On paper, golf has many obvious perks. Golf is great exercise and lets us get outside for some quality time with Mother Nature. Golf is a lifetime sport and one that doesn’t require us to meet Olympic fitness standards to play. It’s also a great chance to mix business with pleasure and forge important partnerships outside of the office. Beyond these points, there are many more reasons it’s a great game. Let’s dig deeper and examine the more hidden, subtle benefits that we golfers reap, sometimes without even realizing them.
First, consider that, as your out there fine-tuning your game with your weekly foursome, you’re also making (or enhancing) existing friendships with your golf partners. There’s something to be said about having a regular tee time with a foursome. At the course, you’re away from your daily responsibilities. This separation can help put things into perspective, and 9 or 18 holes gives you plenty of time to bounce problems or ideas off your partners. They’ll probably do the same, and before you know it, you and your partners have quite a connection, and probably know more about each other than you realize. Because of this, golfing partners can quickly change status and become more than just partners . . . they can become your people.
Second, golf allows you to “count to ten” and step away from the stressful or crazy parts of your life. Let’s say you’ve had a really rough day at the office. Or perhaps your teenager was particularly lazy and rude, and your younger kids won’t stop fighting. Maybe you’re stressing about your in-laws’ upcoming visit. Having a set golf date on your calendar could be the one thing helping you keep it all together in your week. Plus, playing nine lets you step away from the crazy for just long enough to recharge and restore your faith that you can handle the crazy. When surrounded by beautiful fairways, greens, and trees, you can take time to simply breathe and put things into perspective.
Finally, golf is a good reminder that we’re not alone in our battles—whether it’s us vs sand traps, or us vs life’s daily stressors. As we golf with others, we see that they are human, just as we are. While we may have trouble around the green on one hole, our golf partner could have a terrible tee shot on the next hole. Similarly, as we vent about a bad boss, unruly teen, or simply unload, our partners tell us their stories too. On any given round as we see and hear it all in terms of golf and life struggles, we realize that everything’s relative and we’re all pretty similar. Nobody has a perfect game 100% of the time. It’s our struggles that make us stronger and keep us moving forward.
With these hidden perks of golf in mind, consider the advice of Nancy Lopez: “Do your best, one shot at a time, and then move on. Remember that golf is just a game.”
But what a great game it is, for it helps us realize the same thing about life. Whether you’re on the course or in the midst of life, just do your best, one shot at a time, and realize that you’re never alone.