Golf and golfers not so snooty


Sir, – Malachy Clerkin’s diatribe on the evils of golf contained more cheap shots than your average session in Wetherspoon’s (Tipping Point, July 10th). What is it with the paper of record and golf? Only recently, Ian O’Riordan actually questioned whether it was a sport at all, preferring to see it as a “pastime.” Clerkin dredges up the usual lame guff about dodgy jumpers and clubhouse snobbery but you only need to consider how a similar critique of Gaelic Games would go down with readers to see how weird and inappropriate it is for a sports writer to single out a particular sport for ridicule and abuse.

Imagine a soccer journalist taking aim at the GAA: satirising its grandiose claims to represent the soul of the nation; ridiculing its minuscule fan base beyond this island; having a laugh at the thin line separating manly striving and street-brawling; snorting at the hand-pass as possibly the sissiest manoeuvre in all sport. There would be war! Golf, an international sport in a way that GAA will never be, ill-deserves Clerkin’s juvenile malice.

As for the substance of the piece, there was none, beyond suggesting that golf would be markedly improved if spectators were permitted to scream and shout at the top of the backswing. “What is golf’s obsession with silence, anyway?” he enquires, disingenuously. Now how is it possible for a senior sportswriter not to understand that a stroke, shot, kick or service from a stationary position needs to be accorded silence? This is true for golf, tennis, snooker, and for penalty-takers in soccer and rugby.

Quiet please, Mr Clerkin! – Yours, etc,


Dalkey, Co Dublin.