As the golf season gets underway and golf courses are re-opened once again across the UK, is it the freedom and ability to spend time with your friends, colleagues and family in the great outdoors? Is it the opportunity to work on your game and get your handicap down?
Is it because you can’t wait to try out that new driver or putter you bought online after a glass of wine too many one night during lockdown? Is it the feeling of a well struck shot that you have missed so badly?
Or could it be that you have quite simply missed the game of golf and all the challenges it presents every time you play?
Take a minute or two to think about this. Why do you play golf? This may sound like a pretty basic and simple question but it is one I suggest you take some time to consider.
There are no right or wrong answers here, it is not a test. It is however extremely important to understand your WHY if you are to truly derive any real and genuine pleasure and enjoyment from your experiences on the golf course.
We all play the game for different reasons. We all have our own personal WHY.
It may well be that your reason is to simply get out of the house for a few hours, something I think we can all relate to. It might be that you finally want to get rid of that card wrecking slice. This year could be the year you apply all you have learned from watching countless YouTube videos during lockdown. You know the ones I mean, the ones that tell you how to do this that or the next thing perfectly!
Are you going to head to the course with your new grip, improved posture, your new backswing that would make Adam Scott jealous? Your new downswing that incorporates the latest ‘magic move’ and guarantees 300 yard drives?
No doubt your clubs will be spotlessly clean, your bag filled with shiny new golf balls, new gloves, a rain forest of tees and whatever else you can stuff into the pockets.
You will have rehearsed your new, improved swing so many times in your garden or at the very least in your mind that you feel like a Tour Pro as you head to the first tee, ready to take on the world and shoot a new course record.
OR will you just be grateful for the opportunity to once more be able to play the game you love?
Will you appreciate all the hard work the Greenkeeping staff have put in to make the golf courses look and play as good as it ever has done? Or will you be so immersed in your own game that you won’t even notice that some of the bunkers have been re-shaped, or that a new tee has been built?
If your course looks better than ever, when you see a green keeper will you thank him or her for all their hard work or will you be too busy beating yourself up because you just hit a drive out of bounds and three putted the last four greens?
Golf courses are generally in pretty nice surroundings, some more spectacular than others admittedly but please remember they are there for your pleasure and enjoyment. Take time to appreciate that.
Appreciate your good shots and accept the bad ones. You are human after all and bad shots are part of the game. Don’t let the bad shots cast a cloud over the good ones. Appreciate the putts you hole and don’t allow the ones you miss to drive you to despair.
Be grateful for the opportunity to you to play the game you love. Enjoy the freedom and companionship you are so fortunate to experience and try not to take it for granted. Enjoy being creative with your shotmaking. Appreciate the golf course and the questions the course designer or architect is asking of you on each and every shot.
Playing golf is something you choose to do for whatever reason or reasons. You will have your own personal WHY, so don’t lose sight of that when things don’t go your way.
Essentially, enjoy the greatest game of all, regardless of what it throws at you.
“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” Arnold Palmer.
Long live The King and long live golf.