The Sexiest Game in Brazil…

Posted in A Round the World with tags on September 18, 2010 by P

…is beach volleyball.  Seriously. If you’ve been there you know the guys look like well toned bronze statues and the women are divine mix of honey and hot sauce.

But they DO play urban golf there.

WEST COAST GOLF is the organization based out of Brazil, I am not sure why they call themselves West Coast as the only coast that Brazil does not have is a WEST COAST.  Anyway, I am not gonna front.

They definitely have the gamed a tonne more formalized than us with signage, flags, and t-shirts.  They also use an array of clubs and those specialty urban golf balls that I think take away from the impromptu nature of the Lesser Golf strain that we play in Halifax.

What I really enjoyed, in addition to lots of videos was their top ten reasons that they played. Which I have translated terribly from Portugeuse and are not too different than the reasons we go out:

01. Freedom

Sports usual have limits in term of their playing fields. The only limits to urban golf is the players’ themselves.

You chose your course.  Explore your city!

02. Improvisation

Because the urban golf is improvised there are new challenges to any round.  The challenges persist: the wind, the slope, the sidewalk, the lay of the holes. Players needs to know to play and try to overcome the obstacles of the terrain.

03. Cityscapes

Parks, fields, lawns, sidewalks, asphalt, slopes, mouths-of-wolf, buildings, houses. These are the aspects that make up the urban environment of any city. Respect, learn and use them all.  Explore your city.  Learning about your city is perhaps the best part of urban golf!

04. Unlimited number of players

The game can be practiced individually, in pairs, trios, in groups of up to 10 people, in groups of up to 50 people in groups over 50 people. Whatever. Actually, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you play!

05. Absence of age restrictions

There are no age restrictions and people of any age can play.  The only rule is that the games run smoothly.

06. Looking for lost balls

Well,  we anticipated that this would be the part which nobody likes.  It’s very fun while you’re striking the balls but looking for them can be fun too!  They tend to bounce to strange places, often places you would not normally notice…

07. Soundtrack

Do not forget to bring music with you when you play.  With the aid of any mp3 player, we make our own soundtracks to play Urban Golf.  It makes us more hungry to play.

08. Making friends

Seek to play with many different people. Try and meet new players.This is the spirit of the sport is to make friends and have fun playing together.

09. Physical exercise

You walk a lot in the course of a game.  It is fun because you are with friends but prepare yourself!

10. The improbability of hitting a hole in one.

But it is nice to dream.

More than anything I notice the common threads in urban golf the world over: the commitment to a positive experience, enjoying your city and exploring her, and making friends.

I hope to be hitting the links in Brazil in the not too distant future, I got a lot of friends there and what is not to love?

Here are a few videos from the WEST COAST site including coverage they got from MTV.  I hope you enjoy them!

Check out the lay of their city, the art and the architectural concepts expressed in the buildings.  Amazing.

This video apparently tells you a little about the game.

This site is super polished as far as they go.  I really enjoyed struggling through the History and Culture section of the blog.  Give it a try!

:p

We missed you! (Surprising since some of us are pretty good shots…)

Posted in A Round the World, City Love, Halifax on September 17, 2010 by P

Shit was getting too intense.  So I took off.

But I took my clubs: To the Olympics, NYC, Burlington, Montreal, Toronto, Boston … and so forth.  The biggest cities, small towns, country roads and even an entire abandoned neighbourhood that like anything it died in the shade (in this case of an underpass) and like many types of communities in the name of progress…

But I kept golfing with many of the OG’s and Founders of the Halifax Urban Golf (technically called “Lesser Golf” but it’s alright do what you want: we ain’t got no beef).

Since the last post on February 12th I have probably played 75 rounds in 10 cities in North America (lots of other people have been rocking it here in Hali), got a lot of love, a shit load of lovin’ and met a tonne of people from every walk of life.  So after about 60K km of travel, about 150 different golfing friends and tonnes of trouble from clubbing it is time to get the balls rolling again.

From here on in I will be getting the blog back on the go with lots of updates talk about how the game has evolved (or was it intelligently designed?)…

It’s good to see you back.  Let’s get swinging

:p

Coast Photographer Riley Smith’s Urban Golf Experience

Posted in Uncategorized on February 12, 2010 by P

In addition to the great pic in The Coast’s posting yesterday Riley Smith (Coast photographer and Free lance reporter) came out and shot us for quite a long time last week.

We were stoked as his work is some of the best that the Coast has published (his portfolio may be found here):

http://rileyphoto.tv/

He posted a few more pics from that day on his blog that we wanted to share:

Urban Golf

Editorial photography has to be one of my favorite things to do. You just never know who, or what, it is that you will be covering next . On one of my recent assignments I had the fortune of photographing Urban Golf.

Now as a guy who grew up skateboarding, I can sympathize with theperils of takin it to the street.

I certainly wouldn’t equate Halifax Urban Golf with the stereotypical golf experiece
These guys have real Street cred, and why pay green fees when you can hit the crete for free.
Please checkout and follow Riley’s new blog at:
http://rileysmithphotographer.blogspot.com/
Thanks for coming out with us Riley and we look forward to having you out again with us soon.
Respect: P.

The Coast, Halifax’s Weekly

Posted in City Love, Halifax with tags on February 11, 2010 by B.B. Roskeworth

Our friends at the Coast couldn’t get enough of our “new” sport for Halifax and interviewed us for a little article. Please click the link here and comment. We would love to to hear what you have to say.

the phot0 taken by  Riley Smith feat. founders Chris, Pelley, BB

How to reach us

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2010 by P

Off Spring Garden

Since The Coast article is out and it has this blog on it for people to learn more about lesser golf I just wanted to point out that if you want to try to play you can contact us you can come hitround with our crew.  Contact us by:

Join us on Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/HfxUrbanGolf

On Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Halifax-Urban-Golf/278174057050

By email:

swinginghalifax@gmail.com

All the best and we hope to hear from you soon!

Respect:P.

An Apology from Sigma Chi, and Pics from Super Bowl Sunday’s Hitround

Posted in City Love, Group Play, Halifax with tags on February 11, 2010 by P

People take time off from the Super Bowl to cheer on the Lesser Golfers

Sometimes it takes the actions of one to give a bad name to many.  It is one the primary motivations for pushing the importance of the first (respect) rule of lesser golf on any new swingers: act with respect and within a paradigm of community mindedness and no one will fuck up urban golf for the rest of us.  One group that has become victim of one of its members (who acting on his own and, as it turns out against the wishes of his crew) phoned the cops on us from the Sigma Chi, Gamma Rho chapter.

As the result of my blog posting entitled: A Sunday Afternoon Game Before Heading to the Olympics in which I took to task because on of the brothers from Sigma Chi had telephoned the cops on us and in juvenile manner and untruthfully accused us of “hitting rocks at cars”.  This was hella whack.  However, I do not feel that this was representative of the entire group.  Especially after I received the following apology from the Chapter’s President (excerpts):

I would first of all like to apologize for the cops being called – I realize they were fine with what you did, but they still shouldn’t have been notified over something like this. It was the actions of one brother who got a little too carried away with the situation, not several or all of us, and I would like to say sorry for it happening. The car the jacket was put on belonged to one of the brothers, not his mom (not sure why that matters anyway), and I think it was fair of him to ask for it to be taken off. If it wasn’t asked politely, again I’d like to apologize, because I didn’t hear this incident and am going off what I have been told.

I would say the way he asked to remove the jacket in the manner it was done would be best described as “pulsatingly dickish” and really was uncalled for.  For this reason I will not remove the or edit the posting at this time; though I will offer the opportunity for Sigm Chi to win the removal of the posting in question.

Paddles

We at Halifax Urban Golf apologizes for saying and recognizes that Sigma Chi does not engage in paddling its brothers.

I did want to explain why some of us didn’t want you guys “teeing up” in front of our house, because it wasn’t because we were bored with “homoerotic paddling” or “macking on underaged girls” – neither of which we do. The concern I had with what happened Sunday was how it might reflect poorly on Sigma Chi if a side-mirror or car window were broken while you were playing directly in front of our house. I haven’t seen Urban Golf before, so I don’t have any clue if you can even hit a tennis ball hard enough off a club to break a window, but I think our concern about that potentially looking bad on us was and is a legitimate one.

I was basing the “paddling” part on heresay, and perhaps I was in the wrong.  Admittedly, the “macking on underaged girls” part was a bit reactionary and I would like to retract that statement and offer a full apology: that statement was baseless and largely uncalled for.

Our group of guys is very involved with the HRM community, and we do a lot of philanthropy work and volunteering with the IWK and Children’s Wish Foundation. We work very hard to establish good relations with our neighbors, and really we were just concerned with how people might assume it was the typical “frat boys” playing golf outside our house.

This is a fact: Sigma Chi and other fraternities in our community have gone a long way in the past decade to clean up their act and be a positive force.  I can’t front on that.  The have raided $10,ooo’s for IWK and other groups within the city and for that reason I accepted the apology and offered one in return for my harsh words.

Again, I’d like to apologize for the way things were handled. I sincerely hope this doesn’t affect the way you guys view fraternities in general (I know you wrote in the blog that it doesn’t, but who knows if that is true for everyone who was in the group), because they do a lot of amazing work in the communities they are in.

Apology accepted; and I do agree you do serve your community.  For this reason, and this reason only, I offer the chance for Sigma Chi to have the blog posting in question removed (and possibly some of this post) by collaborating with the Halifax Urban Golfers to use our game as a fundraiser for urban beautification and some other charity (which will agree to).  You would have to challenge other Frats in the city also to participate.  I consider this gauntlet to be thrown.  What say you friends?

I figured since the Coast will be running our story today I would include a bunch of photos from our Super Bowl Sunday golf game (which included tonnes of game and no Super Bowl) to give people a little flavour of what we do.

@laurenOstveen shows us her first shot at ball design at the Coburg Cafe

Ball design is becoming a larger part of the game and we will probably turn this element of the game into something gives you free strokes or some sort of drinking game.  Some of the designs are good enough that as soon as I figure out a way to photograph round balls I will do a post on it… or not whatever happens does.

Gravista shows gravitas with his swing on Le Marchent

Newbie Celia bears down unsuspecting tennis ball

BB comes as close to shoveling snow as his chronically apartment living ass has in years

A chronic grass bagger @bradfraser takes time to practice his swing, a hereto unseen element in lesser golf. Pelley in the background contemplates kicking a snowbank to save a stroke.

We wondered the compound political statement of a a car that simultaneously promoted Russian doll ducks and gay rights for cats.

Duffer rule in effect and in application motion

The “Duffer rule” (named after f_cking up something someone is doing and an ex-partner of a Founder) allows golfers to chase down their ball while it is still in motion and hit it again (once) without incurring another stroke.

Brad, being in constant violation of lesser golf's golden rule of "everybody sucks" was a good sport (and unlike the rest of us who move the ball when we think no one is looking) and always played it where it laid.

So all in all it was a great day and none of missed not catching any of the 12 hours of pre-game Super Bowl hype.  The company was good, the competition was non-existent (this is a good thing) and the people were fantastic.  Except for the small incident that we had to deal with it was one of the best Super Bowl Sundays I have had in years.

Respect:P.

Have Clubs, Will Travel: How to Prep Your Clubs for Travel

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2010 by P
Have clubs will travel

All that a swinger needs for a trip to the Olympics. The key to successful travel is to bring half the clothes and twice the money...

I am  beginning this blog posting writing in the airport lounge in Halifax, Canada as the birds who have taken up residence swoop low above my head preying on errand fries and, I assume, unattended children.  I am listening to people exchange regurgitated and mundane facts about the Super Bowl (which I didn’t watch nor care about the Super Bowl other than FREE CHILI!!!) and it makes me wonder what sort of net benefit the SB gives to us as a society.  I would say little to none; especially if you think of the opportunity cost of the activity of watching it. 6.7 million Canadians watched it this past weekend. What if 6.7 millions Canadians took the time to do a beach clean up, or wrote letters to the MPs or volunteered for a day to any beneficial end? It is a sad thought to think of how sports along with junk food have become the bread and circus of our post-classical civilization.

This blog, beyond that diatribe is not going to be action packed (quite frankly if you aren’t a lesser golfer I would consider skipping this one all together).   I am headed out west to take in the Olympics which suits me fine as there are so many shows (about 10 a day) and I got a paid gig to do consulting that it makes it worth my time to head the 8000km.  Robert Louis Stevenson best encapsulated my motivation: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move”.

(I caught the plane at this point and I am now writing this in a Cafe on Davies St. in Vancouver)

So, I am on the road for about a month (I decided to do an open ended ticket) as I have work in Vancouver and meetings in Toronto, friends in Ottawa and friends and family in Montreal (plus all the intangible things that always leads people like me to the jewel of North America that is this city on the St. Lawrence).  Normally it would not be worth taking my clubs on the road (since they can be bought for about $10 total in second hand stores), however as I have 4 cities on this jaunt I have decided to check out how one would travel with them if one is so inclined.

Visual representation of potential club damage

First I wanted to see what regulatory barriers bringing clubs might exist and the most likely damage that potentially could be incurred to my clubs.  After speaking to someone who works at WestJet at the YHZ airport they said that there was no real “barriers” in terms of rules but that loose clubs could be lost or potentially “beheaded” in transit (more of a problem with woods, apparently- insert Tiger Woods and wife golf club joke here). I was told I had to prep them for travel by securing them to a board unless I had a bag (which I do but never use and certainly won’t have on the road) and secure their heads if I wished to avoid damage.

The following is a crash course in prepping lesser golf clubs for travel.

Good wood protects irons

First look for a proper length of wood to secure your clubs worth. This will be easier if your clubs are about the same length. I am travelling with a 5 iron and 9 iron which means they aren’t too different in size. Turn the club faces to face each other on opposite sides of the board so they cradle the board between them.

Secure heads to wood

Next secure them with tape (I used hockey as it is handy and easily to tear off at trails end) at both ends. You will want to leave a bit of space between the board and the club shaft for a baggage ticket to be attached.  I also suggest you write your name and some contact information (and the name of this blog [word up]) to the board in case the ticket tears away and someone in baggage has got to deal with getting them back to you (most airlines do to-door service).

Secure heads

Secure heads to each other to avoid catching

Next try to secure the heads to both the board and to each other in a manner that minimizes the chances it will catch on anything in the transport process. There is apparently tonnes of cases of heads of clubs getting ripped off in transport; this genuinely surprises me as I have seen guys who treat their golf gear better than they treat their wives.

Cover head with cardboard or canvas bag to cover club heads

Finally, cover the taped heads with some sort of canvas or cardboard to keep it all from your hard work and tape from tearing away.   Loose ends are no good. You don’t want it to get your gear caught in machinery, and you certainly don’t want to arrive without them (mainly because it’s barely worth the effort of trying to get second hand clubs back, really).

When I showed up to the counter at WestJet I had to explain the game of urban golf in its entirety to Dan who was curious as to why I was travelling with the package pictured above (I think Dan was his name…I was more than half asleep) Once he caught to the idea of the game he was stoked and will be joining us for a game.  On the plane, in a stroke of extreme good luck (if you know me very well it is one that is becoming a trend on these east-west flights) I sat next to a girl of French/Swedish heritage who will be hosting me for a night or two in Whistler and we will be hitting the links in that mountain community; a great addition to going out with some of the Vancouver founders.

In transit I strongly suggest you carry a ball or two with you… you might have to wait a while for a shuttle or drive and airports have tonnes of paved surfaces and bored people. After picking up my clubs I actually got to chip around outside of the Vancouver airport with an anarchist while waiting for a friend to arrive so we could take the Canada line into town, this was stopped abruptly by a member of the Olympic welcoming committee.  The site of someone (who does not look like a typical golfer) with old, beat up golf clubs in mid-winter (if you can call 12°C weather “winter) meant I ended up entertaining questions as I traveled through Vancouver’s efficient, gleaming new transport system.

All in all the trip was a positive, it allowed me to get a few more people initiated to the game and that was worth the 10 minutes and 5 ft of hockey tape.

Weather front over the Rockies

I guess the one thing I have learned about this game thus far is that it travels quickly. Both with and without us.

Respect (from Vancity):P.

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