“Golf is boring.” “I just like driving the cart.” “How can you be that into it?” These are just a few of the comments and questions I hear when I tell people that golf is one of my favorite sports. I have been playing since I was three, and my love for it continues to grow. I am biased, but I don’t know that I could have learned all of the lessons I learned from golf from other sports I played growing up. Here are some of the most important lessons I learned from golf.
This may seem like it doesn’t apply to golf, but playing all four years on my high school team taught me more about teamwork than I would have imagined. It was a completely different experience in golf than I had ever had before. Yes, you are still playing as an individual, but your score is part of something bigger. I learned to never throw in the towel because my team may need my score. It also taught me that it’s ok to lean on others at times. If you aren’t having a good day, others will be there for you and you have to do the same for them.
How to be a Gentleman
There are many things that fall under this lesson. For one, being a gentleman means being honest. You have to call penalties on yourself. It still amazes me to watch professionals call a penalty on themselves when no one else saw the infraction. They do it because it’s the right thing to do. Even with everything they have on the line. You think Kobe is calling a foul on himself any time soon? I don’t think so. Being a gentleman also means being courteous. There are countless rules of etiquette on the golf course that teach you to be respectful of your playing partner. They, in turn, do the same for you. Honesty and etiquette are two of the most important aspects of being a gentleman on and off the course.
Work Ethic & Attention to Detail
Golf is one of the most frustrating sports you will ever play. One day you’ll shoot your career best round, the next day you look like it’s your first time ever playing. From 8th grade to the day I left for college, I hit balls at least five days a week for two hours or more. It is such a tedious sport. If your set up is wrong, it doesn’t matter how great your tempo or rhythm is. The most minute body movements can make the difference between the fairway and the woods. You have to practice the right way over and over again. Everything matters from putting and chipping to full shots and they all require different techniques. You have to give each area of your game equal attention as you have to give each area of your life; job, family and friends attention. You can’t let any aspect fall by the wayside.
Admittedly, this lesson is a constant work in progress for me. Not only does this include patience with others, but patience with yourself. You can’t expect to perfect a swing change over night, just like you can’t expect to do anything in life perfectly the first time. When you make mistakes, it’s ok. Learn from them and try not to make it again. If I hit a slice, I most likely came over the top of the ball. I know how to correct that. Learning what causes mistakes allows you to fix them and maybe avoid them all together in the future. Each shot and scenario is a learning experience. You always learn more from bad shots than good ones.
These are only a few of the lessons golf has taught me the past 20 years of my life. All the lessons golf has taught me transfer to the real world. I cannot finish this post without thanking Mimi and Pop Pop for putting a plastic club in my hand when I was three and supporting me and my brother ever since. It is still the greatest gift they have ever given me. It has become ingrained in my family and some of my best memories are playing with my dad and brother on weekend afternoons and playing with my grandparents cousins. Golf isn’t boring, you’re just not paying close enough attention.
“It’s fun. It’s hard and you stand out there on that green, green grass, and it’s just you and the ball and there ain’t nobody to beat up on but yourself; just like Mister Newnan keeps hittin’ himself with the golf club every time he gets angry. He’s broken his toe three times on account of it. It’s the only game I know that you can call a penalty on yourself, if you’re honest, which most people are. There just ain’t no other game like it.” – The Legend of Bagger Vance