The intersection of Golf and Music (in the vicinity of 34th and Vine) is hopping! On Monday, this website devoted a few column inches to Disco Dick (aka Richard Zokol, at least on his Tour money clip) who bopped down certain 1980s fairways while wearing a Walkman and living in his own private Idaho.
Well, Mike Mills, R.E.M. bassist and sweet-swinging bogey shooter, responded to the piece by noting that Kevin Streelman works on his putting rhythm with the aid of a metronome.
Greg Norman, having considered the subject for some years now, offered a foursome of songs that have enriched both his golf life and his life life:
“Man in the Mirror,” by Michael Jackson, 1988;
“Imagine,” by John Lennon, 1971;
“Dreams,” by Fleetwood Mac, 1977;
“Instant Karma! (We All Shine On),” by John Lennon, 1970.
If those are his four majors, that’s some list.
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Trying to take the lid off lyrics written by the golfer-poet Bob Dylan could consume you for the rest of your days. (Years ago in L.A., I played golf with Bob’s golf teacher, a sweet lady of a certain age named Susie.) But the lyrics from Norman’s first-choice song can be widely applied to anybody and anywhere, for any purpose, golfing or otherwise:
I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change.
One-hundred and twenty million YouTube watchers can’t be wrong.
“Music relates to everything we do,” Norman said. It freeze-frames memory: where we’ve been, who we were with, what we were feeling. Norman exults in music as both the soundtrack of his life and as the shaper of his life view.
What golfer wouldn’t want “Dreams” on his or her playlist? Or what non-golfer?
Now, here you go again
You say, you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down
Links golf, John Updike once wrote, is “freedom, of a wild and windy sort.”
BTW, if you’re looking for something completely new, you might give a listen to the Richie Havens cover of “Dreams.”
One reader noted that a founding member of the Rolling Stones, Ian Stewart, a native Scotsman, was devoted to his national pastime. Keith Richards once recalled in a Rolling Stone interview that when the band toured Scotland in the summer of ’65, Stewart selected some of the digs. “You’d wake up in the morning and there’s the links,” Keef said. “We’re bored to death looking for some action and Stu’s playing Gleneagles.”
That same reader, Colin Sheehan, coach of the Yale golf team, also pointed me to this quote from the architect Alister MacKenzie: “A good golf course is like good music or anything else; it is not necessarily a course which appeals the first time one plays over it, but one which grows on the player the more frequently he visits it.”
Thank you, Colin, and well-said, Doctor!
Coach Sheehan notes: “In what was unforeseen 10 years ago, music has become an indispensable part of every Yale golf team practice and tournament practice round. I was never opposed to it when players starting bringing speakers to practice and I enjoy listening to their playlists. My predecessor, David Paterson, a lovely man but certainly a devout traditionalist, came to one of the practices a few years ago and when he saw the group’s music, he couldn’t believe it. I should say Coach Paterson enjoys painting and sincerely appreciates the arts but he thinks the music is a distraction. I understand his perspective but these are the times.”
And we all know what Bob D. said about the times.
In conclusion, for now, consider this spectacular collection of album covers with golf themes that Colin has assembled.
Yes, of course, the Devo album with a likeness of Chi Chi Rodriguez on the cover (above) is included. But how about for Willie Nelson’s “Good Times”? (Willie, no ponytail!) And then there’s the 1967 Rolling Stones album “Between the Buttons,” with cover art featuring the five lads on a putting green at … Gleneagles.
Michael Bamberger welcomes your comments at Michael.Bamberger@Golf.com.