We Do Therefore It Is: The City as a Golf Course

Buddy Manson teas off from the iron work of the RKO Building, New York, 1932: He interpreted this I-beam as a tee-off; it was earlier interpreted in the design phase as a structural support.

I won’t lie.  I’ve been getting some good props for pushing people to get down on our Halifax, Canada version of urban golf.  Lots on the street, lots via my FB page and lots via this site’s email address (swininghalifax@gmail.com).  But I would be fronting if I said I invented it or somehow was involved in its inception as a pass-time.

Let’s be honest only scientists (or those following the scientific method) and mathematicians really create anything anymore (pure knowledge).  Philosophers come to grips with it and tried to give ethical guidance or discover its pure nature using logic which means they are right next to scientists on the subjectivity scale (meta-physicists attempt to assemble truths which may be interpreted as creation); and designers make this knowledge and material things more useful by better fitting it to some context which has been earlier designed by social or biological evolution.

What I did was, I guess, find the right entertainment widget for the cultural context we live in: fitting a game that grew out of one landscape born of the man made ecology of one era and fit it to a contemporary one.  Truthfully, if you look at the history of golf as a humble pass time of shepherds that was played on the landscapes created by an economic activity (the fields they grazed were created overtime by cutting, burning and grazing of formerly treed lands of Scotland; thank you for teaching me Dr. Willison) then urban golf fits the spirit of its much better than the overpriced, overly important and ecologically disastrous manifestation of modern, conventional golf (not to front it is a great way to escape reality).

We as lesser golfers golf the landscape created by economic endeavour that has allowed the for the growth of its cousin, the opulent sport of gentlemen.  In a tongue in cheeks sort of way the difference maybe that in our day to day we are the sheep, driven to our offices along well worn paths to trade the fleece of our labour to help create the centers of commerce and culture which we never leave.  It is building our society and I would not question the validity of the pursuit but instead the scale to which it has grown.

Interrelation of Form, Function and Fluctuation: The reinterpretation of any elements forces reinterpretation of the others... I mean check this hella crappy MS Word graphic....

So at night, when we golf our streets we are actually reinterpreting our city: not reinventing it.  Through the process that begins with the phrase: wouldn’t it be great if …in recognition that the function is at least as important as form if not moreso (thank you Aristotle) our city exists as a dichotomous beast: as a city as we traditionally may think of one and a golf course in the tradition of old.

I am not into starting a revolution of thought, our time is full of  self-important blow hards thinking they are doing it. We at best are catalysts of fluctuation which allows other properties to grow out of form and function.  Since we are just reinterpreting the functional parameters of our city and integrating it with a new assertion of the form of a fairway or a “course”.

We are not making anything: we are making the most of things.

Respect: P


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