Monday, September 12, 2011

World Urban Golf Day - Portland

Portland, Oregon joined millions around the world at noon on Saturday, teeing off to celebrate "World Urban Golf Day".   This was my first time.  It won't be my last.  Portland urban golf turned out to be everything I'd hoped.  I anticipated the absurdity of striking a tennis ball off asphalt with a 5-iron.   I anticipated the bizarre hazards to be encountered on a course plotted through industrial back streets.  What I did not anticipate was the pub-crawl aspect of the event or how much of a kick in the pants this group is.  Thanks to the brilliant course designing skills of local adult recreation guru Scott Mazariegos, the links were strung between bars and quicki-marts.

Each golfer teed off the first hole one by one, but we eventually coalesced into a single mob, a thirtysome, roving the empty streets, clubs a-swinging, balls a-flying.  I ended up in the trees a few times.  I lost balls behind chain-link and barbed wire.  I duffed, shanked, and found myself with unplayable lies.  In other words, it was exactly like regular golf.  Word of advice: leave your 95 mph clubhead speed at home.  Tennis balls are different than golf balls.  Trap them perfectly with a descending blow just before the bottom of the swing arc, and they turn into a fist full of bubble gum at impact, instantaneously stuck to the asphalt like a gob of hot tar.  They go nowhere.  No, tennis balls must be swept cleanly off the pavement.  I carded a couple of 12's before figuring that out.

Urban golf feels like... freedom.  It feels the way you felt in junior high, before you had a car or an ID, roving the streets with your friends, making up games to entertain yourself, drinking beers out of paper bags.   For those who might play real golf, urban golf feels like real golf felt before the game tricked you into trying so hard.  Real golf feels like its playing you, more often than not.  But with urban golf, you are truly playing.

You can see a little about the game in this video, and Portland Urban Golf is on Facebook.

custom rolling golf bag w/ mini bar
old school bag - nice find

roman numeral 5 marked each hole

fresh attire

correct attire

teeing off a flatbed

fresh traditional attire - with Guiness

gold mini and boots!

pink argyle

jockey cap and parasol

nice photo composition & color palette

Friday, September 2, 2011

DIY golf shoes

The Adidas Samba, Nike Dunk NG, Ashworth Cardiff, True Linkswear, Ecco Street Premier, Kikkor Eppik,  Footjoy Street, and Puma Club 917 are all examples of the recent explosion of "comfortable" golf shoes.  These new offerings range from the carefully designed (Ecco, Kikkor, True), to the afterthoughts (Nike, Adidas) who are literally gluing soft spikes onto shoes they already make, just to participate in this emerging market.

Tretorn Strala Sommars
Well there's no reason you can't do the same thing.  Let economy be your guide, and convert shoes you already own into golf shoes.  Or let comfort be your guide, and convert a nice pair of Clarks or Hush Puppies into golf shoes.  Perhaps your personal style sense will take over, and you will convert a pair of Doc Martins, Converse Allstars, Timberlands, Campers, or New Balances.

Converted Orvis Duck shoes, Sorel Sentry's, or Tretorn Strala Sommars would make excellent foul weather golf shoes.

Golfcepts, LLC ( offers a kit that includes spikes, epoxy, and templates needed for such a conversion.  I'd be interested to see how well the spike installations hold up over time.