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Why do you bother with golf at all?
As I was a teenager growing up, golf to my mind was a game played by old men with a questionable taste in their attire. Yet it took just one ‘try’ at the game, one experience of being on a ‘golf course’ to spark something in my teenage mind that is still thrashing away inside of me thirty years later. As soon as I started to play regularly I wanted to become a member of a ‘real club’ and was staggered toclip_image004 find out that to join my local club as an adult at that time would involve me waiting SEVEN years because the waiting list was so long. That was how it was back in the early part of the Eighties if you wanted to join a golf club.
Yet thirty years later that same club is now offering ‘taster memberships’ where you can join for just a couple of months to see if you ‘like the game’ and if you do you are straight in, no wait, no joining fee. I read recently that golf has become what is known as a ‘static sport’ for a good number of years prior to the recession. A static sport is what it suggests in so much that for as many people who begin to start playing the game there is roughly an equal amount that pack in and stop playing. Why is that? Why do SO many people seem to be turning away from the game for reasons other than financial ones? A seven year waiting list to NO waiting list and ‘taster membership’ is a staggering turnaround in a half lifetime.
Maybe the world that we now live in has to experience being ‘good’ at something far quicker than previous generations. Maybe there is a pressure to perform and get a low handicap. Perhaps we EXPECT to be good at something without putting in the time and the effort that real skill development requires. Have we become too impatient to allow ourselves and our golf game to develop? We now see so much golf on TV and we are constantly fed images of great players hitting great shots. Has this set up an unrealistic expectation for many people? After all we never see the coverage of those players who are right on the cut mark and are struggling with their game. We just see good shots MOST of the time. Does golf take too long for our modern scatter brained attention deficit defeated mind? I don’t have any definitive answers to these questions but they MUST be having an impact on the game itself.

Perhaps the most important question we should ALL ask though is in fact the most simple one. Why do you play golf? Why DO you play? Ridiculously simple but unless you do ask the questions and listen to your own answers then more and more people will continue to leave the game.
When I ask that question at seminars and golf schools the answers are always pretty much the same with a few exceptions. To be outdoors, To enjoy the company, To challenge myself, To enjoy competition, To learn.
It is very rare that people answer ‘the question’ with an answer that involves lower handicaps or lower scores yet it seems that when they go out to play a LOT of golfers actually forget WHY they are playing. I am not saying for one minute that lower scores and lower handicaps shouldn’t be a goal as this can be a tremendous reward for your efforts but when you REALLY look at the reasons why you play and the pleasure that you can gain without lower scores then the game of golf does again become one worth playing.
So maybe the next time that you go to the club just pause for five minutes and ask yourself ‘Why do I play golf’? If the answers that you get then comes from the list above just make a commitment to yourself to focus on that whilst you are actually out on the course. As you focus on the reasons why you actually play the game then I think you might find yourself pleasantly surprised as to how that CLARITY will impact the QUALITY of your experience. Worth a thought?

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