Human Interest

Love golf for its healthy distractions

I’m kind of getting into golf finally. The Masters is entertaining. The individual stories of the players are interesting. And the overall mental discipline required for the game is one I can appreciate.

I will continue trying to learn the game myself in my second season of doing so. I don’t know how successful I will be, but it’s keeping me thinking as I go. That is a problem for me, though, as I believe the best golfers do less thinking and more playing.

Part of me still thinks it’s a ridiculous game and far too many golf courses exist—more than are necessary or fully utilized. It could be argued the money for their initial construction (as well as their maintenance in future years), could be better put to use addressing the needs of society.

But sports are a need in their distraction and while golf has been on the downswing in terms of people playing it and TV viewers watching it since the Tiger Woods scandal broke, Tiger’s revival at the Masters is good for the game.

Golf needs Tiger to be relevant and play well. There hasn’t been a dominant player since his heyday. Jordan Spieth is the latest young player to be spoken of in lofty terms. But like all other sports, it is hard to maintain dominance and greatness. I would suggest that true greatness in golf as well as other sports is sustained dominance over time.

As golf stands to grow its playing and viewing audience base once more with Tiger playing well, it becomes the distraction it needs to be in order to do so. Life is full of too much work and too little play. We work five days a week and only have two days off. Distractions like golf are a must for sanity’s sake.

A golf ball.

A golf ball. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I understand it is hip for employers to stress work-life balance. But, it is impossible to have true work-life balance when we are at work disproportionately more than we are elsewhere. Who has time to do what they want to do over the weekend? Things like laundry, yardwork, hitting the grocery store and paying bills end up taking much of the precious weekend’s time; come Sunday night we are already staring down a case of the Monday eve blues.

If we can either watch something like the Masters on TV or get a round of golf in with the weather nice, we consider it a successful weekend. But it makes us want more.

How was your weekend, Bob?

Too short.

Jack Nicklaus walks up to his ball on the 9th ...

Jack Nicklaus walks up to his ball on the 9th hole of the par-3 course at Augusta National Golf Club during the 2006 par-3 contest. Nicklaus was playing along with Andy North and Tom Watson as a non-competitor in the contest. Nicklaus had his grandson take (and sink) the the putt, a sequence which can be seen on a video posted to youtube, Jack Nicklaus – Augusta 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all have said that at one time or another. If we had more than two days, perhaps more of us would elaborate how wonderful it really was when we connect with our co-workers again after the weekend is over.

I see why there are people that have always enjoyed golf. It’s a game that can be played by all ages. The initial costs can be prohibitive for some, but once you have your clubs you can budget for the ancillary things like attire and fees as you go.

Your life may suck, but when you hit a golf ball flush, driving it long, lofty and far, it doesn’t suck as much. It’s called hitting the sweet spot and that’s what each of strives to do in our own way.

So, I’m rooting for Jordan Spieth but I’m also rooting for someone to make a run at him. Golf has the potential to be compelling and popular again to new fans like me. I still don’t get why people want to be part of the Sunday worshiper gang known as the gallery, but I’m sure that will come in time. For now, the best seat in the house is in front of the TV.

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