I keep reading more and more stuff written by golfers that describes exactly the joy and challenge of orienteering - just change the word "golf" to "orienteering" and you'll see what I mean. For example, here is Tom Watson...
"No doubt there are almost as many reasons [for enjoying golf] as there are players, but one reason is certainly shared by all. It's the simple pleasure of being on a beautiful course.
No other game combines the wonders of nature with the discipline of sport in such carefully planned ways. A great golf course both frees and challenges a player's mind"
He is writing the introduction to a book on golf course design. He continues, and while the exact parallel is lost with "freshly cut grass" the essence continues:
"At the same time that your spirits lift with the sunshine sparkling on leaves, water, and new-mown grass, you also must confront what the unique combination of nature, landscape's art, and your kind of game can mean on a particular course. ...
To talk about the design of a course means much more than how it is laid out or where the bushes [controls?] are planted. Design is also a way of thinking about how to play"
Interesting AZ. When Thierry G. gave his talk in Ottawa a few years ago he showed us this clip (first 5.5 minutes) of Bagger Vance. He compared a leg on a course to a hole in golf. Each person has their own perfect approach or shot (or route). He then showed some detailed maps and how he 'extracted' his route. I know the Ottawa boys taped his talk. Would be good to get a hold of that video. Here is the clip Thierry showed us.
It depends what you are seeking in the game. I've heard very few orienteers waxing poetic, but with a few substitutions, the following written about golf by the sea in Scotland might become an anthem to orienteering as well...
How straight it flew, how long it flew,
It clear'd the rutty track
And soaring, disappeared from view
Beyond the bunker's back -
A glorious, sailing, bounding drive
That made me glad I was alive.
And down the fairway, far along
It glowed a lonely white;
I played an iron sure and strong
And clipp'd it out of sight,
And spite of grassy banks between
I knew I'd find it on the green.
And so I did. It lay content
Two paces from the pin;
A steady putt and then it went
Oh, most assuredly in.
The very turf rejoiced to see
That quite unprecedented three.
Ah! Seaweed smells from sandy caves
And thyme and mist in whiffs,
In-coming tide, Atlantic waves
Slapping the sunny cliffs,
Lark song and sea sound in the air
And splendour, splendour, everywhere...
Me & TG - we're on the same wave length. Maybe if I trained harder who knows what might happen ... ;-)
Here's some more, shorter quotes:
Chi Chi Rodriguez: "Golf is a thinking man's game. You can have all the shots in the bag, but if you don't know what to do with them, you've got troubles."
Lee Westwood: "You don't win tournaments by playing well and thinking poorly."
Peter Thomson: "The difference between winning and losing is always a mental one."
Sam Snead: "Practice puts brains in your muscles."
Mike Weir: "The course is going to make you look silly sometimes. You have to be able to accept that and move on."
Jack Nicklaus: "Success depends almost entirely on how effectively you learn to manage the game's two ultimate adversaries: the course and yourself."
Gary Player: "The more I practice, the luckier I get."
Arnold Palmer: "What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive."
Sergio Garcia (on winning a tournament): "First of all, I want to thank Tiger for not being here. That always makes things a little bit easier."
Tony Lema: "Golf is like solitaire. When you cheat, you only cheat yourself."
Jack Nicklaus: "There is no room in your mind for negative thoughts. The busier you keep yourself with the particulars of shot, assessment and execution, the less chance your mind has to dwell on the emotional. This is sheer intensity."
Bobby Jones: "Some people think they are concentrating when they're merely worrying."
Jack Nicklaus: "Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety."
Tiger Woods: "Don't force your kids into sports. I never was. To this day, my dad has never asked me to go play golf. I ask him. It's the child's desire to play that matters, not the parent's desire to have the child play. Fun. Keep it fun."
Jack Benny: "Give me golf clubs, fresh air and a beautiful partner, and you can keep the clubs and the fresh air."
Also, I think I'm pretty awesome for not playing golf. I've calculated that I've already made $113,000 by investing the money that I would have spent on clubs and course fees. The number of hours I would have spent golfing have instead been spent thinking about how awesome I am and encouraging everyone else I know not to play golf. Am I in the right discussion thread?
I don't find golf frustrating at all. First time I played, I shot 256 for 18 holes, and the guy I was playing with said that I was the most patient golfer he had ever seen.
||: Grab a random club, take a swing, run to the ball. :||
Fairly entertaining if you don't give a shit. But it really is just a quirky specialized form or orienteering.
You guys really think these quotes work for any sport? Tiddlywinks is a thinking man's sport? Cycling is like solitaire, when you cheat you only cheat yourself?
While I agree that some of the quotes would apply more widely, I think many of them point to the importance of the mental aspect or orienteering & golf, the sense that orienteering & golf are really a personal challenge (rather than a conflict against another person/team), and of course the love of being outside in nature.
In general other sports have a much lower requirement for mental ability and especially unbroken concentration, nor are they focused on personal challenge (the goal is to beat the other guy, rather than to achieve the perfect run), and certainly almost no other sport involves a love of the outdoors like orienteering & golf.
In most other sports you will find some great player who is acknowledged for being "smart", but more often they are great because of their skill not their brain power.
True, I probably would have been a pretty kick-ass golfer.
I don't think the quotes work for *all* sports, but certainly for a lot of them. Hitting a baseball is pretty intellectually and spiritually intense, for instance. And they certainly apply for most performance art, like music. It's not that I don't think there are similarities between golf and orienteering, it's just that I don't think it's a unique link. And I find the attraction to golf a bit strange for orienteers (American ones especially), given how unnatural being on an (American) golf course is compared to being AOWN. ;-)
I didn't say tiddlywinks was a sport, any more than pool or golf are. In orienteering you have to maintain a level of concentration while pushing your body to the limit. If you want to draw a parallel, I'd try pyjamas ;p
Well - as a regognized sport golf may have been first.
As a human activity maybe finding your way between places would have been a more important skill in the early days. (On the other hand hitting things - or each other - with clubs is probably also a very early human pastime).
Apparently you are unfamiliar with prairie golf, an event which has been contested on orienteering maps several times.
@J-J: I was the most patient golfer he had ever seen. You may have been the most patient, but taking way too many strokes is not the best measure of this. For example, I took my mother to play once. She may have taken that many strokes on the first hole, before collapsing on a bench and declaring the round over. Patient? I wouldn't use that word in her case. Persistent? Definitely.
Prairie golf is awesome, and it's essentially free. Except for the cost of balls, as I suspect you probably have to grab a new one every couple of shots... Doesn't seem like locating golf balls on the prairie would be all that straightforward...
In the course of the random travels in my life, I come across more questionable golf balls than I've needed for prairie golf. The bag of clubs that I got at a yard sale for $1 probably has a pocket containing at least a dozen balls that I've found. That said, for prairie golf, it helps to have forecaddies. On the finest round ever, a nine-hole, regulation length course with a lot of sagebrush, I think the foursome of PG, Charlie, PGoodwin, and John lost only one ball between them.
One thing golf has over orienteering is an established culture of humour. I know many golf jokes - Q: Why is it called 'golf'? A: Because all the other four letter words are taken.
Doctor to patient: Are you an active person?
Patient: Well yesterday I walked several times in the woods, crossed several streams, got tangled in bushes and was several times in sand pits.
Doctor: You must be a very active outdoorsman.
Patient: No just a lousy golfer.
I can't think of any orienteering jokes? I thought of modifying that last one for orienteering but all those things are what we do.
Are there any orienteering jokes?
And no "What do you call someone who streaks through the woods wearing brightly coloured pyjamas?" an orienteer " doesn't qualify as a joke.
What's so extreme about that, and why would it take a bunch of balls or any orienteering talent? It's just 18 regular golf holes. The only thing that makes it long is that they're on 15 different courses, so you have to travel a long way between holes, right?
The Bight of Australia! Thanks Golfer! I'll have to place that tour on my "bucket list." I spent a summer living in Adelaide, on the Spencer Gulf just east of those courses. One of the most beautiful cities in the world! Similar to LA, without the freeways, smog and attitude. And a wine valley similar to Napa not far away that produces a mean Shiraz.
I found about ten golfballs on an orienteering map today and it was nowhere near a golfcourse. Some people must really like forestgolf. Or they just use their backyard and the valley below as a driving range.
I have found a bunch of balls on a map when picking up controls once, and I couldn't figure out any way that they could have arrived there, no obvious impromptu driving range in sight. Golf balls have weird travel habits.
I don't know that it matters what kind of establishment the holes are located next to. I'm just saying that they look like pretty normal golf holes (albeit maybe with largely dirt fairways rather than grass), and they don't look like places where you'd lose a lot of balls. No sagebrush, well marked, and the actual golfing distance is no longer than normal. It's a par 71 course.
Maybe he hitched a ride with the merchant marines. I suspect that any city would look beautiful after a couple months on a container ship. Especially a ship bound from Australia, carrying lots of free range beef.
By coincidence the latest issue of the national weekend newspaper carried a story on the Nullarbor golf links, and the reporter (who hitch-hiked the course) finds a lost ball at Cocklebiddy then notices that it's right next to one of these.
What surprises me is that almost no-one else has pointed out the accuracy of the title of this thread: Tom Watson obviously does not know what he is talking about, because he seems never to have heard of orienteering and his claim that 'no other game combines the wonder of nature with the discipline of sport' is therefore just so much misinformed waffle.
Take all the golf courses and turn them into parks for everyone not just private clubs and expensive venues for others. Biking, hiking and open space for all. A lot of them would make awesome sprint courses or better. Those golfers might even use those areas for exercise and become more fit. Sprint courses in every little town that now has golf course. The enviomental aspects of saving water, less gas exhaust from cutting lawns etc. might help with global warming. Job wise, those workers could switch to more landscape activites. I actually had golfed a few times, but it is really too slow of an activity for me. To each their own.
I was turned off of golf when I discovered that all the people I worked with who were sooo into golf actually weren't. They could barely play the game and cared nothing for technique or rules or skill, it was just an excuse to spend four hours drinking and practicing privileged assholery together. Seemed like a massive waste of space, time, and resources to me. The sport is much less repulsive as played by people who take it seriously (or play on prairies).
Sounds like the charity golf day we run every year through work. At just $250 per person, it allows the highly paid execs to take the day off work and go get hammered.
The club I used to be a member of on the other hand was all about the golf. Mind you it was a country (bush) club with sand greens so if you played there it's because you wanted to play. We ran a mountain bike orienteering event on the fairways last year and the members were fine with it.
Hey Soupbone! I just received a letter from your WIFE...inviting me to bring my golfer friends, at $500 apiece, to a golf outing in May as a benefit for her orphanage. If that exclusive country club were a "park for everyone," would several hundred orienteers be willing to pay as much for an O outing?
Golfers come from all parts of society...but unlike orienteering, golf teaches people to be kind, generous and SOCIAL, whether they can hit a #1 iron like Tiger or not.
Those demographics look so bogus to me, so I did a quick check online and found another (way more reputable ;-) firm giving considerably different stats. In this study the participation level by women is above 30%, which seems much more realistic based on my experience. I mean surely it has to be higher than 5% just based on there being a women's professional tour that you can watch on TV.
The golf stat that makes me weep is that 2 million people try golf each year. How I wish we could change the word "golf" to "orienteering" in that sentence
I love orienteering and absolutely hate golf. So why am I a huge fan of AZ's "Why golf is better than orienteering" on the barebones.ca website (check under readings tab). Because he is right! Read it if you haven't done so before.
useless golf trivia (or perhaps it is a myth). There are more left handed golfers (30%) in Canada than any other country. apparently has something to do with hockey.
Biathlon? Based on my experience? Yesterday I was skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre and there were two dudes with guns. So out of all the cross country skiers I saw yesterday (approx 100), 2 were doing biathlon. But that was an unusually high number. So I'd say of cross country skiers, 1% do biathlon. Also I know one woman (CharM) that has actually done biathlon. So I think the stats, based on my experience, are something like:
0% (rounded off) of the world do biathlon
1% of all cross country skiers do biathlon
20% of those are women
Andreas, his wife, and Pavel were competing in a Rogaine when they had a tough route choice to make for their next leg, left or right around an impassable cliff. They chose left, but halfway through the leg they came too quickly upon an unmapped cliff and Andreas's wife, unable to stop, plummeted to her death.
Two years later, Andreas is out with his new Rogaine partner, Tuomo, and found that the course setter had included the same leg. Tuomo insisted that the left option was best, but Andreas said, "no, the last time here I went left, and my split was 10% behind the leader's".
Read it if you haven't done so before. Just in case anyone didn't go to read the three-page "Why golf is better than orienteering", here is the central argument. To see my suggestions for what we should do to make orienteering more like golf, you can read the short three pager here ;-)
Why do more people try golf than try orienteering? How is golf better than orienteering? I think it is at least in part because golf is a kinder, gentler, more forgiving game. Let me tell you what I mean...
1. “I feel good”: In golf, one good shot out of 110 bad ones makes you feel great. In orienteering one single mistake in an otherwise wonderful race makes you feel like an idiot. Advantage: Golf
2. Mulligans. In recreational golf if you hit an awful tee shot you can claim a “mulligan” and take the shot again with no penalty. In orienteering more races are ruined on the first control than on any other – absolutely no chance of a restart. Advantage: Golf.
3. “Gimme”: In golf, when your ball gets "close enough‟ to the hole your friends will accept that one more putt is all it would take you to finish the hole and you pick up your ball and go to the next hole. This saves the frustration of missing short putts. Imagine in orienteering how wonderful it would be for beginners to be "close enough‟ to a control saving all the frustration of time lost "inside the circle‟. Advantage: Golf
4. Maximum score: In recreational golf if you are having difficulty on a particular hole it is quite okay (and your friends will even encourage it) to pick up your ball and score yourself a “double par”. Wouldn‟t beginning orienteers appreciate that option on controls they have been hunting for ages?! Advantage: Golf
5. Handicaps. In golf when you play against a better player you are allowed certain deductions from your score based on your handicap (your golf handicap is an estimation of how many shots it will take you to finish 18 holes). In orienteering we can all play together on the same course with better and worse orienteers, but there is no way for people at different levels to really compete with each other. Orienteering uses age-based categories, golfing uses skills-based scoring. Advantage: Golf
Items 2, 3, and 4 are exactly why I dislike recreational golf. It's not a sport at that point, it's just a bunch of buddies socializing. That's okay, if that's how you want to spend your bonding time, I guess. But I'll take the real sport. ;-)
But those are all optional. If you don't like them, don't take them. Its your choice. Once I started getting over the initial hurdles of golf I stopped taking those since at some point those "kindnesses" stop being useful for improving your game or increasing your enjoyment. But when I started playing golf - whoo boy, they sure came in handy and kept me from giving up in frustration ;-)
Ha ha AZ! Good stuff! In your 3-page download you admit you've just taken up the game of golf. Perhaps that's why golf seems so much "kinder, gentler...forgiving." I can assure you that it is not. Just look at the pained, anguished expressions on the faces of the golfers on TV on Sunday afternoons...the game appears to be excruciating torture, right down to that final putt.
For some of us who've played for many years, there are no "Mulligans," "Gimmes," or "maximum" scores. The sky's the limit, at golf as it is for orienteering. And bad holes are just as painful as bad legs on an O course, because they demolish a promising scorecard just as quickly.
To Cristina's point, I don't think we should "dumb down" orienteering. However one lesson we COULD take from golf: find some way to inject a bit more sociability into an O event. Perhaps more partner events..."care to join our foursome?" Perhaps O "etiquette" standards. So that orienteers become a bit better at working with others, and lose the image of the solitary wolf, running alone in the woods.
chitownclark - well I wrote that article two years ago. These days I know exactly what you're talking about - the game is agony ;-) But the main point I was trying to make is that it is way easier for someone with no experience (or talent ;-) to start playing golf than it is for them to start orienteering. (Hm, interesting aside - in that last sentence I wanted to use a parallel structure and say "playing golf" and "playing orienteering" but that just doesn't work ;-)
In learning golf I was able to use those "kindnesses" until I became hooked - now I do without them and play the game even though it can be agonizing and frustrating. But what is the equivalent in orienteering? A 30 year old runner (perhaps with about a 40 minute 10km time) who wants to try orienteering has to run a course designed to challenge a Ross Smith or a Patrick Goeres. Good luck. How's he going to find a moment of enjoyment there?
I love the idea of "O etiquette". Please add to the list "dress code" ;-)
> …one reason[for enjoying orienteering] is certainly shared by >all-- it's the simple pleasure of being on a beautiful course (park, forest, etc.)
IMO it is an arguable statement. I experienced a very enjoyable orienteering in all kind of settings, that a person would hardly describe as “beautiful nature”, as long as the map is good and the navigation is challenging. This is the essence of orienteering, as opposite of nature sightseeing.
The only condition that would turn me off was when the forest was covered with human-produced trash. However the terrain, in itself, could be as unpleasant as them come (say, Cincinnati type).
On the other hand, no beautiful nature setting can overcome a poor map or lack of brain of course designer.
Yellow? Orange? Even the colors are enough to turn him off ;-) But in any case the 30 year old guy I was talking might be Canadian. Then what (i.e. Yellow and Orange are pretty USA-specific)? North of 49 of course we do have the "Open" courses that the guy could go on I suppose. But this is missing the point entirely - the point being that orienteering is overwhelmingly an age-class focused sport and that isn't necessarily a good thing. There are movements afoot to change this - BOF's Ageless classes are very popular, and the Motion classes I saw at Oringen are fantastic. And maybe the USA does have a serious effort in this direction (but if so, I haven't really seen much evidence of it). What we really need is to start taking these Ageless classes a lot more seriously - IMHO.
Around here, the regional "orienteer of the year" series I suppose sits on the border between championship events and club events where the accent is recreational or promotional or training.
About every 8 years or so there is a great debate and we flip from age-class competition on the 7 defined courses, to competition based on self selection. Right now we're in self-select mode, so at the end of the year there will be 14 winners, mens and womens course 1, ditto course 2, and so on.
About now, I'm expecting the voices of the senior set to grow louder, saying, "I can't compete against these young fit fellers..." And we'll change back to age classes. After some years of that we'll realise that so many people run out of class to get the type of course they want that we'll return to self-selection. And after some years...
>North of 49?
we don't use coloUr codes for courses in southern Ontario either and we aren't north of 49. ;-)
But back on topic. THOMASS races in southern Ontario have been using handicaps for 18 years to permit ageless category races. with one race to go in this 'not so winter' season we have 7 or 8 different traditional categories represented in the top15 including a M12. I'd like to see the handicap system we use to be more friendly to newbies by perhaps having start time 'waves' giving some groups a head start or allowing them to skip more checkpoints.
You know what I'm referring to, Adrian, and the course would go under whatever names they're called locally. But the point is that someone starting out is going to be going to local meets, just as a beginning golfer is going to be simply playing golf, not entering a tournament. And at local meets where I live, at least, there are no age categories, there a just a bunch of courses of varying length/difficulty, and everyone on a given course is listed together.
As far as the forgiving nature of golf, I'll add something a friend of mine mentioned to me. He's a very good golfer, and he gave me some advice about playing golf at my casual level. If I hit the ball into the woods, he said, it's fine to go look for it if I want, but when I find it, he suggested just throwing it back onto the fairway. The reason is that learning how to play out of the woods really isn't a useful golf skill, and the only person paying any attention to my score is me (even I'm even bothering to count strokes). I guess a parallel in orienteering is that instead of "DNF", some clubs use the abbreviation "HFA" for "Had Fun Anyway", which I personally hate. But I'd have no objection to a result that said something like "Whatever" (or "--:--:--") for someone who just skipped some controls for reasons of their own choosing.
Here is an excerpt from an email I received from a British O.F. official when I asked about their experience with Ageless categories. There the move away from age-based categories seems quite advanced . (Gruver - note the comments about the "one-list ranking system", which might help in your situation?)
The main change was to move away from the standard “Regional Events” (used to be known as “Badge Events”) with 40+ age classes to the “ageless” colour coded event system. So we now have only a handful of age class events (all level A, plus a small selection of level B – typically holiday multiday events such as this summer’s Croeso in west Wales), the vast majority offering colour courses. The advantage of these is that a competitor can then choose the course length which suits them on the day, rather than being shoehorned into one defined by their age class.
This change was made much easier by a major change in the rankings system which meant that one single list replaced 40+ separate age class lists (one each for Long and Short sub-divisions), and that points would be gained whichever course a competitor chose to run. I believe this to be very successful and also to be the best rankings system in any of the IOF nations – or maybe you can demonstrate otherwise ...
"Why do more people try golf than try orienteering?"
Because people are inherantly lazy. Which takes more physical effort, orienteering or golf? I can run through a forest or get in an electric buggy and drive around a course getting out occasionally to slog a ball.
(BTW I am not anti-golf. I do have an occasional hit at golf and do enjoy it even though at the time I am also extremley frustrated due to my inability to play at all well)
Orienteering in the main attracts people seeking a challenge. Whilst I am not a runner at all and therefore struggle to place highly, I enjoy it and would hate to be given a "gimme" on a control or even get a "mulligan" on the first. Handicaps can be worked into orienteering but in general they aren't that popular. If handicaps were worked out perfectly then we'd all come equal first. Big deal!!!! I don't want charity, I'd rather come last on my own merits than win on handicap. This is one aspect of golf I can personally live without.
..and I'm sure one bad shot in golf can spoil some players day.
Here is an idea for new orienteering discipline. We used to do this at training camp with about 7-8 team-mates. We raced to each control from mass start. Once we reached control we determined rankings. Since it was at training camp we used honor system to remember who was first, second, third, etc. at each control. Once we finished course our coach would summarize scores using simple scoring system - first place gets 1 point, second place gets 2 points, etc. Whoever gets the lowest score - wins.
E-punching allows to use similar scoring system without requirement for mass start. Also I would modify rules by allowing up to 1 minute break at the control. Runner would punch each control twice - first time after reaching control, second time to leave control. If runner decides to hang around control longer then 1 minute time would automatically be added to next leg.
This type of scoring could allow usage of "mulligans" by - for example - excluding runners worst score from total score.
Also this type of scoring does not punish for one bad error as severe as timed events. Runner could screw up one leg royally by losing - let's say 30 minutes on it - but can make up by winning every other leg on the course.
..and I'm sure one bad shot in golf can spoil some players day.
Yes I was coming in here to refute the claim that one good shot keeps you happy. With my (lack of) orienteering abilities, one spiked control can sometimes make my day :-) Conversely I can be hitting par on consecutive holes in golf then lose my ball in the bush on the next and feel pretty lousy. Advantage: orienteering.