Jack Nicklaus has often said that golf is a lifetime sport. So too is swimming I suppose. While many of us can remember learning to swim at a very early age, for most of us golf did not have the same allure or accessibility. Mom or Dad, the YMCA or the city pool were natural outlets for our desire to splash and play or maybe even to compete. Spending time at the country club or even the local muni might have been an opportunity for a few of us, but for the most part it passed us by until the late teens or early twenties.
Perhaps and especially for women, the desire to play golf might not have materialized until even later when families and careers started to mature a bit. At whatever point we became interested in the game, many of us entered into the fold with some fear and trepidation. We started the game with equipment that was handed down to us from the corner of the garage or a family member. We took advice from parents, older siblings or friends who may or may not have been able to break 90.
In the most recently released PGA tour statistics, the 100th ranked player in driving distance averages 286 yards per drive and the 100th ranked player in putts per round averages 29 putts (or 1.6 putts per hole). This is the golfing world we live in. Let’s face it, in our golfing heyday single digit handicaps were more the exception than the rule.
The question continues as we age like fine wine — how do we enhance our enjoyment of the game? Love of the game is the most obvious answer, however on a long hot day; love of the game can become the drudgery of “will I make it around”. So, why not highlight the social aspect of the game? Play with someone you have never played with before and get to know them. Following your round, relax in the restaurant with your new buddy and have an ice cold Arnold Palmer drink.
Another fun idea is to set your par score for the day. Mine may be 75 and yours may be 90. Make it realistic, something you can shoot or a little better. Compare your over/under to your favorite touring pro in his or her most recent event (using your handicap of course).
No matter what your goals in the game are now, no matter how many years you have been playing and no matter how much advice you may have been given, a better game with greater comfort within the golfing environment begins with contacting your local PGA professional. There you can find out how to fit yourself with the proper equipment, locate information on lessons and clinics and find ways to enjoy the level of competition you desire.