Golf had long been a bastion of people, its exclusivity maintained by a silent gentle folk’s agreement. But no longer, for on January 1, 1974, in Kippen, Idaho, chickens finally integrated the game.
The top thirty chickens in Idaho arrived at the prestigious, private golf club, Froussard for “The Great Chicken Invitational.” Earlier, in late August, Froussard enrolled a chicken to qualify as the host.
Skeptics everywhere had maintained that chickens do not have the necessities to play golf. Other critics had argued that even if physically able chickens could be found, they would not have the mental skills required to converse and to make business contacts.
Nevertheless, the Great Chicken Invitational came to pass. The Invitational’s organizers invited the most athletic chickens for miles around. Intrepid entrepreneurs designed full lines of chicken-sized golf clubs. Chicken owners everywhere got into the spirit and demanded full sets of these clubs for their tiny friends.
Golf enthusiasts from all over the world yearned to see the momentous event. Sven Fjaderfa, CEO and owner of mammoth Swedish Furniture, up and left work a day before the start of the tournament. “I want to see chickens play golf,” he told his employees. Thousands of other golfers joined him at Kippen, Idaho, for the greatest exhibition of golf the state has ever seen.
At seven in the morning of January 1, the organizers trucked in the chickens to the golf course. While the officials spent an hour assigning starting times, the spectators admired the chickens’ traditional tartan knickerbockers. “They look darling,” stated Heather Anders of Fashion Magazine.
At eight o’clock, the organizers unloaded the chickens near the first tee. The chickens immediately scattered to peck for worms in the recently mowed course. Eventually, an official, Tom Purdue, caught Agatha and plopped her down at the tee. He gave the chicken a number one wood, as this was a 476 yards, par 5 hole.
The crowd watched in anticipation, as Agatha surveyed the fairway. She carefully held the driver in the traditional chicken grip, the top wing just touching the bottom wing. All expected Agatha to be a serious competitor, as she never smiled. She looked down the fairway once more, clucked a few times, moved the club back, keeping her left wing straight, and then rapidly brought it forward to hit the ball.
Sarah Dindon, was there for the tee off. “I was lying down on the ground looking up at the blue sky, as I have always found this the best way to view chicken golf.” Sarah watched Agatha’s ball soar above her head into the clouds. The ball then came down, landing a yard down the fairway. At this effort, some unsympathetic fans hooted in derision. Agatha reacted angrily by pecking her nearest tormentors.
The organizers hoped for better results from Roxanne, a fierce, muscular chicken, who spat gravel at the poor official who carried her to the tee. Roxanne followed Agatha’s lead by selecting a driver from the tiny bag on her back. She exhibited perfect form, as a lifetime of looking for worms in the ground had given her the enviable ability to keep her darn, stupid head down. Although her drive nearly doubled Agatha’s in length, this still meant she was 474 yards short. Nearly all the attending journalists agreed that her chances of parring the hole were remote.
Chicken after chicken followed the pattern of Agatha and Roxanne. Something had gone wrong. Apologists for the fowls suggested that the media circus attending this first professional contest unnerved the flock. Indeed, Bob Banks, owner of Francine, slugged a reporter who badgered chickens in rather one-sided interviews.
But the reason for their poor performances lay in the chickens themselves. Remarkably, no one had considered the possibility that a twenty-ounce chicken using a four-inch club would drive a regulation golf ball a considerably shorter distance than would a two-hundred-pound man with a regulation club. Furthermore, for all their attentiveness to their swings, the chickens’ lack of hands proved to be a major obstacle to getting firm grips on their clubs.
(To be continued)