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Climate Economics and Golf

I can relate nearly any topic to golf as I learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from decisions made on the course.  Some of my teammates will remember an incident in Marshall University’s event at El Diablo in Ocala, Florida.  I hooked my tee shot left on a VERY tight hole (meaning narrow).   I was in the middle of the trees to the left.


I was in trouble.  When I arrived at my shot, I knew exactly what I would do.  I had practiced height manipulation with every club in my bag and knew I could hit between these two limbs that were roughly four feet apart and four yards in front of me.  There was also some negligible foliage and grass/weeds in the interim, but nothing a brisk 4-iron punch couldn’t overcome.  The rest of this story comes later…

The purpose of the analogy is that sometimes we must acknowledge what our actual plays are.  Relative to energy policy, we currently have a number of options to supply our nation – coal, nuclear, hydro-power, petroleum, renewables, and others.  When discussing our current options to generate the level of energy needed to run our economy, WE DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE A RENEWABLE PLAY.  But we are so desperate to “hit the renewable shot” that we are willing to sacrifice too much for so little.  We have other options to tackle the energy problem – such as nuclear energy, addressing CAFE standards, etc.


Hopefully, readers will recognize this picture. If not, you do not want to be depressed; so DO NOT Google Jean Van de Velde.

Back to the golf analogy, no matter how many practice swings we take or how many times we step back to line it up, the shot for the green here doesn’t work.  I can demonize every other option because they won’t get me a birdie, but sometimes birdie is not an option.  So, in the meantime we must consider what options are viable.  Why would we choose to tax are most viable options as we are discussing with the carbon-tax?  For those on an electric car path, this is THE optimal solution.  We do not have a renewable option nor do we want a carbon tax to subsidize this option.  To summarize, the renewable shot looks like a “knock-down, rising, skipper over water, up a hill to an elevated green”.

Therefore, we must consider available options to address the issue…  Now back to the real story at hand:

I was notorious for my precision (in my mind it was precision, to others it was slow play).  I had envisioned precisely what was to happen upon my beautiful contact with the Titleist PROV1 that had “KRG” written in the side.  I took a few practice swings and knew at that point that I was about to make the kind of shot that only a few bastards in this world could make.  I want to emphasize, “I HAD THIS SHOT.”  It was practiced, envisioned, and then interrupted at conception.

“What are you thinking here, Josh?” Coach said in a soft, serious tone.

“I’m gonna punch-rocket this 4-iron so  it gets high enough at four yards to miss low branch and runs up right next to the flag.”  I have thought about this shot deeply and as long as I hit this 4-iron so it reaches a height higher than limb #1, I have zero possibility for error.  After my decision was made, shot planned out to perfection, and I was in the zone known as shot domination.  I had to step back for moment to realize that my grand design was being questioned by my own coach.  Does he not know about my tree-game?

My confidence was flustered.  I re-emphasized how good I was at golf and, more importantly, that “I have this shot, Coach!”  Though wrong he was, he suggested I punch out into another fairway and wedge it (120 yds) over the tree line.

Woah! That shot hadn’t crossed my mind.  I have been thinking about this clutch punch-out to 2-feet and a tap-in for birdie.  I hadn’t considered this pansy-shot.  Regardless of my high confidence levels, it was insisted upon me to take the pansy-punch-out.  Truth is, the punch-out was not a bad option, it was just that I had the other shot in the bag.

The result was I hit a poor punch-out as directed because I had already mentally decided what shot was best for me – the other one.

I tell that story to drum up memories, but more importantly to emphasize what our options truly are.  We do not have a renewable option right now.  What is the best shot for us as a nation to take?

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Benjamin Adam Stephens June 20, 2014, 3:30 pm

    I remember that quite well… My dad was so mad… That shot you wanted to hit was impossible…lol… From one golfer with tree game to another- there was about a 0.5% chance of success with that shot:-). Good blog though man!

  • Josh Crutcher June 20, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Your dad scarred me for life… lol 😉

  • Benjamin Adam Stephens June 20, 2014, 3:44 pm

    That’s fair because I think your running through Alumni with backless sweat shorts scarred the rest of us…lol

  • Michele Robbins June 20, 2014, 5:44 pm

    Can we discuss some of your other amazing shots I’ve witnessed? Love it! Mom;)

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