Even though I for quite some time now have accepted the fact that I will never become a good golfer, the game itself never quits puzzling me.
Often, I have asked myself: Would I have taken up golf if I knew what it would lead to? Every time my reply is the same, and unanimously: Yes.
But, on the other hand, there are a few things I’d wish I knew before I started playing golf.
1) Golf is addictive
In reality, golf is not a game; it’s an addiction. And also probably the most entertaining type of madness there is.
The first two years I played, golf was the last thing on my mind before going to sleep at night, and the first thing on my mind when waking up every morning.
2) You need a pro, not a fellow golfer, to teach you
Other sports I’ve played, I’ve learned from the people I played with. Tennis, squash, soccer or skiing, there was always someone around to tell me and show me how to do it.
I used the same method when taking up golf. The problem being that the ones that thought me really didn’t have a clue. So I ended up with a swing just as much a bastard as any back alley stray dog.
There are more similarities between my swing and the stray dog, by the way: When you have it, it’s impossible to reverse it to make it pure.
3) It takes a full day, and more
A round of golf is about all you can fit into one day when you include the mental review over breakfast of how you plan to play, the time to drive to the golf course, the warm up, the 4,5 hours of play, lunch and drinks, then the thoughts and analysis afterwards of why the round turned out to be your worst ever. And then the day is gone.
The next day is ruined also as you spend it planning to go the club for practise to get your game back. Because you know it’s good for you to hit a few balls, do some grinding on your short game or work on fine-tuning the pendulum movement when putting.
However, boring as it is to practise, it takes a lot of your energy to find excuses not to go. When you’ve found them, you change your mind again, thinking that you really should go after all. And suddenly that day is gone also, sacrificed to golf.
4) A low handicap is for bragging only
So many golfers work hard to get their handicap as low as possible. Fine if you want to brag about it, but not very clever if you have friends like the ones I have. I’ve long gone lost track of all the money I lost when my handicap was in single digits. The handicap looked nice on the board, but not in my wallet.
5) When making a hole-in-one you’re not supposed to buy drinks for everyone on the course
I did my, to this day, only hole-in-one after having played one year. It was on a very prestigious golf club in France, and the starter had let us play ahead of the field for that Saturday’s club competition.
When I did my hole-in-one on the 125 meter par-3 11th, the club was packed with people. So I never dared report it of fear of emptying my bank account paying for champagne for everyone.
6) Don’t play alone if you can avoid it
I’m a social guy that likes to meet new people. However, everyone needs some time alone. So I thought golf would be a great way to have some privacy and just stroll around with my golf clubs, hit the ball and let my mind wander off.
It only took me a couple of rounds on my own to learn that was not the way to play golf. One thing is that you have no rights as a single player (well, you do have rights, but no one acknowledges them and will never let you play trough).
The worst is the look you get from other groups. It’s worse then sitting at a restaurant table eating alone. On the golf course, a single player stands out in the same way a kid in an airplane does wearing one of these «I Travel Alone» signs.
For the single golfer, on the other hand, there is no need to wearing a sign saying «I Am A Beginner». We all know that.
However, should he be wearing a sign, it should maybe read «I Am Addicted».
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