Let's face it, there's nothing like a relaxing game of golf to fray the nerves and expand the vocabulary. And even though my golf game is horrible, there are five reasons why I keep coming back to the game I love to hate.
Reason No. 1: It's a word game
Walter Hagen once said, "They call it 'golf' because all of the other four-letter words were taken." Sure, there are a few terms you need to learn — like "birdie" (one stroke under par), "bogey" (one stroke over par) and "mulligan" (ignore your horrible shot and try it again). But there are also a few adjectives you need to avoid, like the ones that pop in your head when your birdie turns into a bogie, even with the mulligan.
Hey, and speaking of "words," not only should you try to leave out the colorful ones, but you can also leave out entire parts of sentences. For instance, when my wife asks how my round went, I can honestly answer, "I shot a 78," and leave off, "...on the front nine." Sometimes incomplete sentences just feel better.
Reason No. 2: Truth is relative
For me, one of the best things about golf is spending time with family. Some of the best rounds of my life have been spent in the company of my older brothers. (If you see the video link above, the putt at the end came from one of them.) Enjoy the round, but enjoy the company more.
Now I do not suggest or endorse this, but, if by chance there is a small family wager attached to the final score, just remember that nine times out of 10 the person who wins is also the one filling out the score card. I'm just saying.
Reason No. 3: Golf has religious beginnings
As contradictory as "golf" and "religion" may seem, the sport's beginning comes straight from the scriptures. We should all remember that "the course of the Lord is one eternal round." I'm not kidding. It's in there.
And forgive me for getting too deep here, but if God were a golfer I'm not sure he would care much about the scorecard. For different reasons altogether, I believe he's all about the mulligan. Something to think about while you're looking for your tee shot.
Reason No. 4: It's educational
Golf is a game of math. For instance, the angle of a club face determines how high and how far you can hit the ball. So if I swing a 5 wood at a Titleist 2 and drive it 200 yards into a 15 mph wind, there's a 99 percent probability that I'll still hit it into the trees.
This, of course, brings us back to reason No. 1 and avoiding colorful language. You see, this is all connected. (Remember, one eternal round.)
Reason No. 5: Thinking positive changes the game
For whatever reason, I can stink up the course for the first 17 holes, but all it takes is one fluke putt on the 18th green to change everything. You know, the one where you hit it way too hard on a fast green, and because nobody pulled the pin, your ball hits it at 50 mph and goes in. Yep, it makes the whole round worth it. One good stroke out of a hundred — now that’s optimism.
So the next time you're on the course, whether you hit the fairway, or hit the wrong fairway, or hit the houses next to the fairway — remember to enjoy the company, celebrate the successes and bite your tongue on the other stuff.
Golf is still a 4-letter word
There's nothing like a relaxing game of golf to fray the nerves and expand the vocabulary. With such a horrible golf game, why do I keep coming back?
Tim Johnson is the art director at KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. He and his wife, Alicia, are the proud parents of five daughters who, thankfully, look like their mother.