Has your return to playing golf lived up to your hopes and expectations?

After weeks of everyone talking about how much they have missed playing golf throughout the lockdown period, I wonder if your return to playing has lived up to your hopes and expectations?
What was it exactly we all felt we were missing out on?
Was it booming your longest career drive 20 yards past your playing partners?
Was it that feeling of a beautifully struck iron shot from the middle of the fairway?
Was it pitching over a bunker from a tight lie or holing a putt on the last to take the money after a close match?
OR was it quite simply being back out in the fresh air and appreciating the opportunity to simply enjoy a game of golf in the company of friends?
For me, there are no right or wrong answers here. We all play golf for our own personal reasons, or at least we think we do.
From the numerous people I have spoken to at Archerfield, where I have to say the courses are looking and playing as well as I have ever seen them, the thing that most people have missed have been none of the reasons mentioned above. The vast majority have missed out on the social interaction, albeit from the recommended safe physical distance.
The ability to actually speak to someone from outside your own household appears to be something we have pretty much all missed the most. The sense of community and the opportunity to catch up with actual people and not just a voice on the other end of the phone.
Golf is an under rated form of exercise, especially when you can nip round 18 holes in under three hours. Physical exercise is obviously essential to our well being but playing golf can also be hugely beneficial to our mental health.
Being largely confined to barracks for weeks on end may or may not have helped contain and minimise the effects of the covid 19 pandemic, only time will tell. Being stuck indoors for the best part of 10 weeks has given us time to think, or perhaps overthink what the future might look like. The uncertainty that brings can allow our minds to wander off to all sorts of dark places, a scenario very much like the game of golf itself.
Escaping those thoughts and the four walls we have been staring at for too long, is something I believe we should all be thankful to golf for.
Yes, we all want to play the best we possibly can but sometimes we place too much emphasis on the outcome on our shots and scores and run the risk of missing out on the moment and the sheer pleasure that can offer.
Was whatever you thought you were missing out on a reality, or was it something else entirely? Having played early the last couple of Monday mornings, I know there are numerous things I have enjoyed that probably weren’t too high on the list of what I thought I was missing.
Let’s hope that whatever golf gives you in terms of enjoyment doesn’t disappear as our opportuntities to play increase over the coming weeks and months.
Golf is many things to many people. What you think it will bring you isn’t necessarily what transpires in reality but I would like to think we are all in a better place from being fortunate enough to once more play the game we love.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with a quote from the late, great Bob Torrance, the godfather of Scottish golf coaching, “These are the best days of your life. Make sure you enjoy them.”
Gary Nicol.