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UNTROUBLED SPORT FOR THOSE WHO PLAY VAAGG
James Van Alen
November 28, 1966
Having invented VASSS, the scoring system that takes the love out of tennis, the author now turns to greener pastures by advancing outrageous proposals that take the hate out of golf
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November 28, 1966

Untroubled Sport For Those Who Play Vaagg

Having invented VASSS, the scoring system that takes the love out of tennis, the author now turns to greener pastures by advancing outrageous proposals that take the hate out of golf

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4) There are too many clubs in the bag that the hacker finds difficult to handle. By "handle" the club I mean use it to get the ball in the air and keep it reasonably straight. In this respect the driver is the worst. It has the longest shaft and the straightest face of any club, which means it is the hardest club with which to keep the ball on line and in the air. Yet it is the club that is used on almost every hole. But the driver is not the only snake in the golf bag, not by any means. The two-, three-and four-woods and two-, three- and four-irons are troublemakers, too. It is not until the golfer gets down to the faithful mashie (five-iron ) that he begins to feel some security, for the mashie hits the ball straighter than any of the more powerful clubs and can be used in a variety of ways for shorter shots.

Having taken golf apart, all we have to do is put it together again, using only the good parts and leaving out the bad. As I see the game, I want: 1) a round to take half of the present four hours so that I can use the other half for some real exercise, 2) to hit and putt the ball twice as many times per hole as I do at present and 3) to hit the ball straight down the middle of the fairway and not waste my time and patience combing through the bushes for it.

To arrange this is easier than you think.

First: you play nine holes—not 18—in a round.

Second: you take a mulligan on every shot—not just off the first tee. This means you hit two shots off the tee and select the ball with the better lie for your second shot. You then hit two second shots and select the better lie for your third. You continue this selective plan until you hole out.

Third: you use that most honest of all clubs, the mashie, from tee to green. Once on the green, you use a putter.

That's all you need to do.

Before I get drowned out by the cries of indignant purists, I would like to make a closing statement. I have used this formula with complete and gratifying success many times and have enjoyed the type of competition that it produces far more than ordinary golf. In addition, while testing it, I have made some interesting discoveries:

1) The time wasted per round hunting for lost balls in normal golf is far greater than the time spent taking second shots and picking up the extra ball.

2) A firm friendship is established with one club instead of a nodding acquaintance with 14. You learn how to control the length of your shots by cutting down on the swing and/or shortening up on your grip. You also learn that it is possible, by laying back the face of your mashie, to blast out of bunkers.

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