There are few sports that I love more than golf. In fact, there are few anythings that I love more than golf. Whenever I am on the golf course, even if I am playing badly, I feel a powerful love for everything and everyone and have a big smile on my face that seems glued there.
I know why this is. Because out on the links, it’s just me and the ball, me and the game. Any personal struggles are left behind, all regrets, mistakes, not in the picture. Even the positive aspects of life are sitting back there, waiting for me when I walk off the 9th or 18th hole. For the next few hours, I am walking through a manicured landscape, swinging a stick and watching a ball propelling into the air and landing somewhere over there.
I don’t expect much from golf. I’d like to get the point where I can consistently hit bogie, par, and the occasional birdie. I don’t hope to some day reach a competitive level – it’s too late for that anyway. And this, I think, is the most compelling thing about golf for me. Pure enjoyment.
I’ve always been one to be a bit hard on myself. Noticing that I had some natural talents, I was never one to let myself get away with not aiming high. But somewhere along the way, something bad happened – I let this overwhelm me. I grew jaded, to the point of ignoring my God-given abilities. I compared myself to lofty “idols” or “heros” that only accentuated the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be. I became discouraged.
That never happened with golf. I never try to push myself too far beyond my current skill level, I can skip a few days and notice that I can still return to the course with the same unfettered joy and enthusiasm. Golf, for me, is a respite, a refuge. I don’t feel any cosmic responsibility to face it down.
That’s why I love golf.