Golf: A Good Walk Spoiled [Revisionist History]

Malcolm Gladwell hates golf.

He views golf as a pastime largely engaged in by rich, white men running large companies, played on vast swaths of private land—accessible only to wealthy people—in urban areas that are park-poor. And subsidized by the very people who can’t use the golf courses.

He hates it for socio-economic reasons. In his opinion, we should all hate it.

Gladwell is a runner; one of his runs is around the Brentwood Country Club, “a luxurious private golf and tennis club” in west Los Angeles. He and fellow runners hug a narrow track outside the course, blocked by fencing; he gazes upon the lush green lawns mostly devoid of people.  He gets curious; then riled up.

According to Gladwell, golf isn’t a harmless habit impacting only the player. It has consequences: it’s a sport 1) with the potential to lower company profits, that 2) denies cities desperately needed tax dollars.

Gladwell’s podcast drills in on these issues, fleshing each one out, with political snark tossed in along the way.  It appears to be about golf; but it’s really about equity and fairness.

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