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If Golf Were Like Shooting

By Charlie McMillion

February 1, 2002

I am a competitive shooter. My friend Bill is an accomplished golfer. We have had numerous discussions about the similarities of our respective sports. Recently, the subject turned to the hassles involved in participating in our pastimes. Bill's major complaint was the hassle involved in flying with golf clubs and the risk of them being stolen. After I finished telling him about the incredible "hassle-factor" in the shooting sports he promised to never complain again. That discussion prompted me to ponder how the golfers of America would feel if golf were like shooting. I think they would be outraged, to the point of storming the Capitol, because:

Golfers would constantly be attacked and vilified by the politically active, anti-golf crowd. These groups would stop at nothing, including radically distorting facts, to meet their ultimate goal: the prohibition of ownership of golf equipment by civilians in the U.S.

In some states, golfers would be limited to the purchase of one golf club a month. Who needs more than one club, anyway? Anyone possessing more than one club would be labeled a "golf-nut" who owned an "arsenal" of clubs.

The anti-golf crowd would scream for a ban on Big Bertha drivers, because they can hit a ball too far. At the same time, they would scream for a ban on lob wedges, because they are short and easily concealable.

New clubs would only be legally available through licensed dealers, with strict, federal oversight provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Golf Clubs.

Airlines would allow golfers to travel with their clubs, provided they were declared upon arrival and checked. Attempting to carry clubs on board an aircraft would be a federal crime. Golf balls would have to be secured in a separate, locked container, and no more than five pounds of golf balls could be checked.

Golf club manufacturers that wanted to sell their clubs in Maryland would have to hit three balls with each club, said balls to be provided to the Maryland State Police for high-tech "fingerprinting" and cataloging.

Manufacturers that wanted to sell in California would have to "drop test" their clubs. This would involve dropping every type of club to be sold, in every possible configuration of grip, shaft and head, onto concrete and ruining it.

Cutting the shaft of any golf club to a length of less than 18" would be a federal crime, as would the possession of such a "sawed-off club".

All clubs would have to be engraved by the manufacturer with a unique serial number.

Driving ranges would be subject to closure whenever homes are built within a mile.

Whenever there was a terrorist attack on the U.S., Kmart would halt sales of clubs and balls in an attempt to "insure the safety of the public". Golfers could then begin a boycott of Kmart, contributing to its demise and forcing it to file for bankruptcy protection.

In Massachusetts, golfers would have to have a license to buy balls.

In all states except Vermont, a citizen would have to have a permit to carry any golf club that was hidden from view but readily accessible. Some states would allow golfers to carry clubs in the open, but they would be subject to arrest for disturbing the peace.

All non-permit holders would have to be very careful when transporting clubs and balls. They would have to be in separate, locked containers and positioned in the vehicle so as to not be readily accessible.

Anti-golf politicians, unable to realize their agenda through legislation, would resort to suing golf club manufacturers for creating a public nuisance.

Hitting balls on your own property could be a crime.

In New York, allowing a caddy that is under the age of 18 to carry your clubs would be a crime, as would teaching anyone under 18 to handle a club.

A convicted felon, or anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor, would be prohibited from possessing golf clubs for life.

A golfer would have to be 18 to buy a long club, but 21 to buy a short one. Likewise, a golfer could buy balls when they were 18, but would have to wait until they were 21 if they intended to hit them with a short club.

It would be illegal to buy a club for someone who could not legally purchase one.

If a golfer were forced to live in public housing, they might have to agree not to own clubs or balls. They could also be subject to club searches.

If a golfer that wanted to own a machineclub (a club capable of hitting more than one ball with a single swing) would have to go through an enormous amount of paperwork, be fingerprinted, have a background check by the FBI, and pay a $200 federal transfer tax.

A golfer could ship a club to a clubsmith for repair, but short clubs would have to be sent by air.

The anti-golf groups would be calling for the development of "smart clubs". These futuristic, high-tech clubs would allow themselves to be swung only by their owners, as long as the batteries weren't dead.

Hypocritical, liberal talk show hostesses would call for a ban on civilian possession of golf clubs, while employing bodyguards who regularly engage in the game.

There would be a waiting period of up to 15 days in some states to take possession of legally-purchased clubs.

Children would be dragged from school in handcuffs for possessing tiny facsimiles of clubs and would be subject to suspension for drawing pictures of clubs or swinging objects as one would swing a club.

Ownership or possession of short clubs would be prohibited in Washington, DC -- unless you worked for the government.

There would be no legally-owned clubs in Japan, but all adult males in Switzerland would be required to keep machineclubs.

Anti-club groups would focus attention on the criminal misuse of clubs, but would totally ignore the millions of times each year clubs are used legitimately.

Journalist Carl Rowan would decry the private ownership of clubs. Then he would use his own privately-owned club to hit balls at teenagers on his property.

Churches and civic groups would sponsor club buy-back and amnesty turn-ins. Clubs collected through these efforts would be melted down -- or simply disappear from the police property room, likely into someone's private club collection.

There would be bans on production and ownership of "assault clubs". These clubs would be functionally no different than other clubs, they would just look like they could hit more balls.

The first act of fascist dictators would be to take the clubs away from the populace.

The anti-club crowd would try the backdoor strategy of having the EPA close down driving ranges because the core of a golf ball is toxic when consumed.

Hollywood liberals would condemn the private ownership of clubs, all the while making fortunes producing movies that glorify wanton golf club violence. These movies would contain egregious technical errors concerning clubs, such as showing a ball in flight while still in its box.

A British-owned club manufacturer would sign onto a traitorous deal with the US government in exchange for special consideration in federal club purchase contracts.

Pickup trucks would have golf club racks in the rear windows.

Anti-club groups would cook data and declare that home-owners are 43 times more likely to hit a friend or a family member with their club than to use it properly.

People would be relatively free to own and use clubs, and could even send them through the US mail, until the government passed the massive Golf Club Control Act.

Some employers would prohibit clubs in vehicles on their property. If golfers worked for such a company and wanted to go to the local range to hit balls during lunch, they would have to drive home, get their clubs, go to the range, and drive back home to drop the clubs off again before returning to work.

The United Nations would sponsor massive club collections and would run the clubs over with tanks. They would condemn the US for not participating in global small-clubs control.

Nitwitted anti-club politicians would carelessly swing clubs over the heads of reporters during press conferences while espousing the dangers of club ownership. When questioned about their handling of the clubs, they would respond "I knew the club was empty. The State Police would never hand me a loaded club".

Senator McCain would introduce legislation to close a non-existent club show loophole.

School golf teams and tournaments would be a thing of the past. Old-timers would fondly remember the days when students would actually take their clubs to school for practice, but the thought of using them to hurt someone was the farthest things from their minds.

Yet, golfers would be told they should feel lucky, because in many countries there is a complete ban on golf club ownership.

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