Taking a (golf) club to inequality

Flip Buys writes on what happens when the revolution reaches the greens (a satire)

Revolution on the golf course

14 September 2020

Emotions were running high at the Annual General Meeting of the Equality Golf Club. Glibb Coetzee, local human rights attorney, addressed the meeting: “Chair, this golf club is becoming the symbol of inequality in the country. It’s a shame!” A few applauded and others nodded the head. Everyone knows about Glibb’s good intentions. The Chairperson tried again: “Glibb, it’s a tragedy that Golf Heights’s champion committed suicide after losing, but it’s really most exceptional.” “Exceptional?” Glibb bellowed. “It’s the result of inequality – the umpteenth case in the world of golf this year! Media experts are claiming that golf will die if things carry on like this”.

Mr Clever, the local newspaper guy, looked down modestly when he felt all eyes were on him. H‎‎e is the ‘media experts’ referred to. Glibb carried on: “This so-called exception could have been prevented if only there had been more equality and justice in golf. We have to act now to prevent another tragedy. Now!” “But golf has a handicap system that gives weaker players an equal opportunity,” the Chair said in a semi-pleading voice”. “Equal opportunity is not real equality yet,” Glibb said threateningly. “I demand equal scores”.

The Chairperson wished the meeting were a thing of the past. He is a chicken farmer. Chickens only lay eggs and do not stand for their rights. “Glibb, so what do you really want?” he asked wearily. “We need a Charter of Golf Rights,” Glibb said with a sense of importance. “Is that not communist?” Oudominee, the retired reverend, wanted to know. “Don’t be ridiculous,” Felix, the ponytailed retired local philosopher muttered. “Silence please,” Clever said, leaning forward in his chair. He was smelling a story. If only he could publish something the Equality News he would count again. (For a moment he wondered whether that would not be unequal.)

Charter of golf rights

“We have to draft the world’s most modern charter of golf rights,” Glibb began. “Hear, hear!” the city councillor, joined by Young Missy Teacher exclaimed. “Yes,” Glibb continued, encouraged by the support. “We have to break with the old golf order, we have to break it, I’m telling you. “We should start by closing up all the holes.” “What?” Potties, the town’s best golfer, exclaimed and got to his feet. “Are you mad?” Glibb would not let himself be put off: “Golf scores only benefit the best players, encourage unhealthy competition and lead to inequality,” he said. “If Golf Heights’s champion had not lost, he would still be with us today.”

Aunt Koekie started to cry sorrowfully. She doesn’t play golf but has learnt that sad matters would be discussed here today, and she does not miss out on grief. She surreptitiously checked if Oudominee and Mr Clever saw how sad she was. “No more scores; equal points for all and everyone has to get a turn to win,” Glibb continued. By then, Potties was really angry. “Then I would not set foot on this golf course again,” he threatened. “Same here,” a few of the better players concurred. “Order!” it came from the Chair, but no one paid attention. Everyone was having a say at the same time.

Transformation for the nation

Oudominee believed the time had come to show leadership. “Friends,” he started. “Fellow golfers.” But no one listened. “Order!” Glibb bellowed. Silence fell over the room. What if Glibb came with a court case! Everyone knows he’s married to Kallie Kriel’s one aunt.

“Secondly, we must introduce new course rules that determine when, how far and with which club a shot may be played. People can’t carry on as they please. In this way, we can prevent inequality, death and injury.” “But that will never work,” the Chair interrupted him. “Nobody will play here anymore.” “Nonsense,” Felix said. “If everyone is equal and gets the same points nobody will be excluded and there will be no losers. Everyone will want to play. Now that is real transformation – for the whole golfing nation.”

Glibb continued: “Thirdly, justice requires that from now on this golf course should belong to everyone who plays on it, and those who cannot afford it do not have to pay green fees.” Oudominee nodded portentously; after all, he would know about justice.

Later that evening Glibb’s Golf Charter, proposed by Oudominee and seconded by Young Missy, was accepted with an overwhelming majority. With Aunt Koekie, overcome with emotion, still sobbing, the previous management was voted out and Glibb, Felix and Young Missy (as secretary) were voted in as the new management. Many other new rules were introduced, one being that the best players would have to pay double but must play less from then on. Eighteen course officials with wide-ranging powers were appointed to enforce the new rules.

Sadly, the club went bankrupt a year later. In celebration of equality the grounds are nowadays used for communal grazing for the community’s livestock. Meanwhile, Pottie has become the new champion of the neighbouring town.

Flip Buys is Chair, Solidarity Movement