More On Caring Less: Losing the “Love” of Golf

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Delray Beach, FL– Golf is a miserable way to pass time. Of all the sports and games and hobbies I’ve tried in my life, none provided the level of frustration and self-loathing that golf gave me.

But it’s also addictive. So much so that you will hear golf addicts insisting that they “love” the game. They will tell you stories about how great it is to be out in the fresh air. But the truth is, no amount of sunshine will brighten the mood of a golfer as he rounds the turn realizing his yet-again hope of achieving his score has been dashed and he has another two hours of misery ahead of him.

My relationship with golf was relatively good. I avoided it for 50 years and was addicted to it for less than 10. I got up the strength to quit about four years ago. Rather than make the declaration (That’s it! I quit!) that the average golfer makes every dozen rounds, I vowed to play only “happy golf” from then on.

The rules of happy golf are three: You play no more than two hours, which means you cannot ever finish a full round. You cannot keep score, even in your head.  And if you take a shot you don’t like, you must take it over.

I have played several games of happy golf and I can avow that it makes me happy. But none of my golf-addicted friends or colleagues will play it with me. Why is that? Because the very essence of golf is self-flagellation. And when you play happy golf, you can’t do that.

Here’s the thing: I assumed that I would experience some sense of loss after I stopped playing. I was prepared for listless afternoons, wishing I were on the golf course. But it never happened. There hasn’t been a single moment since I quit when I’ve thought, “Gee, it would be nice to be golfing.”

What does that say about the years I spent golfing 8 to 10 hours a week?

They say that buying and selling the boat are the two happiest days of a boater’s life. With golf, you don’t even get the two days.