While I once despised Happy Gilmore’s archrival, Shooter McGavin, I now see he had a point: “This is golf, not a rock concert!”
Alright, brace yourselves because I’ve decided to wear my hater hat today. Plus, I’ve thrown in a bit of gatekeeping just to be even more insufferable. But please, hear me out: Between the frat bros, designer fashion labels and DJ Khaled screaming down the fairway, golf culture has become unbearable. And although I fear I may be walking a lonely road with this tongue-in-cheek rant, I’m going to give it a crack anyway.
To be completely transparent, I’m writing this from the perspective of a guy in his early 30s, often known for enjoying too much of a good time. I mention this because I don’t want to come across as another boomer critic lamenting the past but as someone who doesn’t feel a fake music producer should be the face of golf. That title will always belong to the one and only Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.
Then vs Now
Golf was once synonymous with elitism and exclusivity, emblematic of a bygone era when the privileged few enjoyed leisurely rounds together and laughed at the state of the poor. While it’s great to see the game has moved past this (probably accurate) stereotype, it seems we’ve made a complete 180-degree turn. What was once revered as a gentleman’s sport has now evolved into a spectacle marred by shallow trends, debauchery and ostentatious displays of wealth.
I blame COVID.
Amidst the pandemic, golf oddly became one of the few outlets people could turn to. Consequently, countless individuals who would have otherwise scoffed at the game as “stupid” or “boring” found themselves on the course, seeking any excuse to leave their homes. This sudden surge in popularity revealed the unexpected joy of the game to the unwashed masses (kidding). Yet, for pearl-clutching purists like myself, it marked a grim turning point, tarnishing the game with an influx of … newcomers.
The Frat Bros were the first to sink their white claw-loving claws into the game. They don’t just enjoy a hit and giggle; they’ve turned the sport into a sordid spectacle, transforming the serene nature of the golf course into a boisterous beer-soaked carnival. For them, golf is merely a flimsy excuse to indulge in their favourite pastime: getting tanked. And with the widespread desire to go viral on social media, its impact has become even more significant.
While I believe people should enjoy a drink on the golf course, there’s a line when it starts affecting others. Golf cart hooning, hitting up on others, or aggressive behaviour from former high school jock douchebags—it’s all too common. If you haven’t witnessed it in person, go online and see this celebration of degeneracy for yourself. It seems like every Barstool Sports-loving beer gut has decided to make the full 18 holes an extension of the pub. Sorry boys, bin yourself.
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In the age of golf’s sudden surge, fashion brands have shamelessly hopped on the bandwagon, turning the sport into their latest money-maker. Now, we’re bombarded with designer labels slapping their logo on apparel and accessories, adding another layer of unnecessary glitz to the game. This cash grab has, unsurprisingly, also attracted a swarm of Hypebeasts eager to transform the golf course into their runway for a “fit-check” moment.
Let’s face it: no one cares about your Gucci golf bag if your swing looks straight out of a bargain bin. Initially, I found it exciting to see the traditionally square golf world embraced by the fashionable crowd. However, it’s now transformed into yet another platform for narcissistic celebrities and the wealthy to “flex” their latest “drip”. So spare us the spectacle and focus on fixing that glaring slice off the tee.
I have to get this off my chest – I’ve had enough of the DJ Khaled content. If I have to hear one more bloke scream, “Let’s Golf” or “Straight down the middle”, I’ll start playing lawn bowls. Mr Khaled perfectly sums up modern golf, combining all the obnoxious behaviour of frat bros with the flashy demeanour of every fashion faker. I get it; he’s the lovable, chubby, funny guy, but let’s be honest, you wouldn’t want to be paired with a bloke like that for a full round. But perhaps most annoyingly, the 47-year-old has miraculously never hit a bad shot in his life. We The Best, right?
We shouldn’t be surprised; this guy built a career pretending to be a professional music producer, and now he’s pretending to be a professional golfer. Newsflash: everyone struggles with the game, mate. Why pretend you’re some prodigy? Is this all about riding the latest trend for views and attention? While his passion may indeed be genuine, his behaviour has a detrimental influence on others.
So for everyone, including DJ Khaled, kindly lower your voice, switch off your phone camera, and suffer through a gruelling 18 holes just like the rest of us hacks. And next time you’re teeing it up, always remember to ask yourself: WWTD? The answer is below.
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