It’s just you, and this small little white ball next to your feet. Hundreds of yards away, a flag rustles as the wind goes past. There is no momentum, there is no direction, there is no energy. You address the ball, and swing freely. The little ball flies towards a distant target, lands, and rolls out a couple yards or so. Maybe it’s on a green, maybe a fairway, maybe a bunker.
Why do we play the game of golf?
For me, golf is a mirror. Each day, I have some skill, some ability. In order for me to perform at my best (for that day), I need to look in the mirror and be honest with myself about what I have that day. If I try to bite off more than I can chew, than it is perhaps more likely that I will fail. Even if I don’t have my A-game on a day, perhaps even my C-game, the more honest and open I am with myself about what I bring to the table, the better I perform. It teaches risk management. It teaches honesty. It teaches integrity. It teaches responsibility and forces us to own up to our mistakes.
You take in as many outside inputs as you choose to, and then you take in inside inputs (your own ability). From there, you draw up a plan. Once you have this plan, you have to execute the plan. Sometimes you have a great plan, and you fail to execute. Sometimes you execute your plan perfectly - but your plan is flawed. Sometimes, you execute a bad plan poorly, and get lucky.
At the end of the day, my round is over, and no one actually cares what my score was. Notice in all of the above, I didn’t actually talk about golf specifics at all, because golf isn’t about a little white ball. Golf is about life, golf is about identity, golf is about character. Golf is about looking in the mirror and seeing what life holds for you today, and it’s about learning how to do that every single day.
It’s hard to look in the mirror and admit faults. It’s hard to admit “I’m not happy in life”. It’s hard to admit “I made a mistake”. Through golf, we learn how to confront these difficult emotions in the rest of our lives. Through golf, we become better people.
Golf is not about golf. Golf is about gamifying reflection and personal growth. Golf takes life’s hard questions, and makes them easier to think about.
Thoughts? Why do you play?