The Golfing Rabbi, Counting Cars

Golf. A sport usually reserved for the hoighty toighty, and/or generally older crowd. A sport where people ride in little carts and get out of them to whack a tiny plastic ball into a tiny plastic cup.

MiniMatt

Rabbi Matt Dreffin, a few years ago.

Of course, if you’re someone like me, a native of Florida who grew up surrounded by the sport, you just might fall in love with it at a young age. (I received my first new set of golf clubs when I became 
Bar Mitzvah
!)

When I go golfing, I usually pull up to the parking lot, lace up my spikes, and immediately feel insignificant. Why? My little Jetta was several years older, and thousands of dollars cheaper, than the BMWs and Maseratis that occupied the spaces around me in my former locales (South Florida when I was growing up, then Southern California when I was in rabbinical school).
But then I moved to the South. The vehicles in the parking lot changed. And…

I STILL felt insignificant.

Not because of my car’s value, but now, due to its stature. The sheer size of the vehicles surrounding me was intimidating. Liberties and Tundras and Blazers, oh my!

As a rabbi who spends many weekends on the road, I try and sneak in a round of golf on a local Southern course wherever I find myself. (Full disclosure, I cannot consistently break 90.) Most recently, after a great weekend at a synagogue in Jackson, Tennessee, I had the realization that I was surrounded by trucks! It felt like every vehicle parked nearby was a Ford F-150, a Jeep Wrangler, or something even bigger.

cars

Awestruck by this, I literally began counting cars, discovering that 13 out of 21 vehicles (a whopping 62%!!!) were trucks or SUVs. My initial reaction was “Is this the status symbol in this area? It’s not how quickly your Porsche can accelerate to 60 miles per hour, but how what pound-feet of torque your Chevy has?”

Then it occurred to me that these golfers might live a different lifestyle – the kind that requires a different vehicle. After all, my father, a plant facilities manager at a North Georgia summer camp, has not one but TWO trucks. He uses them to carry two-by-fours, potted plants, and all manner of large items returning from one of his daily (sometimes hourly) trips to the hardware store. His vehicle isn’t about status, it’s about function.

Posted on November 11, 2013

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