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Ice Golf (kevincox.ca)
68 points by cjlm on Jan 22, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments

I enjoyed this a lot. As Hal Varian says:

Happiness isn't having what you want. It's wanting what you have.

Growing up on the far South Side of Chicago, we didn't have a frozen lake handy, but there was this odd phenomenon where some lots were permanently vacant, usually belonging to the houses next to them. I guess land was cheap at one point. Now if I go there on StreetView, they all have houses.

Anyway, these vacant lots were always sunken below street level, and many of the adjacent owners would flood them in winter so the neighborhood kids could skate on them. Imagine doing that in the current litigation-heavy climate.

I don't remember anyone golfing on them, though. We did play hockey. If the puck went into the snow, you'd "take it out" like in basketball.

According to [0] the quote is attributed to Rabbi Hyman Schachtel.

According to [1] the quote is by Garth Brooks.

I wonder which one is right.

[0] - https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/461438-happiness-is-not-hav...

[1] - https://taddasfitness.com/blog/100932/Happiness-isn-t-having...

Thank you. I didn't claim Hal originated the quote. Just that I got it from him, as far as I can remember.

Thanks for sharing this quote, it became known to me in a similar form through Sheryl Crowe's Soak Up the Sun:

> It's not having what you want

> It's wanting what you've got

It always amazed me that such a powerful idea could be conveyed in two lines of a pop song, so it makes a lot of sense that it came from elsewhere.

Sheryl Crowe, Garth Brooks... What can't they teach us?

(that was a joke, if it wasn't obvious.)

> flood them in winter so the neighborhood kids could skate on them. Imagine doing that in the current litigation-heavy climate.

Plenty of folks still set up neighborhood rinks just like this here in New England!

Golf generally is a really fun sport, and I wish more people played it. It’s a very meditative thing.

The made up golf game I play with my nieces over the summer is to pick out a bunch of trees around yard as “holes”. Hitting the tree with the ball means sinking it. Lots of fun.

Golf is fun, but depending on location it is an environmental nightmare. The amount of water sprayed on bare ground to make massive grassy fields, then the pesticides, all so a couple people at a time can push a ball around. On the other hand, ice and snow golf seems ideal.

When I was overseas we had a course made by spraying oil on sand to create greens and fairways. That was ironically more environmentally friendly than anything used by the PGA.

Like this, but ours was so dry that the entire thing used oil.


Love minigolf, but regular golf takes up a ridiculous amount of resources per how many people can enjoy it. I wish it’d die.

Getting out on the ice is a true pleasure in the winter. There’s definitely more of a connection knowing that it could go wrong. But a little bit of prep goes a long way. I might have to try this this weekend. Just checked and the lakes by me (Connecticut) have about 6 inches of ice. Plenty for this sort of fun. Although, wow, the bounces are going to be insane on a lake with no snow on it. Fore!

Other fun sports to try on frozen lakes are ice boating and kite surfing with a snowboard. Lots of fun.

As a figure skater I can’t express how jealous I am of people who have guaranteed outdoor ice every winter! Skating on lakes is an amazing freeing experience.

And totally terrifying once you have seen someone fall through. It is a natural surface. Like skiing on a real glacier is nothing like a groomed run. No matter the prevailing conditions there is always some unseen spot that isn't safe.

A lot of it is just knowing how to read the ice and making sure it’s secure. About 10 days ago, the lake I live on was still open. A week ago, which had perfect ice, it was a little over 3” thick - which is borderline. People were out, but I didn’t trust it enough, so I stayed off. Today, the ice is a little over 6” deep, that’s safe for groups of people to be on and have some fun.

If I’m skating on my rink, I’m going to be pretty confident. I know the thickness of the ice and I know the contours of the lake bottom to know how to manage it. If I’m skating across the lake, then I’m either carrying a hockey stick or I’ve got my little ice picks in my sleeves.

In areas that get colder - like Minnesota, it’s pretty normal to be able to drive on the ice. In high school we got pulled over by the police for towing a sled behind the car on a frozen lake. It turns out that towing the sled was legal, but we needed to have something to prevent the sled from slipping under the car.

There’s also ways that you can take classes to learn how to drive on ice better. About a decade ago, I took a class with the local Audi owners club where they taught people how to drive on ice. You had to supply your own car (Audi or not) and acknowledge that your insurance does not cover you when driving on a lake. But aside from that it was a ton of fun and skill building. It’s still freaky when your car starts spinning, but its a lot less freaky when you’re on open ice and you know that you’re not going to hit anything.

And driving on ice isn’t some sort of edge case. For the residents of Angle Inlet, the 22 mile long winter ice road across Lake of the Woods[0] was literally a lifeline during the US/Canadian border closure because, for the most part, the residents had no other way to get to the rest of the United States.

[0]: https://www.kare11.com/article/news/local/minnnesota-northwe...

There is actually a movie [1] about driving across the St. Lawrence River, for smuggling people.

Fun fact: I caused this to be shown at our Thursday Movie Night at Google. It turned out that on our DVD setup, everything looked black and you couldn't see anything. I took a lot of shit for that one.

[1] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0978759/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Even in the coldest temperatures, ice moves. Gaps and folds form. Voids appear between ice and water. Unless you are on a swimming pool there is always somewhere to avoid, particularly once snow over ice is involved

Trucks drive on my lake this time of year.

I live on a small lake in New Hampshire. Have some respect for ice safety, but it can be quite safe. 6 inches of ice is more than enough.

I ride a Rokon motorcycle with studded tires on our lake.

Golf sounds like fun.

This video may be a more informative resource: https://youtu.be/8BoGrRx9R2g

It covers some of the history of the Chilly Open, has interviews with participants, etc

That's a very entertaining video. Looks like they are doing a mini-putt with tennis balls and hockey sticks. It looks like fun, especially with all of the quirky competitions and dress up. When we play we tend to do more of a "full golf" with regular balls and clubs over long distances. However we have tried tennis balls when it was so snowy that we were losing balls.

Have you played there?

Do you have more info?

Is this the official webpage? https://chillyopen.wayzatachamber.com/

Another golf variant is local park golf played with a normal club - 5 or 6 iron is good - and soft sponge practice golf balls that fly 40-50 yards. Use lightpoles and trees as targets and layout a course so that most holes are more than one shot long. Chip to hit the pole or tree to hole out.

This gave me a chuckle:

> “Koozies, best known for keeping your beer warm.”

I created a game called 'desert golf'. Basically a pitching wedge game - no putter, no hole, it's a big circle instead.

With NC getting its fair bit of snow this weekend, this post was aptly timed. Just a fun piece to read while I sip on hot cocoa. No koozie though

Ice Golf… or how to kill yourself accidentally

Why? Do you have any experience on lake ice?

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