I was at the curator’s home when he invited me to submit a work for the 19th round of Art on the Marquee, a public art event held by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

It was to be a short video for display on the titular 80-foot-tall marquee erected alongside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. I had a good idea that I thought would be a tap in.1

But it turned out we were staring at a muff.2 After four months of work and negotiations, the commission was banned from the marquee.

Now when it comes to video I’m a bit of a sand bagger.3 I’d taken one look at the marquee and pitched a little animation that was certain to fit its distinctive height and girth. I knew we’d hit the dance floor4 fast.


I got right to work setting up the scene and the camera angles in Unity, the program I use for my 3D work. The most important factor was that the ball had to bounce through the whole clip. (Actually, at least two and possibly as many as four balls were in the scene, but that’s neither here nor there.) Unity did a bang-up job simulating the physics of a golf ball, and we were filming in no time.

I always do everything I can to help a project get up.5 I knew this couldn’t just be an advertisement for the Unity program and the way it handles golf physics. Before I sent the clip off, I decided I should milk the grip6 a little.

After an hour playing with the physics simulation, I realized that there are so many moving parts in golf. The ball isn’t the only thing in motion during the game. Trees wave in the wind, birds soar over the fairway, and men roll in their little carts. In fact, all these things can also bounce. The flag can bounce on the pole, the hair can bounce on the floor, and the hole can even bounce in the hole that holds the hole.7

I didn’t want this to be a stretch, so I just put some bounce on the flagpole. Pole, after all, rhymes with hole. A little bit of wordplay never hurt anybody.


1/2
2016
Computer graphics for LED billboard

3D modeling support: Maya Taketani


1. A putt that is so easy that your partner will often concede.
2. Another word for a flub.
3. A player who is better than he lets on.
4. Another word for the putting green where the hole is found.
5. A phrase called out when the ball is in danger of falling short of its target.
6. A metaphorical action taken on the club handle prior to swinging.
7. Note to self: Something to investigate in a future project.
8. A phrase used when a shot mistakenly flies straight instead of bending.
9. The rear side of the hole.
10. A phrase used when the ball exits the hole after having traveled its lip.
11. A very bad shot.
12. A phrase used to exhort the ball to stop moving.
13. An optimal position for a ball to be hit out of the rough.
14. A wide, thick, and heavy chunk of dirt that is dislodged by a good swing.
15. A phrase that refers to a ball with considerable backspin.
16. After a putt that falls short, the chasm left between a ball and its hole.
17. Money.
18. A cheat wherein the player secretly moves the ball into a better position.
19. A movement performed with the club prior to swinging.
20. A body of water into which the ball has landed.

#bouncegate

But the effect was so strong that I hung it out8 on my first stroke. It reached the back door9 and ended in a last-minute lip out.10 The MCCA had the following message relayed to me:

They feel it is too sexually suggestive and request that you remove/replace the sequences of the flag pole as it goes in and out of the hole.

This project was no skank.11 It just had to grow teeth12 before it went too far.

With such clear feedback, I’d been granted a juicy lie.13 I took out the offending clip. My second stroke was much cleaner and I even threw a little beaver pelt14 this time. You can see the result for yourself at the bottom of this page.

As fate would have it, though, I didn't put enough bite15 into it. Seems we had a miscommunication about the maximum allowable threshold above which a shaft may bounce in a hole, which is zero (0). In my excitement to put one in, I'd overlooked a leftover bounce or two that simply showed too much.

We had run out of time, so the project got stuck in the jaws16 indefinitely. To the MCCA’s credit, they did give me candy17 for my work. But no bounce means and has always meant no bounce.


I’m writing this to set things straight: It may look like I’m pulling a hand wedge,18 but this is just my usual waggle.19 I play by everyone's rules.

Well, you can’t always make a Hole-In-One, or even a Hole-In-Two. This one sank deep into a watery grave.20