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Blog // Travel
April 27, 2005

On Why I Play Golf

During my early twenties I gave up on golf, a sport I had enjoyed through my teens, mainly because of the experience of amateur competition. Through my youth I competed at a good rep level in cricket, athletics and football (soccer). There was no aversion or fear of competition in me. However, when I got […]

During my early twenties I gave up on golf, a sport I had enjoyed through my teens, mainly because of the experience of amateur competition. Through my youth I competed at a good rep level in cricket, athletics and football (soccer). There was no aversion or fear of competition in me. However, when I got into comp golf in my early 20s, I hated it. To me it was petty, mean-spirited and too aggressive. Too many people with rules books in one hand and a chip on the other shoulder, too many people wanting to win at all costs, and too many people who treated every saturday like master’s sunday. It was sad and depressing to watch.

The conclusion was obvious; while I loved the art of golf, I hated the culture.

After a few years I had a brief fling again (thanks to some friends I made through theological college), which was fun and now in my mid 30s I’m back into the game seriously. However, I don’t really do organised competition. Some of my favourite rounds are fourballs with friends on non-compeition days (this was true when I enjoyed golf as a teenager, and during the year I got back into golf in my late twenties). This still means taking the game seriously and competing, but there is no sledging, or ‘gamesmanship’ and good shots are met with genuine and sincere applause, not a half-hearted “good-shot” through gritted teeth.

But, in the end, what I look forward to most is the solo round. I view golf somewhat like ski-ing or hiking; it is a sport that can be enjoyed socially, but that also carries great rewards for the one who ventures out alone. There is something almost spiritual about the combination of focussed activity and outdoor surrounding that calms my soul. For me, a quiet solo round from the back plates, on a challenging course, in almost any weather, is one of the great joys not just of golf, but of life.

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