, a primal contest conducted in the wild by humans for a hundred thousand years, a generational bonding experience wired into male brains. Hours spent among brilliant autumn leaves and along gurgling and cascading streams and rivers provide an imperative escape from cubicles, deadlines, and the mechanized world. 


Golf, however, has altered that natural environment into a controlled and differently beautiful landscape. Golf courses are nature tamed and shaped by man to challenge his abilities in the game. 


Courses recall manicured estates and allow the golfer to imagine he is strolling that estate as a lord. While not excluded, the natural environment of woods and forest floor coverings are interspersed among the grass-carpeted fairways as challenges and as penalties for a lack of control. 


Golf does demand more of the hunter-male in one aspect, however. The golfer must excel on his field with his entire repertoire of instruments, from a driver to a putter and with an assortment of clubs in between. This would equate to a hunter routinely employ a rifle, a shotgun, a pistol and derringer against each quarry with equal skill, something that is seldom done. 


So, you women, humor your poor male in his hunter mode. No matter what form the hunt takes, we are powerless before it and often unable to resist it. But, fear not, we shall return to the tribal abode in time for Monday Night Football. 


Lacklen is a retired Air Force Reserve pilot, who flew missions in Vietnam and Iraq. Presently he is simulator instructor at CAFB and is writing a book about his experiences in the Air Force. His e-mail address is [email protected] 




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