What Every Golfer Needs to Know

Published 09/09/2013 07:50:00

Besides the mechanics of golf, enjoyment of the game is a matter of attitude and mood. There is no textbook on ideal dispositions for golf. But here's a starter:

Don't be humble

Although you may have been lured to the game by its presentation on television, don't think of the great players as icons. Once you start to play, it's your game-not theirs. They are the fortunate beneficiaries of your interest in the activity. If not for you, half of them would be unemployed.

Please don't play slowly

No one has ever established a correlation, because there is none, between scoring better and taking more time. Four golfers who can't break 100 can easily get around in four hours or less. Although it's hard to quantify what's slow, think of it this way: Once the coast is clear and it's your turn to play, there is no excuse for taking more than 20 seconds to play a stroke.

"Smell the flowers,"

...the great Walter Hagen said, or is alleged to have said. He made a good point. What makes golf a better game than all the others is its unique arenas-the courses. (And it's a lot easier to smell the flowers when you're walking, not flying by them in a golf cart.) Learn something about your course-when it was built and how it evolved. You don't have to go overboard by learning the difference between Penncross and Penneagle, but it's cool to know that most of these modern bent grasses were born at Penn State University. Eventually, you can strike pedantic poses: "This course is overwatered," and "What this course needs is a sharp chain saw. "

Play the ball as it lies

In the long run, it'll make you a better ball-striker, and you'll get more satisfaction from hitting a good shot, when you don't play so-called winter rules.

Read some history

The more you know about how this all happened, over 500 years plus, the more fun the game becomes. There has been an awful lot of good golf writing. With apologies to the other inmates of this magazine, the best golf writing was done by the Englishman Bernard Darwin-it's worth the effort to unearth his work at your local library. Other stars of the trade include the late Peter Dobereiner, Herbert Warren Wind and, yes, even Dan Jenkins.



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