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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 05/23/2008

Extreme Golf: Now That's a Water Hazard

By Steve Tracton

Credit: Anonymous.

Golf on an aircraft carrier? This would most definitely help the U.S. Navy with recruiting.

I can see the ad already: Tiger Woods drives the ball right down the center of the fairway, then turns to the camera and says, "Join the Navy. See the World. Play Golf."

Not to mention, it would utterly confuse the enemy.

But before anyone complains about frivolous spending of taxpayer money, there is a back story to this picture.

Keep reading for the story behind this picture. Also, see our full forecast through the holiday weekend, our BeachCast , and NatCast for tonight's game at Nationals Park.

I have a friend in California whose son is acknowledged as one of the foremost experts in the design and maintenance of golf courses. Several years ago on a visit out there, we got to talking at a bar on the grounds of Pebble Beach, one of the world's best known golf courses. I was working for the Office of Naval Research at the time, and with the Pacific Ocean as our backdrop, he facetiously (so I thought) suggested I award him a contract for designing golf links on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

To humor him, I responded something to the effect of, "Sure, while not on top of the Navy's priority list, I'll see what I can do." We talked about how golfers would need to anticipate the slope and angle of ship roll, which in turn would open a whole new area of research and development -- golf strategy as related to wave action, sea spray, dodging incoming and outgoing aircraft, maneuvering around surfers when approaching Pearl Harbor, and being "hosed" under the Golden Gate by streams of water from fireboats welcoming sailors ashore.

Finally, I noted that not least amongst the problems would be the inevitable media headlines along the lines of, "Your Tax Dollars at Work."

As might be expected, almost immediately after our discussion, the idea was purged from whatever bin within my cranium houses memory. Much to my surprise, however, several months later I received the above picture in the mail from an anonymous sender. The picture has since appeared on a host of blog sites, without attribution. Clearly, whoever created it must be an expert in PhotoShop or the like.

My friend claims total innocence -- to which I responded that I own a desert island in the Arctic Ocean that could use a golf course. (There's a picture I'd like to see in Al Gore's next movie.)

At the time, some colleagues of mine thought a golf course-equipped aircraft carrier might actually be a good idea -- an innovative, revolutionary and totally unexplored area of national defense. Hence, an "out-of-the-envelope" opportunity for acquiring research funds. Contacts with ranking officers aboard aircraft carriers were unanimously enthusiastic. "Just think what golf at sea will do for sailor morale. ... When ammunition runs out, we can fire golf balls at the enemy." After all, it's unlikely they've developed an anti-dimpled-ball defense.

Needless to say, the notion of aircraft carrier golf died a gentle death after the laughing subsided. At least it did in the "unclassified" world. Who knows, perhaps the skunkworks are working on it behind the scenes. It makes sense that we wouldn't want our adversaries to find out about such a project. They'd probably assume it was a means to hide some new-age weapons system.

Of course, we could play along with their assumption and argue that the target is not them, but rather a possible attack by extraterrestrials. Should they believe this, perhaps they'd want to buy my island in the Arctic.

Even if they don't buy our story, the whole thing might work to our benefit anyway -- no matter how evil the enemy, who'd want to blow up a beautiful golf course?

By Steve Tracton  | May 23, 2008; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Tracton  
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Comments

I've noticed a recent trend in the humor posts, which might be titled, "Really, Really Weird Boats". ;-)

Posted by: ~sg | May 23, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I love the little helicopter landing pad in the middle of the course. Hehehe. ;)

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | May 24, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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