I get a lot of media releases sent my way. Most tell me about a new club, a course opening, a special event. But I also get releases highlighting the occasional wacky gadget. Today I got one of those in an e-mail:
It is being called the first-ever "drive-by" golf ball retriever. The ScrambleScoop allows any golfer to easily scoop up grounded golf balls while in a moving cart — without bending, leaning or stretching. Originally designed for use in golf scrambles or "best ball" games, the ScrambleScoop is proving popular for any golf outing.
You have to be kidding me.
Okay, I realize this may be useful for some golfers who have aching backs or medical conditions that make bending over painful. But if you aren't one of those people and you buy one of these, you may as well walk around the clubhouse wearing a t-shirt that says, "I'm the laziest guy here."
The ScrambleScoop is a simple device, a net on the end of an aluminum stick that sells for $16.95. It's designed to pick up the ball as you drive. To see it in action, click here.
The device's "inventor" said in the release: "I've played many golf scramble games and when I leaned from the cart and nearly fell out trying to pick up the ball, I knew there had to be a better way."
True. I've got one. Stop your cart, get out and pick up the ball.
The Web site for the device claims it will speed up play, but scrambles, and golf in general, are slow because people insist on lining up two-foot putts, aren't ready in the fairways and refuse to pick up after making their 10th swing. Grabbing stray balls is not the issue.
If you have back or knee pain that makes bending over painful, you get a mulligan on this one. But still, it's this sort of gadget that makes people debate whether golf is a sport.