Golf is hard work.
Yeah, I know that seems like an odd statement.
The image many people have of golf is of older guys in eye-bleaching outfits spending a sunny Saturday morning essentially going for a long walk in a park-like setting. It seems that it is the very opposite of what any rational person would consider to be â€śwork.â€ť
I am not a very good golfer. While this is painfully obvious to anyone who has ever golfed with or against me, in the nature of full disclosure I wanted to make it abundantly clear that I am far from an expert on the sport.
When it comes to golf, I am a hack who enjoys hitting the greens with my friends and family whenever I get the chance or taking part in the occasional tournament where my contributions is the one or two awesome shots that I average in a round by dumb luck and buying a round or two when the bar cart comes by. My most frequent golfing partner is my son, Alex.
Alex is 14 and is consistently a far better golfer than I am. While there is some fatherly pride and boasting in this, there is also the cold hard reality of the score sheets I keep when we play.
For a while we would only casually keep score (i.e. disregarding the six tries it took for me to sink what should have been an easy four foot putt). We would usually determine victory based on friendly all or nothing wagers on how we did at Hole 9. Fortunately for my ego Hole 9 at Tee Hi Golf Course is a very forgiving hole, especially for people of my playing caliber.
Last year we started to be more conscientious in keeping score mainly so that we can gauge our level of improvement â€” or in my case, lack thereof.
For the past few years, Alex has been playing with youth clubs. However in the past year he has shot up about eight inches in height and is currently just a hair or two shorter than I am. Since both my brothers are taller than I am by a several inches, I expect that at some point soon I will be looking eye to eye with him.
Having outgrown his old set, Alex used birthday and Christmas present money to get a new set of clubs this summer. We had done some research ahead of time and selected a brand and model that ranked well for his level of play.
Considering I golf with the same set that I picked up somewhere about 25 years ago, I admit that I have a certain amount of golf club envy. That said, it is really hard for me to justify investing in better clubs unless I become much more committed to playing the sport. Now, if it was a new curling delivery stick or custom double grippers to improve my curling game, then I could be persuaded of its necessity.
As with most things, the more you do something the better you tend to get at it. I have seen a marked improvement in my own ability since I have begun to play more often with Alex. For me any improvement to my game is secondary. I am content occasionally rising to the level of mediocrity.
I am a fairly competitive person and must work hard not to let that get in the way of having a good time. This is a real challenge and is what makes golf hard work, despite the gloriously tacky clothes and park-like setting.
All too often we focus too much on trying to win, when we would be better off just enjoying the ride.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.