Archive for London

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!

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London Urban Golf: “Halifax Style” Reaches the Other Side of the Pond

Posted in A Round the World, City Love, Equipment, Firsts, Halifax with tags , on February 3, 2010 by P

Fodder fires away on the banks of the Thames.

With Special Contributor – Katie “Fodder” Fotheringham

As mentioned there has been considerable interest in our game not only here in Halifax but from a lot of places around the country, and yes, around the globe.

I don’t know why this has come all of a sudden as the idea of urban golf is not new; though our adaption to make it less harmful to the community and the infused principles do make it some what novel.  Why the uptake?  Maybe the underlying philosophy that has developed has hit a chord with people.  I have a lot of travel coming up so I have been telling people to get their cities ready to golf and it has worked out for sure.  GO! is gonna help me with some analytic code for the site to find out where (exactly) all the hits are coming from. Perhaps that will give some insight.

The latest report, and one I am super stoked about, is from Katie “Fodder” Fotheringham in London, England.  Katie and I go way back to me serving drinks to her when I used to bartend in this burgh.  We now both work in the sustainability field and I will be seeing her in about a month which is going to be a hella good time.

She is really stoked about urban golf which we have begun to refer to as the “Halifax style” which, in turn, excites me because except for donairs there is very little of anything that has a “style” in Halifax that is unique to it.  This is not a slag.  It is the truth.  But it is a good thing since like Minnesota:

…[Halifax] is dope
If only simply for not what we have but what we don’t
It’s all fair, it ain’t out there, it’s in there
It’s in the mirror, behind the breast, under the hair
Follow the dream doesn’t mean leave the love
Roam if you must, but come home when you’ve seen enough.

There are endless ways to give the love: from puppy to Grace; from Rumi to St. Theresa of Avila.  But there is something special and inexplicable about the love these people show this town.  Though lately living in this city has felt like watching a lover dying just before her prime.  I am going to tip my hand a bit.  There has been considerable talk amongst our crew about ways of using our game to help bring back the city.  We will think on it.  But I digress.

Anyway, Katie is showing the Halifax style a whole lot of love by bringing it to an international city so I will let her speak about it in her own words:

On Saturday, my brother Peter and i started by picking up a little 3 iron from one of the charity shops in Pimlico, rummaged up a few tennis balls and headed off to Tower Bridge to hit our first little round! Now, let me say first off that this is a particularly great way to see the sights of an unknown city without feeling like a complete ‘wanker’ of a tourist. But naturally, this being a city with LOADS of people, the key rule of “Respect” is an absolute must to obey. As a result, many of the ‘holes’ we have been shooting have been more in the medium-range mini-putt family, but ridiculously fun nonetheless (a few notable exceptions being Hyde Park, the greens of Tower of London and a few little spots in Pete’s local hood)
We’ve encountered a bit of resistance from the authorities here and there, each one emphasizing the obvious fact that we are ‘on camera’ everywhere we go, and somehow, i don’t think the road hockey excuse would have done us much good- but it never mattered anyway, there are always greener links to move on to!

Anyhoo, just wanted to shoot you this quick note to let you know that we are having an absolute blast, have recruited quite a few people, and that this unassuming, easygoing and highly adaptable game has provided endless hours of amusement- and the trip is only half over!

Rad. I have a lot to say about her message but I am going to let it ride for a while.

Much love Katie.

Respect: P.