The Peach Basketfication of Golf

"WHIM NAISMITH"

2021

Sculpture

41.05705679901831, -72.449447121225

Location: Peconic, NY

Spray painted peach basket, bamboo tree trunk, and cotton sheet

145 yards from tee box to target 25’ flag height

Whim Naismith gets its name from the late Jim Naismith, a Canadian man who invented basketball by hanging a modified (cut the bottom out) peach basket up in a gymnasium in Massachusetts in the 19th century. In Whim Naismith, we built a 145 yard golf hole in the middle of a farm pasture. We weed-whacked a hitting area and a target “green”, dug a hole, planted a peach basket upside down in the ground with a bamboo tree trunk and canvas sheet, and made a gigantic target. This work provokes us to consider golf's relationships to non-players and question how leaders in the golf world can grow the game by simplifying it down to its foundations - club, ball, target. As a brand for people who might like golf, Whim engages non-participants as much as if not more than the already converted golfer. This focus sets us apart from the rest of the golf world and leans on an exploration of why people don’t play golf. Our perspective stems from an understanding that the majority of people don’t think they will like golf, they perceive golf as something that is not for them. This ode to the innovative Jim Naismith considers the growth of golf in context of basketball's rise. The origins of golf date back to the 15th century or earlier, yet the industry celebrates minor YoY growth a half a millennium later. Whereas basketball, invented in 1891, has become an undisputedly global game in just 130 years. Not every hoop sits on a perfect hardwood floor; but, the beauty is that they don't have to in order for people to pick up a ball and start dribbling, start developing a love for the game. Why can't golf find ways to present the game in a way that onboards new players to love the essence and action of the sport itself? We see and salute the Top Golfs of the world, but they miss the mark of what we cherish most about golf -- the reflective nature of the game, of a game where you play against yourself, where patience and mindfulness matter as much as strength or skill.