Is Golf Play or Work?
By mustang6560 on 2/16/11
I read an interesting story about how to make the golf round more enjoyable. It's a short article but it got me thinking - is golf primarily about the result or the experience?
Last Sunday, we saw actor Bill Murray help teammate D.A. Points win at Pebble Beach. In fact, Points credited Murray with helping him “have fun” which led to a better attitude and better shots. This can be a good lesson for all of us on the course.
I know there are multiple variables that determine the objective of a round of golf, but the fundamental question here is should you allow golf to cause you stress?

I played behind a group of guys last weekend who were playing a scramble and their objective seemed to be have fun. I mean, whoever lost the hole had to chug a beer on the next tee box. How serious could you take that round?

This is an interesting question because I've always enjoyed the game of golf but it's not a stress-free sport. There are days I often leave the course frustrated because I missed a gimme-length putt or chipped over the green and it haunts me for the rest of the day. But there are also days I leave feeling like I'm the king of the world (no Titanic references please) because I played to the best of my ability.

But, I never play golf the way those guys did. If I want to drink beer, you will find me tailgating for an LSU game or at a friend's house and not on the golf course. For me, golf is a hobby that provides me an outlet and I do get enjoyment out of the sport. However, I don't just play golf for the sake of being outside. I play golf because A) I like it and B) I'm trying to get better. And because of B), I can expect a certain level of stress.

In my opinion, golf should cause a little stress because that means you are trying to get better. If it didn't cause you stress than you aren't taking it seriously and if you aren't taking it seriously, than you aren't getting better. Why do something that you aren't trying get better at?

I am not saying golf should cause you so much stress you can't function in your daily activities. I do think you have to manage your stress levels and the way to do that is to set realistic goals. You can't go out and expect to be a scratch golfer if you play twice a month and don't practice.

At the end of the day, it comes down to different personality types. But for me, I'm of the mindset to always improve so I'd rather learn to manage my stress levels than forever be a hacker.

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[ comments ]
el_pato_real says:
I read a lot of Bob Rotella, and one of his big things is having a "soft focus" when you play. I think that's what helped D.A. Of course he cared about how he was playing, but Bill's sense of humor got his mind off of golf when he was walking or waiting.
scottishguyiniowa says:
I've now seen both sides of this topic as a young player taking the game too seriously and enjoying the game more now as I get older. What I have learned is that golf is a social sport and you are out there to have fun but when you start to get ready for your next shot its 'back to work' otherwise you aren't learning anything! I've became good friends with some of the high school team these past couple of years and they have yet to learn how to 'have fun' between shots. I know I sound a bit serious about the game but I learned that growing up you should always follow the ettiquette of the game no matter how 'fun filled' your round is. I'm afraid to say that some of the 'fun' golfers don't always remember that so I'm with you mustang and ben its a mixture of both.
fibofan1618 says:
I'm getting better but I take my bad shots without stress. I'm going to have them anyway. Million dollar pro do right? It's all fun for me. I don't need pay a Guru or a Doctor or a Pro to tell me that.
nalex3 says:
Interesting that I would read this blog today, Saturday, 2-19-11. I am a 26 handicapper; try to play once a month, and am ecstatic if I play twice in one month. Today, I scored a par and more bogeys than I ever have on the front 9; however, on the back 9 I fell apart. I was enjoying the game when I was executing my game plan based on my practice (in the house). When I saw that I could break 100 on the front 9, I fell apart on the back. Scored 112. Once the round ended, and I knew I was out of contention (using net scoring), I have been upset most of the evening. Stressed because I do set goals each round, and when I see the goals slipping out of my grasp, I become stressed, which leads to poorer shots and more stress. I had fun on the front 9; not THINKING about the game, just executing my swing, managing the course. In fact, on 18, I bogeyed when I relaxed, because I knew I wasn't breaking 100 today. I enjoy the game, and will learn to enjoy it more during play, while managing the stress of improving.
ericbjr1 says:
I like the thoughts around this article. I played a round with my wife driving the cart this weekend. I was so focused on scoring I lost sight of the enjoyment. When another group paired up with me on the second 18 holes, I was more relaxed, distracted, and yet scored better. I am a 5.3 handicap, and can vouch that the social side of golf cannot be overlooked when trying to improve. I find a good partner is someone who will pat you on the back when you're playing well, distract you when you are thinking too much, and ignore you when you have a little trantrum. Play well my yet-to-be friends, and I'll see you on the course!
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