I began playing golf when I stopped sailing my boat.
That’s right. Golf is a sport I chose by default. At the time I lived in a seaside community just south of Boston and had a small day sailer that I used to putz around the harbor, visit the islands and once a year, take a gang of friends on an overnight “adventure sail” to a harbor somewhere up the coast. We had a blast. But I left that town and moved to a location on Cape Cod, and even though the Cape is surrounded by the ocean, getting a mooring for a boat is next to impossible. Families pass them on to their children or siblings. There’s a ten year waiting list. So I sold the boat and looked around for another sport.
When I’m not blogging, I work as a graphic designer and networking with business people is just something I do to bring in new clients. I was often asked to participate in golf tournaments and fund-raising events but always declined as I had never picked up a club. After I moved to the Cape, a client invited me to join him on his company’s golf team. I warned him I was not going to be a good partner, but he just laughed and made it clear the event was all in good fun and not to worry. I figured if he wasn’t worried, I’d borrow some clubs and give it a try.
On the morning of the tournament I decided to head out to the practice range a little early just to try things out. I had even borrowed a pair of golf shoes from a friend and thought, “I can do this. No problem.” Of course, all I did was whoosh past the ball. I had no clue what I was doing. Another player, a woman, was watching me from the club house balcony and as I tried for the third time to hit the ball at my feet I heard her say to whoever could hear, “Oh gawd, it’s going to be a long day.” I was humiliated. And annoyed at myself. This should be easy: you take the golf club in hand, place a ball on a tee, swing, hit, and go!
Nothing. Nada. No way.
So my first top reason for being hooked on golf is that I am determined to get good at this game. That first golf game, was, as I predicted, a disaster. When I did manage to hit the ball, I landed in water, in the trees, in the other fairways — still, it didn’t matter. We were playing a scramble format, and only needed one score for the team. Luckily two of the three players I was with were excellent golfers. We didn’t win the tournament, but we had a lot of fun.
And this is my second top reason for being hooked on golf: it’s a lot of fun. No matter how I play, and believe me, I’ve had some really bad rounds of golf in the seven years I’ve been playing (see this post for proof,) it’s still fun. There are times when I’ve done well, and each year I play my handicap has gone down a point or two. But no matter how I play, it’s a fun game.
I’ve met a lot of fine people playing golf. People I would otherwise never meet in business or within family circles — I continue to meet on the golf course. People from all walks of life and circumstances play golf. Golf is a great way to meet people – my third top reason for being hooked on golf: the networking. And golf has helped my business’ bottom line. Some fellow golfers have become great connections leading to work for my business.
The fourth reason I am hooked on golf is the chance to escape my business. As a designer I often sit at my computer seven or eight hours a day, working out new concepts, new programs, new solutions for clients. It’s fun and I enjoy it. But if anyone asks if I’d like to go hit a bucket of balls, or play a quick round on a nearby executive course, I’m there. Golf gives me the excuse to get outside in the fresh air and get in some exercise. I need more of it.
And finally, the fifth top reason I am hooked on golf is the promise of the next great shot. Golf is addictive. Most of my rounds are filled with a lot of what I call “hazard golf,” – sand bunkers, bushes and long grass. I’ve learned how to get out of all of them as I am in them so much. But the shots I remember — the ones that keep me coming back for more, are the golf shots that seem to sail effortlessly off my club head and land softly just inches from the pin. It’s happened a few times and I know it can happen again. Every time I step up to a tee box and set up my drive, I have that image in my mind of the ball sailing through the air and landing exactly where I want it to. I know it can happen. I have high hopes and great expectations! The next shot will be my best.
So I am hooked on golf. If you are a golfer you know what I mean, and if you are just beginning the sport, you soon will understand.
May every hole be a birdie!
What keeps you hooked on golf? Feel free to comment and add your two cents.