I shall probably write from time to time about golf. It’s a game I play. Or is it a sport? Or a pastime? Or even a hopeless addiction? Probably a little of each of those I suppose. The game aspect is quite interesting, if ‘game’ here is being used in the sense of ‘gamesmanship’ or ‘gaining advantage’ – I have seen quite intelligent people nudge their ball out from a difficult lie to a more playable one during a round of golf, or take preposterous numbers of Mulligans from the tee off. Actually, to be absolutely honest, I am also one of those people on a bad day. However, I am not ever competing against someone if I do this, so the gamesmanship element is actually only directed against myself, which is also a strange phenomenon when you stop and think about it.
Is golf a sport? Golf is most definitely a sport, particularly when you watch with incredulity and wonder the professionals hitting with consummate ease and regularity shots that you will only seldom if ever perform. Golf can be , however, a truly magnificent way to spend time. It is a game which can take you to great heights of self fulfillment but can also, alas, leave you deflated, frustrated, almost bordering on breakdown and, without any recall of the beauty of the environment where you have just been for often a long period of time, your concentration frozen rigidly on attempting to play well. It is a shame though that this is so. Because golf courses are mostly beautiful places to spend time and should be enjoyed as such, balancing trying to play your round to the best of your ability whilst at the same time savouring the natural beauty of the place, the smell of newly mown grass and the pleasure of (hopefully) friendly and entertaining company.
Is golf an addiction? I believe that it starts so in the early days but unlike most other addictions, it can and does get better, moving uphill rather than downhill so to speak.
Trying to enjoy the highs and lows of golf without allowing the bad shots to dictate my mood is what I aspire to achieve every outing although not always successfully! It is by no means easy but it is my target. Loving golf, accepting that essentially it is an impossible sport to master yet knowing that you will strike the occasional, improbably brilliant shot, taking you to vast heights of joy. That is sufficient. It is good to remember that this is a very difficult game one is privileged to be playing at all, and therefore we lose a lot if, at the expense of trying only to master the impossible to master, we do not allow the natural experience to be as important as the shots themselves , however good or not so they good they may turn out.