Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A golfing tragedy

From Ananova:

An eight-year-old US boy hit two holes-in-one with the same golf ball within 20 minutes.

Harrison Vonderau and his dad Dave were playing in a father and son tournament at a course in Cleveland, Ohio.

They both started screaming and jumping up and down when Harrison hit his first hole-in-one with his pitching wedge.

"We almost fell down we were so excited," Dave Vonderau told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"I never had a hole-in-one, but I was happy to watch his."

But they could not believe their eyes when he repeated the feat with his nine iron 20 minutes later.

Poor lad. Used up his entire lifetime’s supply of holes-in-one 13 years before he’s allowed to buy a drink.


Oroborous said...


Maybe young Harrison will be good at golf for his entire life.

Brit said...

It's not a question of being good. Nobody gets more than 2 holes in one in their lifetime.

Although that does raise the philosophical chestnut: is getting a hole in one fluke or skill?

Oroborous said...

It's a fluke made more likely by skill.

If you're constantly hitting the greens, the odds of your getting a hole-in-one, while still dismal, improve.

Brit said...

But if you're aiming for the hole, why isn't it 100% skill?

Oroborous said...

Because nobody's that good.

"Skill" involves a repeatable outcome that happens with frequency, where the action is influenced by the player.

Basketball players have hit the net from half-court, but nobody's "skilled" at doing so.

In golf, "skill" involves hitting the greens; what happens to the ball after that is mostly chance.

Brit said...

But if somebody hits a shot on the green and it lands within a few yards of the hole, everyone will say 'good shot'.

Then if the next person lands within a few inches of the hole, everyone will say 'great shot, even better!'

Yet if you're even better than that and actually get it in the hole, everyone says 'fluke!'.

Where's the logic?

Oroborous said...

Ah, now you want golf and its players to be "logical" ?

Logic would dictate that one not be on a golf course, paying too much to hack at tiny balls that won't go where you want them to.

One can't even impress the girls by being good at golf, unlike more physical sports such as baseball, basketball, football, or the other football.

Brit said...

The fluke/skill question is one where intuition and logic seem to collide. We all think it's a fluke, but then why isn't landing within an inch of the hole a fluke - and if it is, why not within 2 inches - where does one draw the fluke/skill line?

You're right though - golf is an absurd game. At its best, among good friends, it's fun but still frustrating.

But there is a very nasty streak in golf, which you see at clubs and corporate events, wherein everyone is hoping everyone else cocks up their tee shots publicly and humiliatingly, and all of your own tee shots are horribly tense affairs blighted by the dread of cocking up, publicly and humiliatingly.

Oroborous said...

Well, if somebody messes up badly, then it takes most of the pressure off of everyone else - they won't be the worst there.

As for fluke/skill, I'd say that whatever those acknowledged to be the best at a particular event can do on a regular basis is "skill", and better than that is "fluke".

Luck or random chance plays a part in all human activities, even where skill is evident.

So, yeah, getting the golf ball within an inch of the pin, or two inches, or a foot, is a "fluke".
But it does take a nice shot - skill - to get the ball into a position where it could end up near the pin.

Hey Skipper said...

My wife, who is perfect in all ways, insists (based upon observation) that the proper name for golf is "whackdamn."