JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (AP) - Mike Tuten has spent the last 20 years on the North Shore of Oahu shaping surf boards. He joined his brother, Titleist rep Chris Tuten, for a round of golf on the Plantation Course at Kapalua at the start of the year.
Walking down the seventh fairway, the Pacific Ocean on the horizon, Tuten said he found a lot of similarities between surfing and golf.
“It’s all about controlling your inner self and enjoying the environment around you,” Tuten said.
That made sense to Adam Scott, who does a fair bit of surfing.
Ditto for Geoff Ogilvy, who described himself as a “splash-in-the-water kind of surfer.”
“A lot of surfing is just sitting on the back of your board and just enjoying the place you’re at,” Ogilvy said. “You can do it with friends or on your own. Some of the appeal is that you’re out there on your own with golf, too. Surfing is similar. A lot of guys who go surfing would be those types of guys who like to get out and do their own thing.”
For a technical answer, Kelly Slater weighed in.
“Physically, there’s not a lot of similarities,” Slater said at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. “When you surf, you do twist your body. You twist your shoulders and bring the board to where your shoulders are. When you catch a wave, you don’t want to be thinking about the crowd, cameras, how pretty it is. You want to have a calm mind when you take off on a wave.”
It all sounded good in theory until the question was posed to Ernie Els on the range at Waialae.
Are there any similarities between golf and surfing?
“No, I don’t agree with that,” Els said.
He pointed to the 30-foot palm trees lining both sides of the range to make his argument.
“You see a wave that big coming at you, I don’t see how you can enjoy your environment,” Els said. “I would be trying to get the hell out of there. No, golf is not like surfing. You don’t get killed playing golf.”
The 2011 season began with waves crashing along the shores of Maui and Oahu. Rory McIlroy wiped out at the Masters and had the ride of his life at the U.S. Open. Luke Donald is riding a wave that doesn’t seem to end. And late in the year, Tiger Woods showed signs of paddling back out to sea.
Along the way, there were plenty of other moments that went beyond birdies and bogeys.