Thursday, June 2, 2011

Golf and Loving It: 5 Reasons To Give It A Try

Imagine a stick, a small multi-dimpled ball, a couple of holes in the ground and manicured grass. Who could have thought there was some fun to be made of it? That fun has come to be called the game of golf.

I knew some of the jargon from the game, having played it in the days of the Family Computer, but the first time I ever played a real game of golf (i.e., in a fairway) was last April 2011. I never thought I'd like it as much as I did, and I enjoyed it tremendously that in the middle of half an 18-hole game I was already looking forward to my next. (I couldn't wait to redeem myself already!)

Why I am blogging about golf, why did I enjoy it so much, and why do I think you too should give it a try? The short answer is that I had some surprising unexpected realizations about it. Here they are in a top 5 list: (You know you like it in lists!)

1. It's actually fun to play it with friends.
And especially if you are playing for the first time, you had better play it with friends. Because you're gonna suck! And there's nothing like the laughter and jeers from friends to help you laugh at yourself as well, and remind you not to take the game too seriously. Otherwise, you'll go crazy.

Golf and Loving It: At the fairway with 'golf buddies' Jerome and Gleniel. :)
2. The view is beautiful and the green is relaxing.
Most golf courses are built around pretty nice views, like in the Baguio Country Club where I had my first game. Walking in the green, taking in the view, and seeing those golf balls zooming in the vastness of grassland - it's just really breathtaking. (An extra treat is if you're playing in Baguio where the climate is cooler.)
It is said that of all the colors, green is the most relaxing - so there's a reason why God made vegetation green. And because golf courses are green everywhere - I can see now why people find playing golf stress-relieving.
N.B. The proliferation of golf courses has some environmental implications. I mention it so you know I am not oblivious to those issues. Can we tackle that another time and just keep this a happy post? :) Thanks!

3. It teaches you about yourself.
Like in any game or sport, the game of golf too is one helluva personality test. If you observe your self enough, it can tell you much about that person you see in the mirror: how you take challenges, how you handle pressure - or defeat, how you live your life.
Lack focus? Golf can help. Hard on yourself? Golf can show you that you are if you haven't realized it yet. A perfectionist? Well, stay clear of golf or it will consume you. Or then again, perfectionism can help to your advantage.
While golf is best played with company (see #1), golf is pretty much a solitary game. You really play against yourself. Much of the battle is mental, much of the rewards is psychological. (In the case of Tiger Woods, a lot of economic rewards too.) To play golf, you had better like yourself a lot. Otherwise, you might hit someone with a club if your ball goes in the bunker. Or you might throw yourself at the lake. Just kidding.

4. It clears your thoughts and helps you think.
It's probably because of the surroundings being green and relaxing, and also because the course itself is so vast there is much space for your thoughts to wander or to stare into. While trying to hold the golf clubs right, trying to give the balls a perfect hit, trying to calculate how far in the distance you want your ball to go, or walking unhurriedly in the green from one hole to another - all are opportunities to think of something you're trying to figure out, or opportunities to clear your thoughts, or opportunities for new ideas to come in. And it's all effortless because the clarity just suddenly happens.

5. It's something new.
And it was in that spirit that I gave the game a try.

And I was glad I did, because from this blog post, you can tell I learned a lot from the game. In the middle of the game I was already telling myself it was something worthy of blogging about. How I did in the game was nothing to brag about - I made sure the caddie was tipped well enough to hold his peace, hehe.

But the experience - that's what it's about. This piece isn't so much about getting you to play golf as it is about encouraging you to try something new - whatever that may be.

There are always gems to be had of new experiences. Find yours. :)

Book Recommendations:
Fifty Places to Play Golf Before You Die: Golf Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations
Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game
Golf My Way: The Instructional Classic, Revised and Updated

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