Thursday, November 29, 2018

Therapy through golf and art

 Stanley - Thursday

I love golf! Theoretically, it is an easy game. Unlike most ball sports, the ball is stationary when you hit it. How hard can that be? And when you reach the green, the hole is on a well manicured surface where the ball rolls smoothly. All you have to do is hit the ball from the tee, where you are allowed to place the ball on a peg to lift it off the ground, play in the direction of the green, and when you get there, roll the ball into the hole. Simple. Then do this eighteen times.

So, why is it so appealing and so frustrating?

I love the fact that in order to score well you have to be consistent over about 4 hours and around 80 swings at the ball. A mistake in course management or an errant swing results in you having to have even more swings at the ball. And suddenly your score has risen to 90. My course management is pretty good, but my consistency is pretty bad. Perhaps because I start thinking of how to murder someone halfway through a round. Or how to catch a witch doctor.

Golf is really a game of the mind. Certainly, you have to hit the ball consistently; certainly you have to walk three or four miles (unless you are young, when it seems you have to use a cart); certainly you have to know how to adjust your swing in windy conditions. But what influences your score the most is your mind. My mind often does me in because it wanders and loses focus. But for many people, a bad shot results in frustration, and several bad shots can cause anger and, in occasional cases, the throwing of the club. I love playing against people like that because I can often beat them even if they are better hitters of the ball. I don't lose my temper. I am resigned to occasional awful shots.

The other interesting thing about golf is that even though you are playing against yourself, it is very easy to let your opponent's play influence you. Opponent hits a great shot a metre from the hole, and suddenly adrenaline courses through your body tempting you to play a shot that you shouldn't. Strokes added. Hole lost.

Unlike many golfers, I play a round, enjoy it, and put it behind me. I never sit at the bar afterwards replaying each shot - 'If I'd only . . .' or 'My second at the fifth . . .'

For the most part, golf is my therapy.

If I can't get onto a golf course when I'm going through a rough patch, I use my art works to help me through. Generally the more abstract the piece, the more it settles me. I've wondered a lot about why that is. Why doesn't a Bosschaert or a Monet have a more profound impact on me than, say, a Picasso or a Songe kifwebe mask?

Ambrosius Bosschaert - not in Trollip collection!

Claude Monet - not in Trollip collection!

Pablo Picasso - not in Trollip collection! I wish!

Songe kifwebe mask - Trollip collection!
And why does a three-dimensional art work - a mask or figure - impact me more than a two-dimensional one? Certainly, the tactile element of a sculpture is part of the reason, but I don't really know the answer. I just know it is true.

Mkonde spirit sculpture - Trollip collection!
Shona sun sculpture - Trollip collection!
My favourite lion - Trollip collection!
Recently I found the ultimate therapy for my down days! An artistic golf course!

The Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, next to the Walker Art Centre, has installed a miniature golf course with each hole designed and created by a Minnesota artist. It is funky, colourful, and challenging. And the cherry on the top is that the 'green' fees go to help a good cause.

Here is my therapist's couch.

Sculpture Garden

Sculpture Garden

Iconic sculpture


Mette doesn't need therapy! 

Thanks, Doc.


  1. I suspect that you like for more abstract art and sculpture is that they 'engage' the mind more than photo-realistic art. Photo-realistic can be pretty, attractive, etc, but "it's all out there," so the mind doesn't engage.

  2. Golf is very silly. Bring the wee flag nearer the hole, make the whole bigger, hit it with a bigger stick and get the entire game over in less than an hour. It was invented by lazy Scottish men who didn't want to go home and do the ironing.

    Jamie's handicap is now plus 6.5. He doesn't do any ironing. Ever.

  3. I can't wait to see him play. He'd have to give me beaucoup shots.

  4. Ahh, golf. How I once loved the game. My philosophy though was that if I was going to spend 4 hours walking around lugging a bag of clubs--and paying significant amounts for the privilege of doing so--I wanted to get my money's worth of shots out of the experience. Somehow my partners didn't have the same philosophy, so I moved on to free diving...

  5. As I have told you right to your face, Stab, I think golf is not a game but an obsession. Madness lies in that direction. Miniature golf however is great fun. Next time I am in Minneapolis....

  6. Güzel bir yazı olmuş tebrikler :