Great Golf Invention: Improved Tournament Periscope

Steve Davis and his invention at Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, California, December 2, 2012.

On Sunday, at Tiger’s tournament, I ran into Steve Davis, who is the guy in the photo above. He invented the contraption he’s holding: a periscope that enables him to see over the heads of people standing in front of him. It’s an improvement over other golf periscopes because it doesn’t completely block the view of people standing behind him. Also, it has a shoulder strap and a beer holder:

Davis works for a copier company. He has “wallpapered” his invention with color copies of mementos from other golf tournaments he’s attended, including the 2010 U.S. Open. If you’d like to give him a lot of money to manufacture these things full time, let me know, and if you don’t sound like a nut I’ll put you in touch.

Periscopes used to be common at golf tournaments. The photo below is from the 1965 Ryder Cup, at Royal Birkdale. (Senior Service is a British cigarette brand.)

Many spectators at the 1993 Ryder Cup, which I attended (at the Belfry, in England), had periscopes that looked like the boxes that bottles of Johnny Walker scotch come in. (Johnny Walker sponsored the tournament.) The Belfry is a terrible course for spectators, and the periscopes made things better for the people who had them and worse for the people who didn’t. The only way to improve Davis’s invention, I think, would be to add a second beer holder.


Why Do Certain People Wear Certain Shoes at Certain Golf Tournaments?

By “certain people,” I mean certain women; by “certain shoes,” I mean sandals, high-heeled boots, ballet-type slippers, and backless pumps; and by “certain golf tournaments” I mean golf tournaments during which there is so much rain that the lift-clean-and-place rule is in effect for all four rounds. Specifically, I mean Tiger Woods’s 2012 World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual, which was held in the mud last week at Sherwood Country Club, in Thousand Oaks, California:

The Man himself  (and Bo Van Pelt, plus various menials) on the first fairway at Sherwood Country Club on Sunday. Note the mud visible in the rough in the foreground.

The World Challenge is an unofficial, end-of-season event. It raises money for the Tiger Woods Foundation, and it features a small field of terrific players. By Sunday, the entire course was so thoroughly saturated that balls often plugged where they landed, even on some of the greens, and many spectator areas looked like this:

These men are wearing sensible shoes, relatively speaking.

Despite the weather, surprisingly many women wore shoes that were not well suited to the conditions:

The women whose feet are shown below were standing on pavement near the clubhouse and watching someone on the practice green, but shortly after I took this photograph they all followed their boyfriends or husbands onto the course:

In the photograph below, the woman in jeans had just had trouble traversing a muddy area under some trees. A friend of hers told her husband, “Erin is bothered about her shoes. Very bothered.” I don’t know what happened after that.

The heels on those boots made sucking sounds as the woman wearing them walked through the mud, which was ubiquitous. Note the evidence of capillary action at the bottom of her pants legs.

Even in a drought, why would someone wear high heels to a golf tournament, where spectators walk for miles?

Ready to follow Tiger for eighteen holes.

I can think of three semi-plausible explanations: 1) Fashion trumps all; 2) Someone’s boyfriend or husband didn’t mention that golf is played on grass; 3) Someone was attending the tournament against her will, and wearing inappropriate footwear was her passive-aggressive declaration of her discontent.

Walking “on pointe” to keep mud from coming over the sides.