Blog is Moving Addresses: HfxUrbanGolf.wordpress.com

Posted in The Hard Way on February 1, 2010 by B.B. Roskeworth

Come check us out at our new address: HfxUrbanGolf.wordpress.com

Hello fans, friends, family and swingers

We the and Founders have decide to move this blog to a different WordPress blog domain simply because this little sport of ours has grown bigger and faster than we ever thought it would and we want to consolidate our branding for ease of use. There are a bunch of different crews so we have decided that we just want to make our crew page GHLG and start up HFX Urban Golf so we can showcase everyone.

This domain will remain but within a few months will become one crew’s blog.

All content from this blog will remain.

This Blog has been copied and moved to HFX Urban Golf which is now the hub for the pass-time. Please feel free to continue following this blog once content starts to flow through it again. In the meantime please subscribe to HFX Urban Golf RSS feed and catch our fever for this game and start it where you live.

Respect: P and BB

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These Moments in Heaven

Posted in City Love, Group Play with tags on January 29, 2010 by P

Just a short post as I have a hella crazy day a head of me.

Well, last night was another great night for us.  We hitround in a group of about 9  which included a photographer and an  interviewer from The Coast, (Halifax’s top twitterer (@laurenoostveen), a really well dressed cat (Ryan), a few designer types (@gravista among them), Dan “The Risk” Mattison, Seb “Magic” Harder and the core cabal.  It was the largest single group we have had out and it worked out well.  People caught on pretty quickly to the play, the 3 rules and the rest.

I got to see a diversity of strategies and lots of new friends.

The Coast article should be out on Thursday.  We have decided that the people who have golfed with us before the Coast article will get a “founders” designation to duly reflect their early adapter status.  BB and me are staying straight OG.

In terms of last nights game play: we lost no balls, the were streets we wide, well lit and car free… it was super sweet.  We had one run in with a irate neighbour who looked out his window and thought we were with a party of yelppie first year girls who were in fact just cheering us on.  His taunt of : “It’s really nice of you guys to break stuff” made us openly laugh.  We pointed out that we were playing with tennis balls.  He countered with that we were being noisy we pointed out that a) it wasn’t us and b) it was about 9 pm and well within noise law limits.  He was not happy but did yeild to the facts.  Thanks neighbour.

At the end of it all I am pretty sure that we have a tonne of new converts.  I wish I could convey to people just how amazingly fun this game is.

I had been in a bit of a funk when I first took up this game but people have been saying to me on the street that I am visibly happier and my productivity has gone way, way up.  I think that kicking around outside for 3 hours a day of fresh air and laughing non-stop will do that.  In fact, RR (who is BBRoskworth’s girl friend) said to BB that “Pelley seems really happy”.  BB simply replied: “Of course, he’s golfing.”

It has been said that God does not subtract the time you spend doing things you love from you lifespan because in those few days and hours you are already in heaven.  While I wouldn’t say this is heaven exactly it is sure is a hell of a lot of fun and I do enjoy it with unbound enthusiasm.

Today I have an interview CBC about this little game of ours.  Finishing up with the Coast tomorrow.  It’s Friday: no golf because of a tonne of snow and a tonne of parties.  Word.

I will post pics of last nights game as some point this weekend.  I got to go live life for another day.

Much love to friends new and old.

Peace: P

Good Cops, Bad Cop

Posted in City Love, Halifax, Lesson Learned, The Hard Way with tags on January 28, 2010 by P
Tax payer money at work

There are over 50 unsolved murders in our city, it is one of the most crime ridden in Canada (arguably) and the number of assualts against women is shameful. Urban golfers were our numbered by cops last night.

First, I want to remind everyone that our lesser golf is based off of respect.  That is our rule, and it is as heavily enforced as celibacy at a nun’s Christmas party.  It’s the rule, it’s the law and grounds for legitimacy and legality to use this game for moving things forward.

However let’s keep in mind that respect is earned and not endowed.

So last night we hit a links with mix of good people: a former Provincial Minister (who will remain anonymous at their request), a 4-time Provincial Golf team member (not Nova Scotia’s team, FYI), a reporter, two professionals and emo student: non of which are threats to society (the emo cat isn’t the “cutting” type so he isn’t even a threat to himself; he is, however, the slicing types when it comes to drives…oh snap…).  We started hitnround about 8pm in back alley off Spring Garden (Halifax’s boutique street) keeping six for cars, scoping for the opposites, maintaining the three club length guideline around private property and generally keeping it real.

ZED's (ball's) DEAD

It was hella warm out last night in Halifax (eerily so, actually) so the holes were fast (read: the snow banks had melted) we managed to bang off a couple of holes through the core before moving to empty parking lots.

Deciding to not cut past the urban equestrian club we instead moved to the long parking lot in front of our new mega high school.  It was wide open and being newly paved had great potential for us to pick up some shots.

About 50 yards in we noticed police cars slowly creeping along the street beside us (Why creep? People are acutely aware of cars with stripes and lights…nice try though).  Finally, I guess once they had time to call for back up, two SUVs, a cruiser and a patty wagon flew at us… this exchange followed:

Police Officer (PO) – Hey guys… What are you up to?  Looks like you are golfing.

Paul –  Actually we playing road hockey with golf clubs and no net.

PO – Really?

Paul – Yeah, it’s all the rage.  We are using tennis balls so no harm: no foul.

PO – Oh, well alright.  Let me just see who called this in.  (Calls HQ while 5.0 in SUVs discuss the conflict theories of realism vs. just ad bellum [I assume])… alright FRIENDS I see no problem here but it is staff and they thought you were playing with golf balls.  You’d be doing us a favour if you went and played somewhere else.

Paul – No worries.  We’re going to hit the streets again.  Is that cool? Thanks Officer.

PO – Yeah sure.  Have a good night.  Play safe.

Paul – You too…

(disclosure my first name is not actually Paul)

So following the instructions of the police officer we respectfully moved off of school property.  We like to take the high road on these matters and we really had no recourse except to listen.

A special cameo appearance by BF

Then good things happened.  We all drove off very well down Maynard while the police officers watched us from the parking lot of Centennial Pool.  Then we were lucky to be joined by the one and only B. Fong for a drive off (down Maynard) and discuss a little bit of Biscuit’s recent staff photo shoot, the photos of which I had seen that day (if you are in Halifax and want to buy to quality new clothes from good people Biscuit on Argyle is the place to be).  He showed that he had serious skills with a 3 wood driving straight and true down the street, before disappearing back into the night.  We look forward to hitnround with him in the future.

EMO cuts hard to the whole...

Here is where you can learn from my years who dealt with cops more than I care to mention but got good at dealing with them that avoided problems for both sides.  The mindset when dealing with police officers should be one of restraint and respect, but also always know your rights and responsibilities to larger society.  So with regard to police officers 1) realize they are people just doing their job; 2) they are almost never looking for trouble; 3) they enforce the law they don’t interpret it (that is the job of judges); 4) you can catch them on bad days and 5) a rare few do let a badge go to their head and think that it means they can get away with shit.  As a rule the police in Halifax are good people and deserve the benefit of the doubt.

I find Maynard a lovely street to play on: not many cars, lots of good people, soft lighting and colourful houses.

When dealing with cops the best thing to do is 1) be respectful; 2) to keep your head; 3) listen to what they say; 4) talk in short sentences and never admit to anything (everything you say to them can be used against you) even if they say they saw you.  If they have something on you they won’t need to get you to talk about it or confess.

Really? I mean seriously...actually the guy checking the facts was a good guy who did his job right and is a credit to the force.

If they accuse you of something don’t say anything or ask them to substantiate it in front of witnesses.  Ask questions and get badge numbers and cards.  Get them to quote the law that you are allegedly breaking.  If you have beef with the way they are treating you don’t take it up with them (don’t give them any reasons to go Rodney King on you), instead take it up with their Community Relations Officer/department and either you MLA or city Councillor.  But choose your battles (the legal system is tied up enough; if you are crying about a bruised ego ring up your mom don’t waste society’s resources) and be realistic, clear headed, non-combative and polite.  We are trying to have a civilization here.  You are a part of it and should always lead by example and through your actions.

In the end we’ll all be better off.

Visible representation of one bystander's interpretation of Officer G's posturing towards our crew...

However, not to be a dick, I will be talking to the Police’s Community Relations and our Councillor who has her head on straight.  The amount people are playing now kinda requires that we let the cops know what is up.  If channels allow it I may file a complaint but it seems like a bit much, really.  Maybe he was having a bad day.  My beef is with his lack of respect, his patronizing attitude and general power-trippiness it takes no effort to be at least polite.

She never once shot anywhere but down the centre of the fairway.

But the fact remains: the streets belong to the people of the city and there are times when in order to move the community forward certain power relations have to be shifted.  I am sad to say that all such relational realignments (they range from these tweaks to wholesale gestalt shifts) are always political in nature, and conflict is the very essence of politics.  This will be causing a minor conflict.

Now conflict itself has been framed as supremely negative, when in fact it is neutral.  Conflict is the actioned competition between ideas to see which better suits the socio-political context that surounds it, and can at time lead to switches in said context.  Thus conflict is, and must remain, at the heart of any sort of progress.  These ideals of “just conflict” are at the heart democratic systems and (including free speech where everybody has the right to express any view so it enters the societal megalogue to be debated over and judged against the accepted public standard).

The fact that the Officer would not enter into debate even at the lowest level of information exchange, could not state his legal foundation for objection and instead decided to flex (turning very quickly to a groundless and somewhat laughable attempt at intimidation) is a sad indication of his understanding of his role in society, an anti-social mindset and a poor reflection of a police force which by and large should be (and has been) something to be proud of.  It undermined his legitimacy and was sad to watch in a way.

Shame, Officer, shame.  Of all the other things you could have been doing.  Don’t be a control freak, have respect, you suck… all rules of our game that seem to have particular relevance to the situation.

A vibrant and just society is based on checks on balances; it requires that the watched are also the watching.

Sadly, I am pretty sure we (myself and the Officer) will be discussing this incident directly soon since he didn’t have the professionalism to do so at the point of first contact.  Respect goes both ways, friend.  I really can’t believe I have to go do this just to play a game that I started playing because I wanted to enjoy and explore my city at night in peace and quiet.

Anyway, after that we golfed our way across the Commons.  But not until after the police officer sat for 10 minutes and watched us laugh it up.  He drove off and then circled back once a like a minute later, I guess to catch us in the act of disobedience of a law he which he wasn’t quite sure of…oh truthiness.  Instead, he caught us in the act of saying how improved CBC radio had been in recent years.  All in all it was a great night and one I won’t soon forget.

I love you (people of) Halifax.  Don’t ever change.  But please come out and play, though: we need more eyes on the street to ensure that community remains safe from those who act against her well-being.

Respect: P

(All photos by Dan “The Risk”)

News from Away – Toronto and UK

Posted in A Round the World, Firsts on January 27, 2010 by P

Katie F. rocks

I just got word that my friend Katie F. has started her own swing crew in Toronto and they have hitround a couple of times and it is catching on there.  She also is committed to bring the game to her friends in London when she heads to the UK in a week or two.

I am thinking that we should begin calling our version of urban golf the “Halifax style”.

Look forward to see how they play when I get to TO in a month and a bit.  Great work Katie… please send photos!

Playing in Traffic

Posted in City Love with tags on January 26, 2010 by P

Cities should be fun and it should be in the way we play which is not the necessarily dependant on the way they are built

The video that I posted a couple of days ago highlighted the fact that this urban golfing thing is not something we invented.  We can’t even front hard like we stole it.  We were just the first couple of mutants community minded individuals to put it into a blog in Halifax (though I have never actually taken the time to check) so it has been getting some play; and so have we.  Take this as you will.  We take what we can get.

I will assert this: we are not the first people to hit a ball around the city with golf clubs.  I have been in contact with people who used to play with hockey sticks in the Quinpool area of Halifax (as was my roots except I tried it over on the Darkside) the good value district of our city).  Surely if things as complicated as calculus can be “invented” over and over (screw you both Newton and Leibniz antiquity had it millenniums before you) certainly the thought of hitting a ball through the sleepy Roman grid that our cities (and most cities that have expanded since about 1785) tells me that some Scotsman at some point before us has hit a ball down the street with his buddies while cursing the crown (BTW you can get a good indication of how many Scottish or Irish descendants live in a city by the relative thickness of the “M” section of the phone book; in Halifax this section makes up roughly 3/4 of the book).

I am further going to express the fact that urban golf is a manner of urban play; and you can’t escape play.  However it is something that is fundamentally important to socialization of people and this element can be suppressed.

Play is a behaviour that is ubiquitous in the animal kingdom and something that we express from our earliest days (peek-a-boo!!!)  However our cities are ill suited to play.  The roman grid is more Caesar than Caligula when it comes to doing what feels good: it divides people into their squares (their private properties or “yards”) and conquers community. We are free to play in the limited space between the fences or between the front step and the street.  Beyond this there are regimented places for play (baseball fields, equestrian clubs, lawn bowling) most of public places belong to cars.  There are few imagination spaces left.

Cities are supposed to be moving to creative models (for arguments sake, I will bite my tongue on how much bullshit it takes to grow flowers) at a time when the education systems and manner of play has placed heavy bookends on variety of play.  By grade 4 kids are using PowerPoint… a far cry from the versatility of bristle board, glue and markers that allowed for near extreme variety and expression of creative capacity; video games are repetitious and are the perfect training from moving grey faced children from the fenced yards to the padded walls of cubicles where repetition is eagerly traded for dreams deferred.

Now I am not going to say that urban golf or urban play is a panacea to the rife problems of our urban centres but I will say that it is a move in the right direction.  I don’t believe that you have to change the physical nature of the city (though it would be a move in the right direction but it too expensive for such silly endeavours when schools need to be built) at night when we play it is fun, it brings people to us to play and has been spreading like wildfire.  These acts of play are acts of community building and cohesion that can change the nature of a city.  It will be these little acts of reclamation not the obtuse “public consultations”, themselves that front representative when the fact is most of these public consultation are largely populated by the same people, that will change the way cities exist.  Action not reports change the path of humanity.

Video – Shoreditch Urban Open Golf Tournament in Britian: This is definitely deep, denser urban play and from this video it is hard to deny they own the streets.

So make your city your a play ground.  Open yourself to discovery and find fun wherever your gaze falls.  Regimented spaces cages the mind; caging the mind tethers the imagination and tethering the imagination makes slaves of our dreams.

Respect: P

World Urban Golf Day: Halifax Tourney?

Posted in City Love, Halifax, Video with tags on January 23, 2010 by P

Video: Fly French girl talks about World Urban Golf day…

Someone suggested to me right now via email that we put together an local tourney for world urban golf day (September 12-ish)? What say you rabble?

I am into it but don’t really feel like organizing (got another event during that time and I’ll be hitnround that day anyway…) however I am happy to give support in the form of a Blog to read and general remote, moral support.

Pretty happy (read: surprised) that this lesser golf thing is taking on a life of it own…keep it coming.

The Three Rules of Lesser Golf

Posted in City Love, Lesson Learned with tags on January 23, 2010 by P

We generally say stay out of heavily populated public places, or anywhere that is landscaped...

Well, I’ve taken a bit of time off from the GHLG blog.  The blame falls on me having to pay for food and thus requires that I work…or hunt.  I don’t get out to my cottage much and the pigeons of Halifax probably are not as tasty as they look so continuing to work seems like a plan.  No Friday night golf last night because I went to see a stellar show that included MEGASOID, a crew that I know through work of their members really understand city living and the joys it can bring.

Last night I hitround a bit in the early morning before breakfast and it really set me up for whats was a fun day of meetings with politico types and a creative agency.  There is something wonderful about the way that things have been going with GHLG; I had some friends head out at my urging (read: badgering) in Toronto and they loved it.  I will hitround with them next month.  They should take the time to bring a camera and send us some pics to post…

What I have felt more than anything else people seem to taken to the rules.  One person went as far as to say they are rules to live by.  I prefer to not attribute doctrinal status to a code created to keep loafers out of trouble.

The three rules are simple: 1) Have respect; 2) Everybody sucks; and 3) Don’t be a control freak.  These were adopted from other swinging crews, and served simultaneously self-interest and community good.

1) Respect

Respect can be sweet and soulful

Really, like anything, if we had one rule and it was respect you wouldn’t need any other rules.  Sure people get off on the idea of compassion as a guiding principle for humanity into the future but respect seems to be a better for now, and more realistic rule for general stability and resilience.  Love ins come later; but I digress.

This rule has already kept us out of trouble.  It has made sure we haven’t broken anything and gives us a nice break during traffic to scope or get to know our fellow swingers.  It also kept BB from getting lippy with the half dozen Commissionaires and 3 cop cars that helped us find an open coffee shop after surrounding us as we golfed down through a parking garage.

But in general is protects the public and it protects the opportunity for us to continue to play, keeps other from getting a bad rap so others they can take up the clubs on their own without slipping on our residuals.  We also, for this reason try to avoid pocket parks and spaces that our presence might get in the way of people’s enjoying a common space.

2) You suck

Man compares balls with a lard based dessert

You suck is both a rule and the truth.

First golf clubs are ill suited to hitnround tennis balls.  You either pop them up or punch them…you duff a whole bunch of shots and that is most of the fun.  Embrace the fact that you suck and you stop working about being good and you just end up enjoying the journey.  This is something that has actually transferred to my life which needed to embrace more of a slower ethic to it.

In another way this is really a way of keeping it from being exclusive.  People can’t use the excuse that they suck to not come play; in fact it compels them to.  People who take the time to practice are taking it way too seriously and should probably join a country club and talk about their handicap… we will do likewise about them.

It is a fact of life you can’t control the bad things you can only do your best.  As my buddy J.J.MacKay’s dad Big Lou once said to me: life gets no easier, you just get better at handling it.

3) Don’t be a control Freak

Fact: Napoleon was such self-centred control freak he crowned himself Emperor. Fact: Douche is a French word.

No body wants to hang with with people who are control freaks.  Something that takes a while to learn for lots of people. Control is an illusion.  So if you’re the Napoleon type golf yourself home and crown yourself king of a pass-time that nobody keeps score most of the time.

This rule keeps people out of each other’s grills; and so that everyone can have a relaxed time choose their own path, judge their progress as they see fit and makes them most content.

These rules were set up as making the our nights hitnround safe and positive; inclusive and chill and free for us to enjoy as we feel best suits us.

We use them for urban golf but apply them as you see fit.

Respect: P