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Ideal round of golf: “any Wednesday evening at Mission Bay with three friends and 12 Stellas”

Lowest score wins

“Ha ha, check out Mr. Persimmon!”
“Ha ha, check out Mr. Persimmon!”

Hey Hipster:

So my friend and I were having a conversation the other day about sports. He’s a PE teacher in North County. He says to me, “The only sport that you can win with having the lowest score is golf.” Now, I think to myself, that’s pretty awesome. That seems like a hipster game if anything is, i.e. cool hats, flared pants, and drinking scotch while playing a sport! My question is, is there another sport out there that the one who wins is the one with the least points?

— HOLE in ONE!

This would be just an absolutely killer pub quiz question: name as many sports or games as you can think of where the lowest score wins. I can think of a handful of games and sporting events (other than golf) where the lowest score wins. The card game hearts is famously a “lowest points wins” game; and the omnium track cycling event at the Olympics used to be scored such that ‘6’ was both the lowest possible score and the best score an individual rider could achieve. I believe some, and maybe all, sailing regattas are scored the same way, i.e. first place each race gets one point, second place gets two, and so on and so forth with the eventual victor having the least points.

If I might throw a monkey wrench into the works here, the better way to score a round of golf (match play, obviously) is a “highest score wins” format. Does that change our calculation here? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you want to think about golf in hipster terms, it goes way deeper than the scotch and hats.

In a general sense, there are two golfs. There is real country club golf, and then there is every other kind of golf that can be played on facilities open to the public. The first category is obviously super limited in scope, but the second category includes pretty much everything from strip mall minigolf to a round at Pebble Beach. Hipster golf, generally speaking, falls near the very bottom of the second category.

Ask a real golfer to describe his ideal round and you’ll hear something like “shooting under [SCORE] at [COURSE].” Ask a hipster to define his ideal round and you get something like, “any Wednesday evening at Mission Bay with three friends and 12 Stellas” or “hit a small bucket of range balls and then drink, like, a substantial number of Bloody Marys at Tobey’s 19th Hole.” The difference between golfers and hipsters playing golf is the difference between golf as an end in itself and golf as an excuse to be somewhere you can drink, which, as differences go, is pretty significant.

There is, of course, a narrow subset of people who fit into both circles on the HIPSTERS/GOLFERS Venn diagram. I’m talking about the serious golfers who play with persimmon clubs. You might find them insufferable — especially when they start talking about the “feel” of that persimmon fairway wood on which they spent $418 — but maybe give them a break, because they’re generally free of pretensions about playing in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Notice also that they’re not lining up for the newest Tungstanium golf clubs every year, fruitlessly trying to purchase half a point off their handicaps. You have to be into a game purely for the fun and soulfulness of it to embrace technologically dated “craftsmanship” like a wooden golf club, and that’s actually pretty cool.

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“Ha ha, check out Mr. Persimmon!”
“Ha ha, check out Mr. Persimmon!”

Hey Hipster:

So my friend and I were having a conversation the other day about sports. He’s a PE teacher in North County. He says to me, “The only sport that you can win with having the lowest score is golf.” Now, I think to myself, that’s pretty awesome. That seems like a hipster game if anything is, i.e. cool hats, flared pants, and drinking scotch while playing a sport! My question is, is there another sport out there that the one who wins is the one with the least points?

— HOLE in ONE!

This would be just an absolutely killer pub quiz question: name as many sports or games as you can think of where the lowest score wins. I can think of a handful of games and sporting events (other than golf) where the lowest score wins. The card game hearts is famously a “lowest points wins” game; and the omnium track cycling event at the Olympics used to be scored such that ‘6’ was both the lowest possible score and the best score an individual rider could achieve. I believe some, and maybe all, sailing regattas are scored the same way, i.e. first place each race gets one point, second place gets two, and so on and so forth with the eventual victor having the least points.

If I might throw a monkey wrench into the works here, the better way to score a round of golf (match play, obviously) is a “highest score wins” format. Does that change our calculation here? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you want to think about golf in hipster terms, it goes way deeper than the scotch and hats.

In a general sense, there are two golfs. There is real country club golf, and then there is every other kind of golf that can be played on facilities open to the public. The first category is obviously super limited in scope, but the second category includes pretty much everything from strip mall minigolf to a round at Pebble Beach. Hipster golf, generally speaking, falls near the very bottom of the second category.

Ask a real golfer to describe his ideal round and you’ll hear something like “shooting under [SCORE] at [COURSE].” Ask a hipster to define his ideal round and you get something like, “any Wednesday evening at Mission Bay with three friends and 12 Stellas” or “hit a small bucket of range balls and then drink, like, a substantial number of Bloody Marys at Tobey’s 19th Hole.” The difference between golfers and hipsters playing golf is the difference between golf as an end in itself and golf as an excuse to be somewhere you can drink, which, as differences go, is pretty significant.

There is, of course, a narrow subset of people who fit into both circles on the HIPSTERS/GOLFERS Venn diagram. I’m talking about the serious golfers who play with persimmon clubs. You might find them insufferable — especially when they start talking about the “feel” of that persimmon fairway wood on which they spent $418 — but maybe give them a break, because they’re generally free of pretensions about playing in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Notice also that they’re not lining up for the newest Tungstanium golf clubs every year, fruitlessly trying to purchase half a point off their handicaps. You have to be into a game purely for the fun and soulfulness of it to embrace technologically dated “craftsmanship” like a wooden golf club, and that’s actually pretty cool.

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