WE LOVE IT. WE HATE IT. WE LOVE IT. - THE STRANGE ADDICTION CALLED GOLF

March 15, 2018

Every golfer has seen them... or on bad days, been one. Defeated, helpless, lost, they are the miserable players having a horrible round. Hacking away at the ball, cursing under their breath, maybe even throwing clubs, they are in a living state of torture, brought to them by a game that is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable leisure activity.

These bad shots, bad days, or even bad years can be devastating to any golfer, in this most mental of games. It was PG Wodehouse who said “To find a man's true character, play golf with him.” And indeed, dealing with these “off” days and infuriatingly frustrating moments that the game serves up constantly requires a degree of character that other sports don't ask of their participants. So, with this much potential psychological misery on the line, what keeps us coming back to this (#%&#!) game?

For those in the later years of life, one of the most straightforward reasons is that the game that can still be played competitively in years past physical prime. Well beyond the time when the body can respond to the demands of tennis, football, badminton or other fast moving or rigorous sports, the low impact finesse of a solid golf shot is still within reach. Golf is a game more of nuance, strategy and skill rather than physical strength. Knowing that one can excel at something long into life is a great draw to continue through the trials the game presents.    

The health benefits are also a good reason to stay with golf. During the average round, a player might walk 5 miles. This low impact aerobic exercise combined with the muscle toning provided by swinging heavy iron clubs, rounds out an excellent, stress reducing, endorphin raising sport. Even when we're playing poorly, and our mind might be in a dark cloud, our body will still be feeling good.

Friendly bonding without the conflict of direct competition is also an attractive element of golf. Players are really in competition with themselves, standing alone at each ball and attempting to best their last score. Without the toe to toe, direct competition that other sports present, camaraderie amidst players is warmer and more enjoyable. Sure, the foursome might be split in teams. But mostly, we're all in it together out on those links. And aside from our regular friends who we might play with, the group nature of play invites new friendships to form. Visitors from other towns, and people outside our immediate social circle are often thrown together to complete a foursome. Through this, the game presents a great way to expand our social network, with the built in bridge of a shared interest already there.

But ultimately, if there was one reason that we play... even on our worst days... it's for that one possibility: the perfect shot. Just about everyone who has played the game at length has had that one shot, where it all came together, and couldn't be better. Golf offers the chance at perfection. Few other areas of life ever do. And few of us hit it more than a few times in a round, or perhaps even a lifetime of rounds, but that feeling of mastery and perfection is a powerful, life affirming lure that chases all the bad days away.

Living in Hua Hin, at Sansara retirement community, the opportunity to pursue that perfect shot happens at one of the best courses in the world. Black Mountain, Hua Hin is consistently rated in the top 100 golf courses outside of the US. Days spent playing this (#%&*!) game with friends and new acquaintances will give you the great gifts of golf described above, as well as the chance to hit total perfection.... maybe.


 

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