365 Project: Hfx Urban Golf is Day 236

Posted in City Love, Group Play, Snow Play with tags , on February 8, 2010 by P

Photo by Brad Fraser as a part of his 365 Project which has a photo for each and every day of the year.

HFx Urban Golf pic makes up Day 236 of Brad Fraser’s photo 365 Project.  This picture was taken as we teed off from the top of Gorsebrook hill.  We normally don’t hit through public parks but there was no one there and the hill was soooo big we couldn’t resist… he describes the pictorial context:

I had a ton of fun whacking tennis balls around the city today with adventurous HFX urban golfers. Check out Halifax’s latest golf crazehere. It was great fun with some really nice people. Looking forward to playing more rounds in the future.

Brad’s Project can be seen at http://bradfraser-kaleidoscope.blogspot.com/

Check it each and everyday.

Respect: P.


A Sunday Afternoon Game Before Heading to the Olympics

Posted in Group Play, Halifax, Lesson Learned, Snow Play, Video with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2010 by P

Thank you @bradfraser for the clip.

B.B. – “Yes thank you. I didn’t realize we were being video taped. But this video does make me smile as you hear our shear happiness in the game. BTW the Lesser Golfer teeing off is a founding member Andrew aka @oscarthegroucho aka Anonymous A”

So yesterday we got some pretty big press and as a result there were a lot of funny things going on here in Halifax related to urban golfing. I got stopped on the street as I walked to our meeting place to meet with the Lesser Crew by people who want to be involved.  I consider this to be super dope.  In addition to that the cops that we dealt with today (as per usual) mentioned that they had read the article, that they knew we had cleared it with the police and were happy to deal with us since they knew we had respect for them.  It is working out great.

Perhaps most amusing but exceedingly positive is the Nova Scotia Golf Association‘s (NSGA on Twitter), the governing body of Golf for our province,  Executive Director got a hold of us to “get involved” in Urban Golf.  I am going to meet with him early next month to see how we can work together… I can’t believe how this is all coming together…me and BB have some ideas on how to serve our community.

Just a heads up: if you contacted us via email and are reading this we haven’t had time to answer everyone yet but keep your shirt on we will get back to you.

Well today was another tremendous day on the concrete links of our city.   There was about 8 of us again (not bad considering much of the crew that we lost was hungover from a big night in Halifax and the fact that the Super Bowl, which seems to have taken over people’s minds for some reason, is on tonight) and the weather was mild hovering just under the point of freezing.

I am beginning to realize the serious advantages of daytime play.  It is mostly related to keeping the game going because it doesn’t take fifteen minutes to find your ball using a lighter.   It is also a lot warmer out and you creep a lot fewer people out: you are after all a crew of young people walking around with golf clubs.  Night is probably best when you are combining it with party activities but I think on weekends I am going to play during the day (especially now that the cops are hip to our game and cool with it).

Not all Sigma Chi's are snitches but the one's on South St. in Halifax should ask themselves "What would The Duke do?"

The only wackness we had to deal with were a couple of way-too-cool frat boys who took some time off from homoerotic paddling of each other and macking on underaged girls to phone the cops because I placed my jacket on one of their mom’s car while I took a shot.  I’m talking to you Sigma Chi on South St.

Guess what you Skull and Bones wannabes?

The cops know all about our game and they considered the call a waste of their time.  Way to serve the community good you dinks; grow up: no wonder you have to pay for friends… (Disclaimer:  to be fair, I am not hating on all frats or even all Sigs in that chapter but fuck the turds that are there now who act like idiots… you’re wasting people’s time).  p.s. – Where I come from “snitches and shit talkers need stitches and get walkers”.  Thanks for the friendly police officers who treated us in a respectful and professional manner.

But I digress.

The course we took this game brought us through the university districts of our town (straight across one campus to another campus; there are six in town so there is a lot of potential for us to be playing on campuses).  We had another grassbag gone urban tonight with Brad Fraser joining our ranks (he also provided the qik video above) ; he continually broke our “everybody sucks” rule with his incredible consistency and precision but what can you do?  Let the man play… he also has a photo project: 365 Project where he is taking a photo a day for 365 days in a row.

Warming up at Uncommon Grounds

Hot drinks, warm conversation and good people.

I continue to be impressed with the people I am meeting from playing this little game (which has replaced TV watching,video games and stress for me) our total numbers are in the 40’s(?) and there is at least one crew  I don’t know about on the streets in the deep south end. We have quite a crew of regulars that have been staying steadfast to the sport and newbies out every time so our numbers are swelling here in Halifax.  I am also a big fan of the friendships, comradry and professional collaborations that is growing out of it.  As mentioned we have a lot of people on the street who know what we are up to and are looking to join in, too… I’m hella stoked.

I will be hitnround with a lesser crew in Vancouver during the Olympics.

I am headed off to Vancouver for work and the Olympics and am bringing my clubs so I can hitround with locals crews out there over the course of the next month.  Hoping to do some Olympic venues but with as many snipers and people around I am guessing that it may not go super smooth… I am sure I will be able to golf in Seattle and Victoria though, and I plan to.  BB is going to keep blogging out of Halifax and I will report on this pilgrim’s progress from the Winter Olympics (the truth is I don’t really care much for the Olympics one way or the other but there are 160 free shows, the world is visiting and I am hanging out with some Swedes in partial hopes of meeting more Swedes…we all have our own Olympic dreams.

B.B. – “I feel I must add here that I am not a man who types a lot of words, I may have a lot to say but writing is not my forte. So my posts will be short and sweet, but with more pictures. And if Brad is on the concrete links with us video as well.  Have fun on your travels P. and swing low.”

Much love and Respect: P.


Posted in Equipment, Snow Play with tags , , on February 7, 2010 by B.B. Roskeworth

Just thought that since I don’t have many balls in the golf bag that I would paint one real quick before heading out to today’s game.

A Call for Donations of Clubs

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2010 by P

We are suffering from a severe shortage of equipment and could use donations of old, unused clubs to keep the lesser golf ball rolling

Well, things are chugging along for our lesser golfing crew here (an others throughout the country), but there are signs we may be growing a bit too quickly.  In truth, we are becoming victims of our own success and it is manifesting itself in that we have more people than we can provide clubs for at the moment.

This having been said: if you are reading this and you can spare an old set of clubs (that you don’t mind donating) for a group of people enjoying the city and building community please contact us as: swinginghalifax@gmail.com

They will be loved, used and reused over and over by people who would really appreciate having them around.

Or, if you are a regular urban golfers it may be time to drop the $4.00 and hit your second hand store for some clubs.


Respect: P

Hot off the Press

Posted in City Love, Equipment, Halifax with tags on February 6, 2010 by P

Well we have been getting some local press as many around these parts have seen.  For those who are elsewhere I present to you the article done about urban golfing in the largest regional newspaper The Chronicle-Herald by one of our Founders (as he duly golfed with us for the article) Jason “Scribbles” Teakle:

Urban golf’s a ball

Halifax man finds relaxation with a different kind of winter driving

By JASON TEAKLE Sat. Feb 6 – 4:54 AM

If you’re ready to throw out your old golf clubs, try teeing off in the middle of your street using a tennis ball and a nine-iron that has seen better days.

Jason Pelley, 31, has been hitting the pavement, shooting sparks with every strike of his club, while receiving smiles or looks of shock from people all over Halifax.

His game is called urban golf, and it’s quickly emerging as a new way to use public space for having fun for free in Canadian cities.

“Halifax is such a university city, so people are very tolerant of and used to weird or wild things happening here,” says Pelley. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people riding bicycles naked or people just getting rowdy here.”

Pelley walks through downtown Halifax with an off-white canvas bag full of clubs and tennis balls slung over his shoulder. He takes out an iron, puts down a tennis ball spray-painted neon orange on the asphalt and looks down an alleyway.

This will be the first hole of the day’s concrete course.

He takes a full swing and the tennis ball flies through the air, bounces off a building wall and lands in the middle of the fairway — or road.

There are no sand traps or water hazards. Only moving vehicles, pedestrians and houses.

Pelley says he spoke to Halifax Regional Police about the legality of the game, and their response was positive since there are no laws against golfing in public with tennis balls, only golf balls.

“We’ll use that Dumpster as the hole,” he says, pointing to a green waste bin at the end of the alley behind businesses on Spring Garden Road.

Pelley says the idea for urban golf started when he was in high school while playing a game of road hockey with friends. They went for a walk with their hockey sticks and began shooting a ball down the street, aiming at trees, fire hydrants or road signs.

Last year, over the Christmas season, the urban golfer was staying at his parents’ Dartmouth home with a little time on his hands and dug out an old set of clubs.

“I thought, ‘There’s really no reason why I shouldn’t hit the streets,’ ” says Pelley. “Once you start gunning (a tennis ball) down the street, it really opens up a whole other element of fun.”

He said it took him two weeks to convince a friend to try it.

“Once he came out the first time, he was addicted after that,” Pelley says. “Now there is a group of about 40 of us in the city who are regulars.”

He says that once he started an urban golf blog, his friends in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and London, England, started swinging in their city streets.

“I wouldn’t say I invented the game, but I’m one of the first people that really took a liking to it,” Pelley says.

The urban golf enthusiast says there are three main rules to the sport. The first is respect, which he says includes never hitting a ball less than three club lengths away from a vehicle and never harming private property.

The second is everybody sucks, meaning it’s not about taking the game seriously or being competitive. The third is don’t be a control freak, meaning it’s difficult to hit a tennis ball straight every time, so nobody is allowed to get irritated if not playing well.

Pelley says the sport is about building community, meeting new people, having fun and enjoying the city in a different way, and the group is always looking for new people to come out and try the sport.

“The nature of cities has to change in terms of the way people interpret them as places you just work in or drive through,” he says.

Pelley’s blog can be found at hfxurbangolf.wordpress.com.

Thank you to Jason “Scribbles” for both the story and for hitnround with us the other day.

Who Urban Golfs?: Profile of a Typical Swinger

Posted in Lesson Learned on February 6, 2010 by P

An overVIEW of whose playing lesser golf (complete with shameless caption wording to show off my new ball graphics)

An article in the Chronicle Herald came out todayon urban golf (it was a very good piece which I will comment on later).  I did want to send props to my best golfing buddy Beau “BBRoskeworth” Cleeton whose name didn’t make the interview (as it was done on an hour’s notice).  He was the first friend to take up the game with me and together we have nurtured it into the game it is becoming.  Props to Beau he deserves every bit of credit for spreading the game as I do.

Back to the game…

When we tell people about this little past time of ours they usually asks who plays with us.  Many people think that it would be students (who number in the 10’s of thousands in our downtown core) but it has rarely been undergrads students who have joined us though we have had a number of Master’s and PhD students.  Other people think it would be grass bags (of both types) this is also true.  However the profile of the contemporary urban golfer looks like so:

Usually mid to late 20’s (although our crew rolls from 18 to about 50 years of age)

Entrepreneurial (most of our crew are self-employed, own small businesses or are in the process of side hustles to their regular jobs that they hope to make their primary income)

Creative sorts: lots of graphic designers, photographers, planners, architects, writers, journalist, an artist in residence, people who work in the environmental field or performing arts (models, actors, dancers and singers), lawyers,  a medical doctor and a polar bear hunter.

Most have not seriously golfed before in anyway whether on grass or the concrete links

Well educated : almost everyone we roll with has at least one degree, many have more

Reasonably successful:  Our ranks include a former Minister on the Status of Women, Minister on Environment, Natural Resources and Land Use, one of Nova Scotia’s top 20 under 20, the Founder of an International NGO, the local Curator of TEDx (www.TED.com), published authors, 3 people who has addressed United Nations bodies and emerging political leaders.

Leaders in Social Media : this is a consequence of organizing games on Twitter I think so it is naturally correlative but it has added a lot to dimensions and ease of gameplay

The result of these sort of people hanging out with lots of time means that people have begun collaborating in the daytime hours.  I am helping one swinger get organized with his NGO, others have talked about setting up a barbershop quartet and people are going to be brought on board for TEDxHalifax from this group.

I understand why people say that “more business is done on the golf course than in the Board room”: you get to know people beyond the facade of business, to socialize with them to build deeper relationships through common endeavour and connection building… better than business is that community is built one connection at a time.

See you on the links.

Peace: P

European Vacation: Lessons Learned in London

Posted in A Round the World, City Love, Lesson Learned with tags on February 5, 2010 by P

Fodder drives the towards the Gherkin on St. Mary's Axis in London's financial district

By Special Contributor Katie “Fodder” Fotheringham from London, England

As our regulars to the blog know that our friends have started crews in no less than 6 Canadian Cities (Vancouver, Saskatoon, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Dartmouth) and even more impressively in London, England.  Katie who carried the “Halifax style” to England writes back with lessons learned in one of the world’s greatest cities.

So, little update; the course has continued to include many more holes, and while our cheap little 3 iron looks like it’s been to hell and back (and I will admit, my ‘golfing’ arm is a little tender) as this week (and this trip) draws to a close I have noted the following observations about urban golf:

1. Slow is Beautiful.

As someone with excessive amounts of energy, slowing down is not usually my forte. But here’s the thing with golfing in urban centres: you need to wait and make sure you’re not taking a shot into massive crowds of people, but you are also constantly looking out for those prime putting grounds-those streets closed to traffic on Sundays, or a side road you would probably never wander down. And therein lies one of Urban Golf’s greatest gifts- it cultivates a more patient pace of life and allows one to discover new corners and small details typically unnoticed by busy passer-bys

2. Everything is a hole.

This almost a corollary to the first observation, cause when slowed down, you begin to see holes and ridiculous mini putt courses come out of the street like magic eyes. And courses can also be fashioned with a little imagination. At the end of one of the London golf days, we went back to a mate’s place where he had a lovely little (more tiny) backyard filled with pebbles. Since we were on a roll, we continued the game there only to find that we could build little hills, position flower pots and other objects to create a dynamic all encompassing course-this is the hole-istic concept in action (wa wa waaaa)

3. Control is futile.

SO futile! At the very beginning, you almost feel compelled to put some boundaries/limitations/rules etc. to dictate the lay of each course, but since each and every hole has its own unique sets of challenges/constraints/opportunities, you need to make up the rules as you go-the best way being through consensus and discussion. It wasn’t hard for me to give up control, and since it is impossible to keep score (who would want to anyway!) we just adhered to your key rules (more guidelines really) of Respect. Everybody sucks. and… Don’t be a control freak! Check!