Golf Invades the Soviet Union

Golf Invades the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union, I now firmly believe, has inexorably set forth on the high road of peace and accommodation with the West. Its leaders, you see, have taken up golf.

The Soviets have signed an agreement with a Western company to build an 18-hole course a mere 20 miles south of the Kremlin. Now that's what I call a true revolution. Our former enemy has joined the family of golfing nations.

As positive an omen as this is for the future, imagine how different world history might have been had Marx, Lenin and Stalin been duffers. If these gentlemen had only spent their spare time making par instead of trouble, there would be no need for detente today. The Soviet Union and the United States would already be golfing buddies, with links, not linkage, on our minds.

My guess is that Karl Marx would have been a pretty fair hacker, assuming he could see the ball through that expansive beard. Anyone capable of dissecting a complex economic system could surely straighten out his slice. And, once hooked on the game, Marx would have soon discovered the real "opiate of the masses." The revolutionary theorist spent the last 34 years of his life in England, the cradle of the sport, so he was well positioned to get in the swing of things.

Having been bitten by the golfing bug, Marx would have had precious little time left to write inflammatory political tracts like "Das Kapital." . Or, if he did, his manifestos might have taken on a decidedly different tone and character:

"Golfers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your Titleists!" Or, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his handicap." Instead of his misguided fixation on the abolition of private property, Marx would have become obsessed with the liquidation of bogeys, man.

Lenin, of course, would have been a fearsome foursome opponent out on the links, had he taken to fairways rather than foul ones. Still, the greatest Communist golfer of all time would have been Uncle Joe Stalin. Who would be foolish enough to argue the point - while he was in power, anyway? After all, he was the man who reportedly said, "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic."

Yes, good old Uncle Joe would have been a million laughs at the 19th hole, assuming any of his partners were still around to giggle. Besides adding a much needed touch of physical intimidation to the sport, Stalin might have made some other lasting contributions. Caddies would now be called cadres, armored golf carts would be standard issue and bunkers would be hazards of quite a different hue nowadays.

Yes, I am overjoyed that Mikhail S. Gorbachev may soon be shooting in the low 90's and trying to "par-estroika" the hitch out of his swing. I had always viewed golf as something of a silly game, but now I see the virtue of it. Pity that the Soviets didn't tee it up 70 years earlier.