That's Something You Don't See Every Day, Chauncey

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Archive for May, 2011

Do I detect the distinct aroma of burning pants?

Posted by kozemp on May 12, 2011

You ever see the promotional postcard that the TPC at Sawgrass sends out about how awesome their course is? The one that claims that 120,000 (that’s one hundred and twenty THOUSAND) balls a year are lost to the water at 17?

I saw that and instantly said “there is no goddamn way that’s true.”

Then I set out to PROVE that there’s no goddamn way it’s true.

To prove this, let’s do some neato-nifty Fermi math.

Now, let’s start off with some theoretical assumptions to maximize the number of balls that can possibly be whacked into the water on 17. First, we will assume that it never rains. In Florida this is admittedly extraordinarily unlikely, but that’s math for you. Secondly, we will assume that every professional golfer on earth is stricken with swine flu and thus there is no Players’ Championship in our rain-free year, so that we can thirdly assume the course is constantly in use by the maximum number of players at all possible times. Setting aside for the moment the possibility of people playing glow golf – which, while fun, I do not recommend in a state with alligators – the question of what constitutes people playing at all possible times becomes one of daylight.

So how much daylight are we talking about?

The TPC at Sawgrass is just past 30 degrees north Latitude.

The good folks at the University of Nebraska provide us with a very useful “Hours of Daylight by latitude” app.

A little Excel magic tells us that Ponte Vedra Beach gets, at a rough estimate, approximately 4,467 hours of daylight a year.

Going off the claim from the TPC that 120,000 golf balls go into the drink per year, we can calculate that for that number of balls to go in the water, 27 people per hour need to tee off at 17 and put their shot right into the drink. That’s once every 2.23 minutes.

So, under optimal conditions, for this postcard to be accurate someone has to put a ball in the water at 17 every 133 seconds for an entire year.

Given that our optimal conditions are completely, ridiculously, hilariously impossible, my conclusion is:

Fuck you and your lying-ass postcards, TPC at Sawgrass.

JLK

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