For many years I did not understand the fascination my twin brother had with golf. He’s not one of those die hard golfers but has played for a decade or so. Walking around a big course chasing that little white ball seemed like a waste of a good day. Getting that ball in that little hole from hundreds of yards away seemed next to impossible. I knew enough to know it was not an easy skill to master. Having gone out to a driving range years before I could appreciate that swinging a club and controlling where the ball went was something that did not come natural to me.
Finally, last August, when JR was out from Texas, he and I joined Mike and Shawn for my first round of golf. I stepped out on the first tee box of the executive course at Swenson Golf Course, put the ball on the tee and grabbed a club from the bag Mike had “loaned” me. Of course, it was not the right club and Mike tossed me the 7 iron. I landed my very first shot on the green! Wow! I then proceeded to take 8 putts to sink it.
I have played a few times since then (ok, maybe more than a few times) and am really enjoying the game but I am a long, long way from being good. I love data and numbers and this new hobby gives me plenty of data to think about. At the rate I’m going I have some time before I start playing par golf.
Why do I love golf?
Golf is good exercise. It’s not a rigorous work out but playing the big course without a cart means more than 5 miles of walking, with a golf bag on my back.
There is no subjectivity. I either hit the ball where I wanted to or I didn’t. I either made it in 5 strokes or 9. When we actually keep score I know exactly where I ended, and how far I am from my goal. Data doesn’t lie.
There is great tradition in golf. My brother Mike has taught me the game by focusing on the rules and traditions first. He told me I can work on my approach, stance, grip and swing later - first I had to learn the social graces of the game. I’ve learned not to walk ahead of others in my group, shut up when someone’s taking their shot and never walk on someone’s line on the green.
Golf is a social sport. Like cycling, golf can be played alone but is better with good friends and family. Also, like cycling, I enjoy the game a lot more when I focus on what I’m doing and with whom I’m doing it. Plus, since I’ll never get Mike on a bicycle, it’s a good chance to spend a half-day with him.
Now, after six months, I no longer have to ask Mike or Shawn which club I should be using as I approach my next shot. That alone gives me a great sense of accomplishment. Now I must work on my short game.
Hit ‘em long.
Hit ‘em straight!