Ghetto Golf, Volume 1: Express Bus Edition
By legitimatebeef on 7/8/13
Our favorite beef â€” oober legitimatebeef â€” decided to take the thoughts and opinions we love so dearly and turn them into a blog appropriately named legitimategolf.com. Since anyone who's spent time on oob knows he's one of the best characters in the community, we decided to repost one of his original articles (with permission of course) to give his blog some love. Here is a sample of the kind of quality work you can find on his blog. Enjoy!
Occasionally I am asked about what it's like playing golf while living in this urban hellhole, relying only on public transportation. I won't lie, it's a fairly hardscrabble life compared to that of most of the golfing universe. So I thought I'd try and photojournal some of the experience.
Contrary to popular belief and to the surprise of even a lot of people who live here, there are golf courses inside of New York City limits, at least a couple in every borough except Manhattan. Full on, 18 hole par 71s and 72s. Up to 6,900 yards if that's what you're into. A few of them are even directly accessible by public transit. Which technically I should be grateful for, I think.
It's not easy though, bringing a golf bag on a subway or bus. Space is already tight, and there's plenty of climbing up and down steps. People in your face all the time. Not being mindful, you might find yourself locked in a random conversation with a guy who played golf one time. Sometimes trains are crowded and you have to stand, which means wrangling the bag with one hand and holding on for dear life with the other. All this takes a fair amount of practice before you can do it without stressing yourself out.
Last year Golf Digest managed to spot a golfer in the NYC
subways and ran these shocking Bigfoot-style photos.
My own subway trip, I'll cover in another post. Today, we'll be traveling via MTA "Express" bus. This particular route runs from midtown Manhattan all the way to the southern tip via Broadway and by chance, stops right in front of the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. (Fun fact--it's where TV's Scott Baio hails from.)
There are maybe eight or nine 18 hole courses within the city limits. But this route is by far the shortest. On a good day I can get there in about 45 minutes.
(I live about a mile across town from the nearest bus stop. I could either walk or ride a bus or train there, but typically my trip starts with a short bike ride.
Stock photo to give you a rough visual--I assure you this isn't me.
It took me a while to work up the nerve to actually strap on my golf bag and go for a bike ride, but once I did it became normal pretty fast. It's a pretty sweet way to get around, you just have to get used to the wide load. Sometimes I underestimate the width and some sideview mirrors get bumped.)
Ok, here I am arriving at Union Square, where I'll park the bike and catch the bus. Centrally located, its a major juncture of nearly every city subway line making it a popular meetup spot as well as gathering area for skaters, creepers, drifters, activists and other assorted scum.
Looking north uptown, there's the Empire State Building. Think I see our bus coming; somehow, it's on time.
Express Bus is the lux route compared to the subway. There are: fewer stops, fewer passengers, plush seats and tinted windows. On a good day its the fastest ride out there. All this is reflected in the fare, which costs 240% more than the standard subway or bus ride.
Passing through Greenwich Village/NYU area.
Crossing Houston ("HOW-stun" is what its called over here) Street into SoHo. Renowned shopping destination. For jerks.
As a matter of fact yes, stuck behind tourists again.
The signage there commemorates the Canyon of Heroes section of Broadway, site of many a triumphant historic victory celebration. Except that one time when Jay-Z copped a ride on the Yankees' float, which quite frankly kind of sucked.
A rare bit of inspiration in a golf-barren wasteland.
Zucotti Park, which you might recognize as the site of the "Occupy Wall Street" event. I played a lot of golf during the movement, and got a front seat to history just by taking this bus route to course. I was there man.
In today's New York City, a slice of pizza costs a dollar, and sucks.
In New York City, Subway stores feature classic gothic architecture.
Serving up NYC's famous "dirty water" hot dogs.
Shoe shine guys doing business on the sidewalk.
At times, it feels practically third world over here.
There's some tourists, worshipping at the Wall Street bull.
Finally, we've reached 1 Broadway at the southernmost tip of Manhattan.
It's really tiny, in the left half of the shot, but technically I am showing you a photo of the Statue of Liberty here.
Entering the Battery Tunnel. This thing got completely flooded by Hurricane Sandy last fall, putting a major dent in my golf routine.
Trying to snap this photo I accidentally used the flash. I was mortified at what I had become but hey, just one of the costs of running a blog I guess.
Welcome to shitty Brooklyn! While there is a decent part to Brooklyn, somewhere, this isn't it; this is the harsh, industrial, polluted butt end. Here we are on the expressway. There's Staten Island in the distance, and that tall bridge over yonder, if you can make it out, is the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island and we're headed towards the base of it.
After a few boring miles of expressway, our exit approaches.
And here we are in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
A quick trip today--about 45 minutes from pickup and here we are at lovely Dyker Beach Golf Course (and Dog Run). Time to shake off the cobwebs from the bus ride and tee off.
Hope you've enjoyed this little slice of life. Naturally there's a few sights I missed out on this trip, but don't worry they'll get covered in an upcoming edition. Stay tuned for that and others including "Ghetto Golf: Subway edition".
This was written by legitimatebeef, a reader/follower/fellow oober; the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in any way. Enjoy! We are sure that he's ready for your feedback.
Have an idea for a guest column? Send it here!
Image via Legitimategolf.com
[ comments ]
joe jones says:
Beef. Thanks for the memories. When I grew up at 92st & 4th ave , Ft Hamilton in the 50s golf was not a sport we participated in. If you carried a golf club you were probably going to use it as a defensive weapon. We used Dyker Beach golf course for sledding in the winter and as a make out site during the warm weather.If I had to go through what it takes you to play golf I probably never started. Good luck with the blog. I have enjoyed your contributions on oob and look forward to tour future postings.
Torleif Sorenson says:
Yowza - what a story, Beef! I guess that while I would enjoy visiting NYC, I'm not sure I could handle living there.
Matt McGee says:
Nice photo journal, and good luck with the blog.
I have a new appreciation for the golf course that's four blocks from my front door.
Been, seen, done and now wear the t-shirt though never via the bus always the subway and walking. Its not so bad this shitty Brooklyn either.
i feel your pain. my golf trips mostly include immigration into a 3rd world countries and 1 hour ferry rides. a typical outing takes about 12 hours.
Gotta agree with BlameME, stop hating on Brooklyn. I'd stick with the bridge and tunnel crowd any day. Very good post though, Beef. I'll be following the blog.
Don't go all "John Rocker" here... but seriously, if you've never lived in a city before, you may not realize that one of the biggest differences between cities and burbs or rural areas is that in cities everyone has to share most things. The bigger the city(ies) the more you gotta share. You share walls, air, transportation, thoughts.
Third world = no electricity or running water, no public safety services, possibly no government or administration.
Perhaps did you forget the part about carrying your bike up/down 15 flights of stairs?
Well enjoy the golf, and the "Jerks!"
"and other assorted scum."
Best line ever. Typical beef talk. SO funny!
Awesome comments Joe! Awesome as in gruesome and as in wonderful.
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