Why we play Golf
Golf is hard, consumes a large block of time, costs quite a bit to play, and humbles us at every turn. Yet so many of us are admitted addicts of this game, even as we struggle with 3 foot putts, sliced drives, and chunky iron shots. We skull chips and fat wedges and four-putt greens but there is something magical about this game that makes it different from any other, and there must be a good explanation of why we play golf.
Why we play golf
In my mind the fundamental reason we play this game is to become one with the universe for however brief a moment on the golf course. When you strike a golf ball exactly as intended using the leverage of the shaft, finding the sweetest spot on the clubface, and harnessing all the momentum available between your own human body and the earth’s gravity, you can briefly create a work of art in the air that defies that very gravity and then uses it to drop the ball back to earth where you imagined it should land. We are both creating art and exercising the brute force that we’re capable of when given the right tool.
There’s the feeling of compressing a ball with an iron that provides inarguable confirmation of our mastery of the tool in hand. The walk from the tee to a drive in the middle of the fairway allows time to reflect on how far we’ve come, and to enjoy having made our path easier to the green. The crafty escape from a difficult mess in the woods reminds us that we can respond to adversity because of our acquired skill. Draining a 15 foot putt and watching it follow our intended line exactly as imagined allows us to develop a vision and watch it come to life. Golf provides businessmen the chance to be artists and for someone slight of build to generate explosive power. The game can be played from birth to death and each round is a journey with a known start and finish but with outcomes that cannot be predicted. No two courses or golf shots are identical, and a controlled shot is the reward for being able to let go of control–of the clubface, body, and mind.