Golf is a sport with widespread appeal and a multitude of benefits. From the playing side to the social side, the technical to the visual – here are 10 reasons to love golf.
The scenery and outdoors
We spend much of our time battling with the masses on motorways, city streets, crowded trains and so on. Golf offers a reprieve from this constant “rat race”, as it’s played in a variety of beautiful settings.
The golfer can experience days by the coast, on the heath, in the park, on hill-tops in rolling valleys. Essentially, golf lets us breathe easy for a few hours.
The sense of accomplishment
There are few sports like golf which allow for so many little achievements.
It needn’t be winning a tournament, nor even beating your opponent – accomplishments could be as minor as holing a putt or avoiding a “penalty area”.
The list goes on – making a par, making a birdie, striping a drive on a testing hole, or getting cleanly out of a bunker.
Golf is a game of multiple challenges, which means the potential for multiple accomplishments.
Golf provides ample opportunity to splash the cash when it comes to the kit.
What could beat a shiny new set of irons, a pristine pair of gleaming white shoes, a perfect sleeve of new balls?
Plus, there’s so many adjustments you can make, such as moving the weights on your driver, shaving an inch from the shaft of the putter, or trying a new brand of golf ball.
Golf provides the tech-lover ample scope to consider the new gear available and to think of ways to modify the old.
The health benefits
In an age of increasing obesity and idleness, golf provides excellent exercise for players of all ages.
Walking five miles (perhaps while carrying your clubs) keeps the heart ticking and metabolism running, while swinging helps maintain flexibility and strength.
There are mental health benefits to be had, too. Golf is a highly sociable sport, and one in which great friendships are formed and kept.
Golf has an unfair image as an elite activity. However, it’s one of the most inclusive sports around.
Players of all ages and abilities can enjoy the game together and even compete against one another.
The handicap system allows for that. Play in a weekend comp and you might find yourself teeing it up with an 18-year-old or an 80-year-old.
You will also find yourself mixing with people from different walks of life, spending four hours in their company and understanding what makes them tick.
This chance to mix and share views is a very healthy thing from a socio-economic and political perspective.
Golf is hard, and every golfer suffers his or her travails. When you’ve endured a tough day on the links, you can always find solace in the clubhouse when you discover that 80% of those who’ve just played are in the same boat.
Golfers must be thick-skinned and stick together in adversity, but they can also share, and enjoy, each other’s successes too.
When a hole-in-one is scored, a best-round beaten, it’s always great to be able to share that achievement with your fellow golfers.
Most of us have a little competitive streak and golf allows us to compete whenever we go out. If we choose to, that is!
It needn’t be in an organised event, although these do provide for great sport. Pitting yourself against the field to see if you can post the best score of the day.
You could be competing within your weekly fourball, against your regular playing partner, or even against yourself!
The never-ending challenge
Golf will never be beaten – nobody will ever complete a round in 18 strokes.
An individual will never do the very best they possibly can during a round of golf – shots will always get away.
Despite that, we will all continue to keep chasing the dragon, hoping that one day we’ll have a miracle round where absolutely everything goes right.
This challenge we set ourselves is what keeps us coming back to the course time and again.
Studies conducted by the R&A show that people who play golf from an early age develop better than average life skills when it comes to integrity (golf is a game of honesty after all).
They also have above average communicative abilities, i.e. the ability to talk with people of different ages and from different backgrounds potentially.
Golf teaches patience, tolerance, dedication and perseverance.
The elite side of the game is extremely entertaining and exciting, with a myriad of competitions to watch and enjoy.
The Majors in both the women’s and men’s games deliver tremendous tension and drama, the weekly tournaments showcase different courses all over the world and the team events like the Ryder or Solheim Cups are amongst the most exciting sporting spectacles in world sport.
Golf is one of the most complete and complex sports on the planet, offering an abundance of reasons to play it, enjoy it and love it. We golfers should count ourselves rather lucky!