It’s been said (a variation of this is sometimes attributed to Mark Twain):
Golf is a beautiful walk in the country, spoiled by a little white ball.
I suspect that whoever first said this looked into their crystal ball and watched me on those few occasions I’ve been coerced into playing – generally for a work related event.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I can understand why golf is appealing to so many (including reasons that have little or nothing to do with the game itself: status, for example). It offers a challenge, both mental and physical; it is often practiced in a beautiful setting (although the impact on the environment of building and maintaining a course can be disastrous: just consider the water required for all that grass, or the upheaval to wildlife and flora by removing or vastly altering their habitat); there are social interactions and interpersonal relationships involved (not often that one plays a round solo, I suspect); and it offers near-infinite opportunities for spending money (the ever escalating golf-club technology war, fancy rule-pushing golf balls and the latest and greatest perfect swing training aid) in search of the Holy Grail of shaving a stroke or two off your handicap.
But here’s the conundrum, for me anyway: getting good enough to not feel frustrated at the end of a round requires a lot of practice (in my case, it would be to first eliminate a wicked slice – no matter what I’ve tried, about 2/3 of my drives head off at a 45 degree angle to the intended direction; trying to compensate for it just ensures the shot does go in the direction I’ve lined up and it’s still no where near the middle of the fairway…) but there’s not a lot of motivation to keep going when you suck so much at it in the first place.
So for those who like it, whether you’re good at it or a not so good golfer, go ahead and enjoy your walk in the country – I’ll do the same, just sans little white ball.