Whether one needs to be a genius or mentally challenged to excel at the game of golf is an oft-discussed topic. Is a person better off to understand thoroughly the golf swing, have complete awareness of his surroundings and control of his faculties? Or would it be better to play the game glibly with little regard of the outcome?
Of course, when we play well, we think it’s the genius thing. When we play poorly, we opt for the lower IQ solution.
Regardless of the answer to this generally rhetorical question, the game does cause all of us to wonder in amazement. Good rounds or bad rounds, we like to contemplate the mysteries of the game. The game is full of rewards and yet can almost be cruel at times.
It is in the spirit of this conundrum, this paradox, that many have offered explanations to reconcile our dilemma. Please consider these points to ponder.
“They say golf is like life, but don’t believe them. Golf is more complicated than that.” — Gardner Dickinson
“One blames fate for all other accidents but feels personally responsible when he makes a hole in one.” — Bishop Sheen
“If you’re afraid a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead is still putting out, you have two options: You can immediately shank a layup or wait until the green is clear and top a ball halfway there.” — Unknown (but could be any one of us).
“Eighteen holes of match play will teach you more about your foe than eighteen years of dealing with him across a desk” – Grantland Rice
“If you think it’s hard to meet new friends, try picking up the wrong ball.” – Jack Lemmon
“The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody would put a flagstick on top of it.” – Pete Dye
“The only time my prayers are never answered is while playing golf.” – Billy Graham
“The difference in golf and government is that in golf you can’t improve your lie.” – George Deukmejian
“If profanity had any influence on the ball, the game would be played far better than it is.” – Horace G. Hutchinson
“Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.” – Unknown
“Golf is a good walk spoiled” – Mark Twain
The game is great for many reasons. The fact that it is not a game of perfection is both the attraction and the frustration. We learn to improve physically, and we try to maintain control mentally. We are right to feel good when we succeed, and we are correct in accepting responsibility when we fail.
Until we meet again, please accept one of my favorites. “Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.”
John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.