IN OUR SHORT time on this Earth, we are faced with myriad decisions. The big ones - regarding jobs and homes, family and faith - are actually easier than they look, in Couch Slouch's opinion. It's the little ones people get wrong.For instance, as a recreational pastime, should an individual go golfing or go bowling?Far too many folks err making this simple choice:No to golf.Yes to bowling.Bowling alleys - or "bowling centers," as they are now called by politically correct spare seekers - take up less space than golf courses; as it turns out, far fewer trees are cut down for 24 lanes than 18 holes.To bowl, you just need a bowling ball and a pair of bowling shoes, and if you don't have either, they've got them at the alley; golfers need 14 clubs, a golf bag, golf shoes, golf balls and usually a membership to a country club.You can bowl year-round, day or night, with weather never a factor. The only advantage to golf: You get to spend time outdoors, "in the fresh air." Hah! See how fresh that air feels on a muggy Washington, D.C., July weekend.Bowling might set you back five bucks a game. Golf? Can you say 401(k) withdrawal?Bowling alleys, with their bar and grill, video arcade and occasional pool table/air hockey/ foosball amenities, offer more varied, egalitarian culinary and non-culinary options than the overpriced clubhouse restaurant at most golf-club complexes.You can bowl three games with a buddy in well under two hours; a round of golf will go at least four hours - up to seven if you're partnered with Kevin Na.
Bowlers don't have a false sense of their place in the world; golfers hold some high-brow, haughty vision of their game and, in turn, create endless faux literature celebrating their life-affirming and life-lesson-filled pursuit of par.(If you combined the number of trees cut down when they build a golf course with the number of trees cut down when they publish golf books, you could double the size of the Brazilian rainforest.)When you're bowling, you're always rolling frames with friends; in golf, you can be asked to fill out a foursome and spend an afternoon in the company of a hedge fund manager who once slept with your ex-wife.In bowling, we encourage beer drinking between frames; in golf, they'd like to knock a few back but can't figure out how not to spill a gin-and-tonic while riding in the golf cart.
If you happen to step over the foul line in bowling and your buddy sees it, he'll probably let it pass; in golf, complete strangers call in rules violations on PGA pros.
Bowlers don't knowingly cheat anyway; golfers routinely kick a golf ball to a better lie or misreport their score on a hole.Ask a bowler how he did today and he'll tell you, "Rolled a 182" or "I bowled a 500 series." Ask a golfer how he did and he'll tell you, "Well, I hooked my drive on the first hole, laid up, hit a great approach shot to the green but then three-putted the son of a gun. Then on the second hole, I went with a 3-wood and ..." Oh my goodness, someone crack my head open with a 5-iron before this blowhard drains all the energy out of the rest of my natural life.Bowlers are regular people; golfers are people who regularly expect someone to carry their clubs.It is next-to-impossible for an errant bowling ball to hit a fellow bowler or spectator in the head.A bowling ball can last a lifetime; a golf ball might last until the first water hazard.
You can bowl until you're 90; you can also golf until you're 90, but, I'm telling you, eventually the greens fees will kill you.Okay, so "Caddyshack" was better than "Kingpin." Score one for the duffers.Ask The SlouchQ. You lost all credibility when you left Jon Miller off your favorite announcer list. (C.R. Baldwin; Towson, Md.)A. Since when do I have credibility? Miller is one of the best ever, but I was listing current national TV sportscasters. Because of space limitations, I also left out a lot of other sports voices I appreciate, like Greg Gumbel, Bob Ley, James Brown, Jim Kaat, Steve Kerr, Doris Burke, Paul Azinger, Tom Rinaldi, Troy Aikman and Mary Carillo. And see? You just made me leave out some others.Q. You probably were not impressed that the Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup - didn't you get married twice in less time than that? (George Anderson; Spokane, Wash.)A. Pay the man, Shirley.Q. If NBA free agents are so interested in winning, then why don't they all sign with the Globetrotters? (Joel Block; Arlington, Va.)A. Pay the man, Shirley.Q. Now that soccer referees are being beheaded in Brazil, will this increase viewership in the U.S.? (Jim O'Brien; Racine, Wis.)A. Pay the man, Shirley.You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!