I finally figured out why the Japanese love to go the driving range and hit golf balls instead of play golf on a course.
It ties into the ancient samurai tradition
of practicing for battle by first beheading a bunch of criminals. Beheading prisoners
is to war as the driving range is to the golf course.
For example, the 60-something retired samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo said in Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
, from the early 17th Century:
"Yamamoto Kichizaemon was ordered by his father Jin`emon to cut down a dog at the age of five, and at the age of fifteen he was made to execute a criminal. Everybody, by the time they were fourteen or fifteen, was ordered to do a beheading without fail.....Last year I went to the Kase Execution Grounds to try my hand at beheading and I found it to be an extremely good feeling. To think that it is unnerving is a symptom of cowardice."