A friend once asked me, ‘Do you know why they call this game, ‘Golf?’ Me: ‘No, why?’ Him: ‘Because all the other 4 letter words were taken.’ :-)
Ah, the game of golf. I played a round on Saturday morning with my son Ryan, my son in law Rob, and Rick, a long time friend. It was a scramble (played the best ball after each shot). Our team did well in spite of me, not because of me.
I was sharing a golf cart with Rick and after each shot, we’d turn to each other and jokingly say, ‘I hate golf’ (after a bad shot) or ‘I love golf’ (after a good shot). Let’s just say, I did more ‘hating’ than ‘loving’ on Saturday. :-)
I’ve concluded that we should never love golf more than when we hate it.
Let me repeat that: We should never love golf more than when we hate it.
That’s because a bad round of golf is good for the soul, especially the male soul.
While it’s deeply misguided, it’s also true that we men tend to measure ourselves by our ability to master things, especially physical things...and there are few things more physical and measurable than sports.
Sports tends to be, even at my advanced age, the arena in which many men measure manhood. Doing badly at sports forces us to confront the uncomfortable reality that relying upon sports for manhood is a fool’s errand.
When we love golf, said ‘errand’ doesn’t seem so foolish. However, when we hate golf we have to reckon with the fact that golf (ie. conquest, physical mastery, athletic supremacy, etc.) is a foolish yardstick by which to measure our manhood. Sooner or later all of us will lose. Sooner or later all of us will get cut. Sooner or later all of us will find ourselves unable to hit a decent 9 iron. Sports is fickle, not faithful, more streetwalker than steadfast.
When that reckoning takes place, most men double down, insisting that the problem was how they performed, not the yardstick by which they measure themselves.
Those who've grown tired of that never ending spin cycle, step back, take a bigger view... and change yardsticks.
Here’s a question for those of you who play golf or engage in any other athletic activity: When you don’t perform well, how does it affect you? How do you feel about yourself? How does it affect your behavior?
All the best,