Stop Slamming Golf! The Case for the Game of Life

Huge scores of people detest golf.  Donald Trump and presidents play it too much.  It is the game for elitists and the ruling class.  It misuses land, promotes inequality, takes too long, and creates golf widows.  Besides that, you whack a small ball around with sticks.  How stupid is that?!  Let me make the case for golf.  The game that is a good metaphor for the journey of life.  It teaches and gives back so much.  It pairs well with so many things.  Best of all it doesn’t matter if you are a good player to reap its rewards.

Life Metaphor

Golf is game that can’t be won only played.  Golf is not a game of perfect.  Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character. These are a sample of endless great golf quotes.  Many of these quotes make the same point about the game.  That like life, you accept and deal with what comes your way.  You hit a great shot and it goes too far into water.  Or it lands in a in the fairway but in a divot.  Or it rolled just off the back of the green into a bunker.  You hit the right putt with the right speed and line but it did not go in because it hit a pebble on the way.  Sometimes you do the exact right thing and it doesn’t work out.  As soon as you hit a shot a huge gust of wind appears blowing your ball into a hazard.  You are having the round of your life and thunderstorms come in and because of downpours the course is closed.  But sometimes you come out smelling like a rose when you don’t deserve it.  You hit it right into the woods and the tree pops it out into the fairway.  You causally whack a 75-foot putt as an afterthought and it goes in.  At the end of a terrible day you hit one great shot that makes it all worthwhile and that keeps you coming back.  You scull a ball but it rolls onto the green anyway by luck and then you make a putt for an ugly birdie.  But they all look the same on the scorecard.  You are surprised with beautiful views and great conversation and jokes.  Unexpected good things happen.  Golf is also about having the confidence and mental discipline to make something out of nothing.  Your ball is in the woods on a par 4 behind a tree.  But you see how you can still make par with a plan, discipline, belief, and execution.  Chip out to the fairway, one shot onto the green, and then 1 putt to still make par.  A truly stolen par I still think feels better than a birdie or eagle.  On the golf course it is easy to pack it in and think golf is hard.  Harder still is having the discipline to pay attention and grind on every shot for 18 holes over 7000 yards.  Golf is about managing failure while at the same time not allowing yourself to get drunk on recent success.  Doing your best not to control conditions on a long journey but deal with them as best as you can.  Golf is the game of life.

Travel, Food, Fashion

Golf goes great with travel.  Wherever you may want to go there are golf courses.  You and your spouse, friends, and family have an activity already in your back pocket to aide you in experiencing a new destination.  Golf is very different depending where you are.  Desert golf in Arizona, tropical golf in Florida and the Caribbean, links golf in bad weather in Scotland, mountain golf in New Mexico, and old courses in New England.  Grass types are different and play that way, tall trees versus no trees, no sand versus lots of sand.  Very flat today or in the mountains tomorrow.  Fast green and slow greens.  Playing golf while traveling gets you out in nature to experience various climates and environments.  While traveling golf is a great way to interact with locals to get insider intel on the area.  Do you like food and drink?  Golf courses have great restaurants and bars on site and you will enjoy the tradition of a nice lunch or cocktails after a round.  You meet others with the same interests and you bond.  You like fashion?  Golf has its own set of fashion rules and many choices so if you like shopping golf fits here as well.

Rule Accountability

There are no referees or officials in golf per se.  In tournaments there are rules officials but most of the time their help is requested for abnormal situations only.  It is up to you to know the rules and to enforce them appropriately.  It is also your responsibility to tell opponents when you have committed a violation.  You can cheat but in your own mind you will know you are a cheater.  You have decisions to make about yourself while playing golf.  Do you want to appear to be a better golfer by bending the rules or do you want to be honest with yourself?  Do you play the balls as it lies or do you improve the lie when nobody is around?  If you incur a lost ball to you take the real stroke and distance penalty or do you just drop one in the fairway and take a faux penalty.  Golf makes you learn rules and apply them to yourself.  Not because you have to, nobody will ever know the difference, but because those are the rules.

Mental Discipline

Best of all Golf is a mental game.  It is a grind.  It beats you down at first if you allow it.  Because it is hard and can easily seem impossible to be good at or make progress with.  If you are a fan of golf you have seen the epic meltdowns in big situations.  From Jean Van De Velde, Jordan Spieth, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie, to Scott Hoch.  Champion golfers have collapsed so close to victory because the moment was too big for the mind to handle and the mind sabotaged the results.  Simple shots due to the moment are executed like they never played once before.  Uncomfortable to watch.  Personally, when I have a great round going I start to think about the final score.  It affects my game negatively coming down the stretch.  But it is something I know I have to embrace and get better at.  Not letting the desire to complete a great round hijack the mental discipline needed to complete the task.  After many many years playing golf I am at the point where getting any better depends on improving the mental game.

Golf is a game that will pay off in many parts of your life and you can play it till you are dead.   So stop ripping on golf and go chase the little ball around with 14 sticks!

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