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January 1, 2012 / jwaxo

Fuji Golf (Golf)

I exclusively golf on Mars.

Alright, enough of the weird, “I learned this concept”/”life-lesson”/”adjective” from video games. Time for something tangible.

I learned to golf from Fuji Golf.

Fuji came with most Windows PCs in the 90’s, part of the standard pack that had Chess and Rattler’s Revenge and SkiFree. In other words, if you owned a computer in the previous couple decades and it wasn’t a Mac, you probably already know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a golfing game that had every club, 18 holes, and computers that were nearly unbeatable. Seriously: according to Wikipedia, the computers were programmed to pretty much always do better than the humans by a stroke or two, all the way down to -15.

It was not, however, the first golfing game that we owned. That pleasure goes to an MS-DOS golfing-game that we owned at some random point. I was too young to learn much from it, apart from basic facts: get as low a score as possible, avoid sand traps, don’t go out of bounds, miss the trees, and switch to a top-down view when putting.

This was crucial and a skill that never came back to be useful.

Compared to that first game, Fuji Golf was boring and complicated. I’m more than willing to attribute the extra complexities to me merely being older and able to see them. I’m sure I could switch clubs in that MS-DOS game, but now they were right there in my face with Fuji. Putting, now that it wasn’t the top-down view, was a lot less simple, and had a lot less in common with minigolfing. The trees were big and formidable, the graphics were, sadly, a lot more detailed, and, even worse, I was horrible at it.

My father, meanwhile, was not horrible at it. So I watched him play. It’s a strategy that paid off in the past, and so it paid off again. I gradually got used to switching clubs with each shot, although the ones with the higher numbers of course tempted me. Bigger numbers = better, right? I learned why keeping on the fairway was an important aspect. In random lessons with my grandparents (themselves golfing masters), I learned what putting was really about, which in turn helped my minigolf game, which in turn helped my Fuji Golf game.

I would put in a bit of time every month or so, when other games soured or I only had a short period of time for a game. I would hammer out courses, playing against friends, shooting that ball down the fairway like a pro.

Finally, time came to test my strength.

After years of training…

This was years later, much later than when I had first picked up and put down Fuji Golf. I was a freshman in high school, in fact. And I played my first game of golf.

Played it like a pro.

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I didn’t do that well; learning to swing the club correctly was enough of a lesson. But the important thing to remember here is that I knew all of the rules, I knew a lot of the strategies, and I was pretty good at pitching and aiming against the wind. I pretty much had everything down apart from the physical skills. Despite the fact that it had been years since I had first picked up the mouse and tried my hand at Fuji Golf, the lessons it had instilled on me were still there, lurking at the back of my brain.

Makes one wonder about the million tiny lessons that we pick up.

The game also did not prepare me for how tiring golf can be.

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