Adults must step in and show children that they are loved, that they can become children again
Golf is deceptively simple and infinitely complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It’s both rewarding and maddening – and it’s without a doubt the greatest game humanity has ever invented.
– Arnold Palmer.
It was more years than I want to say a friend and I were playing golf and the following conversation took place.
Buddy: “I have an idea on how to solve the crime problem, but it’s not going to be popular with the public. “
Me, skeptic: “OK. Tell me more.”
Buddy: “We need to build golf courses next to prisons, give inmates clubs and introduce them to the game.”
Me: “And how does that solve the crime problem?”
Buddy: “When the inmates get out of jail, they’ll be so busy training that they won’t have time to wreak havoc. “
This is perhaps the strangest part: being well acquainted with the addictive nature of golf, it made sense to me.
I’ve always thought golf was the best game, and that argument grew stronger on Sunday when Phil Mickelson, 50, won the PGA, his sixth major title, beating the strongest field a major offers. of golf, with many of the best bets half is age. He succeeded, in his own words, by “working a little harder” not only on the physical aspects of the game, but also on the mind, keeping his focus for four laps and a day of hours. It’s no easy task wearing 30 years of professional golf tread and using a stick to squeeze a 1.68 inch diameter sphere into a 4.25 inch wide hole while playing rounds. sand dunes and in a wind tunnel.
It was a victory for the elderly, rivaling Ben Hogan’s 1950 US Open title, Jack Nicklaus ‘Masters Championship in 1986, and Tiger Woods’ Masters triumph of 2019 in popularity and improbability.
Golf’s willingness to bend a bit with age isn’t all that elevates it above other sports. Golf is, without a doubt, the most difficult game to play well. Most of us as kids could shoot basketball a bit, kick a baseball a bit, or catch a soccer ball a bit, as they all involve instinctive physical movement. This is not the case with golf, which rewards athleticism, power, speed, flexibility and timing, but whose movements have not evolved since the days when homo sapiens relied on on these skills to stalk its prey in order to feed.
Not all great athletes are good golfers, but almost all great golfers are good athletes – at least when defined quite narrowly as hand-eye coordination. Ask Charles Barkley. The PGA players you watch on the weekends were playmakers in basketball, shortstops in baseball, and quarterbacks in football before deciding to focus on golf.
The game is social, which I like, but can be enjoyed on its own. It is played outdoors on visually appealing landscapes, perhaps on a mountain or by an ocean, under the soothing sun, hopefully, but for fanatics it can also be played in the cold, rain and wind. While the location may be the same, the conditions are never accurately reproduced, making today’s test different from yesterday and tomorrow. Variety is one of the spices of life.
The best thing about golf, however, are the life lessons that can be learned by chasing a little white ball for four miles, usually longer as most zigzag.
As Mickelson demonstrated, golf rewards hard work, but that effort cannot be banked and must be sustained because quality golf is fleeting even for the most accomplished. No one golfs well, but some golf poorly for shorter periods of time.
What other sport demands integrity and allows its participants to self-regulate? If you’ve watched more than a pinch of golf on TV, you’ve probably seen a player call an official and self-assess a penalty. Can you imagine an offensive lineman telling a referee he was holding, a pitcher telling the referee he deliberately scratched the baseball, or a basketball defender telling the referee he had the shooter on? the elbow ? Yet that is precisely what happens in golf. All the time.
The innate injustice of golf also imitates life. A perfectly hit tee shot can settle in a sandy divot, while a badly hit bunker shot can crash into the pin and plunge into the hole. There are simply no guarantees, but that doesn’t stop the insatiable pursuit of perfection. In fact, he assures it.
I firmly believe it: if all our children used it from an early age, we would raise a generation that would be less resistant to hard work and better prepared for the vagaries of life. Do yourself, your child and everyone else a favor and introduce him to the game, which can be enjoyed his whole life.
The best that I didn’t save for last, but it’s still pretty good. What other game does the participant actually do a little better with with just the right number of cold beers, but can they barely play if they consume one too many? This is yet another sweet spot that the game of golf hangs on.