What Is The Lure Of The Game Of Golf?

By: Jim Ross

Have you ever stopped to think what it is about golf that you like so much?

Some people would say that it allows them to enjoy a form of exercise that is not quite so strenuous as running or jogging on the treadmill or pedaling on the exercise bike. Others would say that they like the challenge that the sport presents. A few more might admit that it is an activity that allows for their social skills to emerge. If enough people are queried the answers could very well be numerous.

As for me, it is "the guys." You might wonder why an answer like that would roll out of my mind. But for me, it's true ... "The guys."

The game itself is wonderful. The challenges that it presents are endless. The demands of a long straight drive are ever-present. In golfing terms that could be construed as another tee shot hit in the short grass. The approach shot finding its mark on the green ... or as golfers put it, another green in regulation. The putting stroke, the chip shot, the bunker shot, the pitch-and-run are all shots that require a great deal of practice and skill in their own way.

The decisions of the game and how it plays with the golfers' mind are also a big part of the game. When a player has to shape a shot the decisions that come along with that are numerous. Does the shot call for moving the ball with a slight fade or a power draw? Should the ball get up in a hurry to clear a cluster of trees or should the shot be played low to stay under the limbs? Should the player go around a hazard or take a greater chance by trying to carry the ball over the danger? If the wind is blowing into the golfers face should the player swing an extra club or two or play the shot lower so that the ball cuts through the breeze?

The strategies are endless. The skill levels are numerous. The challenges are mind-boggling and unique. The vacation destinations are abundant. The various events are well-documented. Even the body types and gender specifications are varied.

So what makes the game so popular? To reiterate ... it's "the guys."

To me there is nothing like having the regular group of guys on a Saturday or Sunday morning or for that matter a Wednesday afternoon or a Friday lunch. I've been lucky enough to have grown up in a golfing environment. Hanging around the pro shop is unique in its own way. Grabbing a bite to eat in the snack bar is significant in its own manner. Both are equally as important as jumping into a cart with a playing partner. Those places are where the stories are told, the jokes are thrown around, and the business deals are made.

From those experiences the games begin. The opportunity to bet and be paired with players of varying skill levels is fun! The challenge of the course is one thing, but saving the tail of a playing partner is what it's all about. Seeing a partner drain a thirty-footer when the chips are on the line or a competitor missing a three-foot putt in a similar situation are what make the game what it is. To be able to share the camaraderie on the course and take it to dinner afterwards or on vacation in the off-season or to a sponsored event away from the home venue is what the game of golf is all about. The friendships that are established and taken to other life experiences to me is what makes the game of golf so special.

You can have the beauty of the various golf courses. You can have the challenge of the different shots. You can have the action of the different bets. But if you don't have "the guys" to share all of that with then the glass is half-empty.

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