Golf is Not A Game for Sissies
Often times I hear people say who have never played golf, “That’s not a real sport!” or “Golf is so easy.”
I listen in annoyance and immediately know that person has never played a round of golf nor have they have ever attempted to hit a golf ball. No, a person doesn’t leave a golf course with bruises and battle scars. Nor does it require a lot of physical endurance, especially when one has the option of playing a round in a golf cart. However, golf is not a game for sissies.
Not many things can feel as unnatural as trying to swing a metal stick around your body, while trying to keep your center of gravity, and at the same time making a small object (the golf ball) go towards your intended target that is perhaps a couple hundred yards away.
Golf is challenging on many different levels. In order for a person to become a great golfer, they have to learn a lot of different shots. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Without hesitation I can think of twenty different shots that I work on consistently. Take into account that every golf course is set up differently and that weather can dramatically change the flight of the ball and how a player needs to approach the course that day, you’ve got yourself a very difficult sport:
Golf requires the use of fine motor skills. Because the sport is built a lot around feel, it takes a lot of hand-eye coordination to play this sport very well. Less than %1 of the world makes a living playing professional golf. If it were that easy, then more people would play for a living.
Golf is mentally demanding. I can’t tell you how much I have learned about myself on the course. How do I handle pressure? How do I handle myself when I hit a shot perfectly but get a bad bounce? How do I recover from a bad hole? How do I learn to stay in the present and not worry about a hole I haven’t even played yet? There is a lot of thinking that goes on in golf and learning when to turn your brain on and off can be one of the most difficult aspects about it.
Golf teaches you how to think smart. In golf there are many options a person can take when approaching a shot. Do they want to be below the hole? Is there less trouble on the right or left? This thought process can help people think more cognitively in life. For instance, there are many times when I have been completely impulsive and didn’t think about the consequences and then quickly regretted my impulsivity. But, golf has taught me to turn my brain on when there is danger around and to learn that sometimes the safe shot is the best shot. You will also learn there is a time to go for it and that the risk of going for it is more rewarding than the potential consequence.
Golf requires integrity. I personally don’t know of another sport where athletes are expected to call penalties on themselves For instance, if my ball moved on the ground after I set my club down, and no one else in my group saw it move, it would be my duty to call a penalty on myself. If I see someone intentionally cheat, I immediately can ascertain that person is dishonest off the course as well. Honesty and integrity are extremely important traits that many people find hard to adhere to.
Golf is physically demanding, but for different reasons. As I stated earlier, in golf you have to learn how to hit several different shots. However, the hardest part about it is repeating the same motion over and over again. One shot you may hit great, and the next shot will make you want to throw your golf bag in the lake. Regardless, golf does take a lot of skill and not everyone is going to swing the club like Tiger Woods. With knowing that, comes acceptance in knowing one’s physical limitations and learning to do the best with the skill set he or she has.
I can attest to the fact that golf is in no means a sport that is for weak or feeble minded. There are days when golf makes me like feel like I am on top of a mountain. Then there are days that make me want to get into the fetal position and cry. The best part of about golf though is how humbling of a sport it is. In my personal opinion, this sport requires someone to stay grounded within oneself because there will be good and bad days.
So I encourage you to give it a go and see just how much golf can really toughen you up.