Is Golf Play or Work?
By mustang6560 on 2/16/11
I read an interesting story about how to make the golf round more enjoyable. It's a short article but it got me thinking - is golf primarily about the result or the experience?
Last Sunday, we saw actor Bill Murray help teammate D.A. Points win at Pebble Beach. In fact, Points credited Murray with helping him “have fun” which led to a better attitude and better shots. This can be a good lesson for all of us on the course.
I know there are multiple variables that determine the objective of a round of golf, but the fundamental question here is should you allow golf to cause you stress?

I played behind a group of guys last weekend who were playing a scramble and their objective seemed to be have fun. I mean, whoever lost the hole had to chug a beer on the next tee box. How serious could you take that round?

This is an interesting question because I've always enjoyed the game of golf but it's not a stress-free sport. There are days I often leave the course frustrated because I missed a gimme-length putt or chipped over the green and it haunts me for the rest of the day. But there are also days I leave feeling like I'm the king of the world (no Titanic references please) because I played to the best of my ability.

But, I never play golf the way those guys did. If I want to drink beer, you will find me tailgating for an LSU game or at a friend's house and not on the golf course. For me, golf is a hobby that provides me an outlet and I do get enjoyment out of the sport. However, I don't just play golf for the sake of being outside. I play golf because A) I like it and B) I'm trying to get better. And because of B), I can expect a certain level of stress.

In my opinion, golf should cause a little stress because that means you are trying to get better. If it didn't cause you stress than you aren't taking it seriously and if you aren't taking it seriously, than you aren't getting better. Why do something that you aren't trying get better at?

I am not saying golf should cause you so much stress you can't function in your daily activities. I do think you have to manage your stress levels and the way to do that is to set realistic goals. You can't go out and expect to be a scratch golfer if you play twice a month and don't practice.

At the end of the day, it comes down to different personality types. But for me, I'm of the mindset to always improve so I'd rather learn to manage my stress levels than forever be a hacker.

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[ comments ]
rmumph1 says:
I agree
legitimatebeef says:
A little competitive stress in the context of a golf round is certainly not a bad thing. Success on the golf course, at any level, is not easy to come by, that is why golf is one of the most rewarding sports/activities there is. For me, a round is not all smiles and pleasantries; you'll probably never hear me utter the words "just glad to be out here". But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Many folks simply pick up their 3-4-5 foot putts and I guess on a certain level I understand why. They want to save themselves the stress/humiliation that comes with bungling a little short putt. IMO you have to take it though, you cannot spare yourself from the sting, especially if you care at all about improving as a player. Besides it's all part of the fun, the anxiety, the shame, frustration. It's just the flip side of what makes golf so much fun. There's no thrill of victory without agony of defeat.
mustang6560 says:
@legitimatebeef- "There's no thrill of victory without agony of defeat" very true words.
fletcha says:
I always enjoy my round whether I play well or not is not too big a deal. What does stress me out about golf is trying to get to the course. There's always something that comes up last minute and I get so aggravated/stressed about it that it usually takes me 5 or 6 holes to get anything going. I get especially annoyed when I miss a tee time.
Envythepea says:
Golf is play. Have fun. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy the weather. Golf is fun, win or lose.
cjgiant says:
I'd love to be good enough to get back to the pure enjoyment of the game...

or become so hopeless again that all a round of golf means is fun...

however, I am stuck in that middle of being "good enough" that bad shots affect me, and bad rounds usually equate to stress and no fun.

Truthfully though, on those rare occasions I go into a round not caring about the round and just to enjoy the day/round, I usually end up playing and scoring pretty well. Is there a lesson I just can't seem to learn??
Trip says:
I get competitive and have learned to enjoy the ups and downs of a round. The key, for me, is to leave it on the course. When I get in my car to go home, good or bad, I'm just glad I was able to get away and play.
mjaber says:
Most hobbies can be stressful. I used to build, and re-build, car audio systems. I have built my own subwoofer boxes, speaker enclosures, done all the wiring, etc. It would get frustrating working on different cars. It was all worth it in the end, though.

I see golf the same way. There is going to be a certain amount of stress/frustration, because it's something you enjoy and want to be good at.
svj says:
there is 2 kind of people,,, the first one goes through out life with the fear of failure, the other is voided of that sense and is motivated by success.. both are basic human responses and which stress will always play a part... depending on how you handle it, defines you as player...
billbadaz says:
When I play in a scramble, I drink, have fun, cut up, try shots I would never try during a normal round, but when I play in league play or for money, I do get stressed. I do not get mad. I used to get mad, but then I realized that this is one of the hardest sports in the world, and only 125 men in the world keep a PGA tour card, so now I laugh at myself if I hit a thin iron or chunk a chip. I play for the good shots, the 7 iron from 160, into the wind and uphill that you hit to 1 foot. I think I am done breaking putter's on the flag stick or bouncing my driver off of the cart path.
Banker85 says:
I am kinda like Cjgiant, where i feel i am good enough to hit certain shots (ie, 110 yards in the Fairway to wide open green) and when i dont i get stressed. BUt i dont Strees before a shot only after i mishit it... I do get anxious sometimes but that is different than stress. I always leave the course feeling better than when i got there.
SD Charlie says:
I think I fall in line with most everyone here. That is, I do enjoy just being out playing golf, but I also enjoy improving and thrill of making a tough putt, or hitting that perfect iron shot. Those stick out in my head far more than the bladed chip shot, or the missed gimme.

-billbadaz: I'm totally with you on the getting mad part. I've only been playing for a year and a half or so, so I can't expect to make all the shots all the time. I'll only be more upset after I calm down and realize I have to buy a new putter/wedge/driver.

By the way, love the avatar - Pizza The Hutt!
bducharm says:
I have to say Yes to the question. I can go out and just play, have fun, not worry. I call this wife golf - on the off occasion when the wife will come out and play. When I tee it up in competition then there is some amounts of stress. It's how you deal with that stress that dictates how I play. The stress of competition used to really get to me. However I try to use that stress to spur me on now. I am trying to take the next step and qualify for a USGA tournament.
Banker85 says:
i stress sometimes when i am golfing and i know i should be somewhere else (work) but oh well. that lasts about 2 holes then i am good! LOL

good luck bducharm! let us know how it goes
Birdwell49 says:
Unless you're a touring professional earning a living via the golf club, it's play. It comes down to your own personal definition of play. For some it may be downing a 12-pack and cutting up with friends. For others, like myself, fun is defined as competition. Whether that is with yourself, friends, club championship, or any number of state and national tournaments, it's still fun. I get stressed at qualifiers because I'm competing, and to me, that's a blast. There is certainly disappointment involved unless you win. IMO it's how you deal with defeat as to whether it's play or work.
legitimatebeef says:
@fletcha, that reminds me. My buddy always finds a way to stress himself out on the golf course. Mostly it has to with the people around us. If there are douchebags in our group, forget about it. Heck if there's any d-baggery happening on either the hole ahead of us or behind or an adjacent hole, old Eagle-Eye notice it, then proceed to give himself agita over it. He might see a twosome some three holes behind and start worrying about when they'll eventually catch up to our group and want to play through. If he is on the green putting and spots the group behind, standing in the fairway with hands on hips ostensibly waiting on us, there's no way he's gonna make his putt, no matter the length. He once told a wayward single who tried to join us on the 10th hole to get lost and threatened to "punch him in the nuts". He's a good guy but he is kind of a wreck on the course.
Kurt the Knife says:
to get lost and threatened to "punch him in the nuts".

I guess that would be a "no"?

Last round I played I caught up with a cat on the 2nd FW who was waiting a foursome on the green. He waves up my approach onto the green n he tells me they denied him thru/join cuz he "interrupted their conversation".
So we got caught up by another duo in the 3rd teebox and by the fourth tee there was a band of 10 people waiting to go. No marshall on the field.
Funny, didn't stress me at all cuz it wasn't my fault n I was hitting the ball pretty good.
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