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Pursuing Academic Adequacy in College

  • Ted Landphair

Surfing class has started.

Surfing class has started.

You sure don't have to be a scholar to pass some courses

College students are back in class across America. But not all of their courses involve the rigor of, say, paleontology or advanced calculus.

Every American college has what are called "gut” courses. They’re ones in which it’s not terribly hard to earn an “A.” Sometimes they're called "Mickey Mouse" courses because a child could pass them. “Underwater Basket Weaving” is the usual, sarcastic, example. Or courses like “Brewing Beer” and “The Science of Surfing.”

All three really exist. Underwater basket weaving involves dipping reeds or stalks of plants into water, letting them soak, and then fashioning baskets out of them.

At Green Mountain College in Vermont, students can major - meaning take several classes - in whitewater rafting. And many colleges offer a subject called “Golf for Business and Life.” Now that’s a gut course if we ever heard one.

Today’s Golf for Business and Life class is more about life than business.

Today’s Golf for Business and Life class is more about life than business.

Or is it?

Turns out, “Golf for Business and Life” is not just an excuse to knock a few balls down the fairway. Its designers say it will teach you to play a passable round of golf. But more importantly, it will reveal the secrets of business deals and interview strategies on the golf course.

Ethics, too, which are supposed to be scrupulous in golf and - most Americans would agree - could use some improvement in business.

For a century now, barons of industry and other big-shot men have sealed business deals over rounds of golf. Women have only lately been admitted to the cozy networks of golfers who build contacts, friendships and trust - three essential ingredients to business success. So plenty of women sign up for this golf class.

And registration for “Golf for Business and Life” fills fast. Shh. Quiet now. Mickey Mouse is lining up his putt.