Though we are still living in a very restricted society in terms of work, travel, and recreation, one thing that has already returned to normal is golf. While most sporting activities are still out of the question, the good-walk-spoiled around a manicured swathe of former countryside has been permitted once again for the last couple of weeks. I think it’s fair enough to hold off on restarting full-contact sports like rugby, football, and hurling, and golf is the polar opposite of any of those. But why are other non-contact sports not allowed? Say, for example, running and cycling events? The Dublin Marathon, which was not due to take place for another five months, has been completely cancelled. Many other such events have been postponed or also cancelled outright. Running events, even those months from now, are off the table altogether, but golf is already allowed.
Sure, in golf the players are much more spread out. But if there is still a concern about large groups of people, running events can have staggered starts. They thin out in no time anyway. Conceding that the Dublin Marathon is a massive event, most other running events in Ireland are far far smaller however, and so this would be perfectly manageable.
Still though, golf is more the preserve of those in rather exclusive circles. I don’t mean that everyone that plays is an elitist, but it is an activity much treasured by the big movers and shakers in business, politics, law etc. Many a deal, whether above board or not, has been struck over a round of golf. It comes as no surprise that a hobby favoured by the cabals that make the decisions about running the country has got special dispensation.
Us lowly scumbags will have to wait longer to enjoy our sporting pastimes.
I had these thoughts in mind a few days ago while passing Galway golf club, and noticing the Pringle-kitted masses sauntering along the fairways. It then went completely out of my head, and I was only prompted to think about golf again when I heard about how the Laytown and Bettystown golf club has started using traps to snare and kill rabbits. So not only do golf courses take away huge amounts of land from the natural ecology, but also now kill wildlife that dares to venture onto their sacred ground. None of this surprises me, despite the fact that other courses use technology such as ultra-sonic repellent to keep undesirables away. This course opts for good old-fashioned slaughter though. What I did find blackly amusing in this was the course management’s response to animal rights activists, stating that they are “entitled to control the rabbit population on their property and accordingly are employing humane measures in order to keep the environment safe for us all” [emphasis mine].
Keep the environment safe for us all? Are they telling us that they and their club members consider rabbits – rabbits – a threat? What are they basing this on? Were they traumatised after watching Monty Python and The Holy Grail? Do they not know the difference between the Rabbit of Caerbannog and the rabbits of County Louth?
Anyway, in the end, the leporiphobes get to pursue their semi-sporting endeavour, while the rest of us shit-shovellers have to wait indefinitely until our pastimes can resume. One rule for us, one for them.