The Contradictions of Golf

thBF407J5ZNext to a chess match, golf just might be the slowest moving sport going.  Or maybe it just feels that way when you’re watching or playing it.  But the funny thing about that is, every golfer is in such a hurry to get their round finished!  I hate playing with people who are in a rush.  I just want to scream my head off at them – What’s your rush?  Aren’t you enjoying yourself?  Don’t you want to spend some time out here with your buddies?  Did you make other plans?  You know we were golfing today and we always grab a bite to eat after the round…did you really make other plans so now you’re going to bitch and moan the whole round about how you need to leave?  You know what…next time just stay home!

But golf is full of this type of behavior.  If it’s not the speed of the game, it’s the level of play or the cost of everything associated with it.  What do I mean?  Here….let me explain.

1. The speed of the game.  As explained above, golf is a slow moving sport.  We are all aware of that going in.  So why in the hell is every golfer in such a hurry to finish?  Why do you make a 9am tee-time and then make plans for the early afternoon?  You know there’s a good chance you won’t be done in time.  And if you are done, you’ll be cutting it awfully close.  Everyone understands there is no rule saying your round must be completed in four hours, right?  You all know that time was just made up by courses so they can squeeze in as much golf as possible in order to make as much money as possible, right?  Obviously, no one wants to be stuck behind someone who is just so deliberately and unnecessarily slow – bad golf is tolerable, slow golf is not.  But as long as that person has the common courtesy to let a faster group play through, then what’s the issue?  We need to go into these rounds with a more relaxed, laid back attitude.  It will make your round so much more fun.  If you’re in that big a hurry, play nine or play an executive/par=-3 course.

2. The competition in the game.  Most of us golfers are just out there for fun.  The majority just plays for no reason other than they simply enjoy playing.  We’re not pros, we’re never going to be pros and we accept that.  We don’t care.  The game is more fun when that reality is accepted.  But it bothers me when I hear the people who claim this mindset, but in the next breath they are going on about how their lessons have helped lower their handicap to a level better than the next guys.  Seriously?  I thought you were out here for fun.  Why do you care if you have a better handicap than your buddy?  I’ve made the comparison before, but it still rings true – I didn’t hire a batting coach when I played beer league softball.  But I played softball for the same reason I play golf – for fun.  So why would I spend a stupid amount of money for lessons in something I’m never going to take any further than my local track?

3. The cost of the game.  Unless you’re rich or incredibly well-off, the cost of this sport is something all of us take into account.  We all know by now that you can take a $50 pair of shoes, slap some spikes on the bottom, and now they’re $100 golf shoes.  Many of us will not treat ourselves to a nicer course because of the price.  Some golfers feel like they don’t belong there because they’re not good enough to play a course like that (which is a ridiculous way of thinking by the way).  OK, I understand that.  But don’t complain about the cost of the game when you show up in your $60 polo shirt, using your $120 putter to tap around a ball that came out of a package which cost you $40 for a dozen.  You can spend one-third of that on all of those things, and next thing you know you will have the money to play that nicer course!

I’m not saying all golfers act in this manner, and I get why some do.  I understand why someone’s handicap means something to them.  I get that people feel like anything more than four hours is too long to be golfing.  And I understand that people have places they would rather spend their money than on a golf course.  I just find the contradictions amusing.  Oh well…one more thing I love about this sport!

Swing ’til you’re happy!


  1. I agree. I am always hunting for deals. I pay $40/mo at one of the nicer courses in Mesa, AZ for their Player Devlepment program. I get to hit all the range balls I would like, take part in weekly clinics and play for $14/per round at twilight.

    I look for people also getting rid of the previous years clubs as long as they are Ping and I buy recycled golf balls.

    Great savings all around and I do play a nicer championship course at least once a month.

  2. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    One contradiction about golf is that while it’s a “solitary sport”, it really sucks playing golf alone. The only thing worse is being set-up by the starter as a third-wheel with a twosome you don’t know, and who would be happier playing just as a twosome. A pair of twosomes can play together and basically ignore eachother politely, but a single is always on the outside. And it is nice to have a playing partner to act as spotter when you make a swing. It’s too-easy to lose-sight of the ball in the air, or not see where it came down when playing alone.

    One of the premises of joining a closed-membership golf club or country club is that your amenable to playing with any of the other members, that you’ll have common interests or experiences with, and the joy of making new lasting friendships. (The reverse of this is one of the justifications for the ‘blackball’.) At a daily-fee or muni he-or-they are just strangers.

    Not having personal friends who you can call and set-up a game-with is also a reason many golfers don’t play as much as they might like. I know I’d play more if I had friends who played, I’ve certainly tried. As it is I’m mostly limited to league-play.

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