Web logs -- those self-published Internet gazettes that have injected so much mischief into the world of national politics -- have spread to golf. The online journals, known as blogs, are often devoted to professional golf, with the authors issuing predictable 19th-hole rants: Tiger vs. Vijay, Michelle vs. Annika, Nicklaus vs. the long ball, Hootie vs. the 21st century, yadayadayada. Maybe it's just us, but a little bit of that inside-the-fairway chin-pulling goes a long way.
Far more entertaining to us at Swing are the blogs devoted to amateur golfers' own games. They record, sometimes in pitiless detail, the authors' struggles and triumphs with this magnificently cruel pastime.
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Transcript: What's Next for Tiger? Inquisitive about the PGA Tour? Washington Post staff writer Leonard Shapiro was online to talk golf.
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Start with the Bad Golf Blog (badgolf.blogspot.com). Authored by a California guy named Rob (many golf blogs are semi-anonymous), its front page sets the tone with a quote from Sam Snead: "You've just one problem. You stand too close to the ball after you've hit it."
Not only is the writing good and full of funny detail, but the observations are honest in a way one rarely hears anywhere near a golf course. The author tells about the time he got beaten by a guy who'd smashed his finger in a garage door and so had to play with one arm. He recounts playing with his boss, where on the first tee he tops the ball and sends it screaming directly into the ladies' tee marker -- and watches in horror as the ball arcs gently backward and drops at his feet.
SortaGolf ("gimme mulligan or gimme death") is a blog dedicated to the principle that a few key amendments to USGA rules will make the game more satisfying and fun for the struggling majority. The good news, as the blog explains, is that you're probably already using several of the "Sorta 7" principles: take one mulligan per round; count as good any putt that misses by less than the length of your putter's grip; improve your lie without penalty because hitting the ball squarely is difficult enough from a good lie; cap your score at double bogey for all holes; and so on.
Refreshingly, SortaGolf (sortagolf.manilasites.com) is not just a hooligan tirade. The site explains why its amendments can speed up play, keep middling players in the fold and increase enjoyment of the game -- all goals that the stiff-necked finger-shakers at the USGA surely would approve of. The rules also support "competitive integrity," the blog explains: If everybody in a group adheres to the Sorta 7, they compete on equal footing.
Travelgolf.com has gathered a stable of bloggers (www.travelgolf.com/departments/blogs) in service of drawing eyeballs to its golf travel booking site. Several of these journals are devoted to the pro game, but a couple at least mix in observations about life from the white tees. The Rebel Blogger (despite his habit of picking dogfights with other golf bloggers) is refreshingly unforgiving of various resorts, courses, equipment, teaching methods, and so on. And a new journal by Jennifer Mario, a self-described "female hacker and golf writing young mom," looks promising. An entry last week explored how she had added 10 strokes to her game over the winter. A single lesson (says she) put her back on track.
Golfers' Asylum www.amatuergolf.blogspot.com (note misspelling "amatuer") includes recent reports on some much-hyped newfangled tees (a washout) and ponderings on the value of range finders. The author also reports his goals for a particular round and his results afterward.
And yes, anybody can create a golf blog for free. That includes you, Mr. Infomercial-swing-trainer-victim (not a bad name for a blog, come to think of it), and you, Ms. Four-putt (ditto). Many sites let you create a blog, but www.blogger.com is pretty easy to use. Just create an account, check your pride at the door and let the world know how your game is coming along.