My non-golfing buddies have often mocked me for playing what they consider a seniors’ game.
They think golf is boring and a terrible way to spend half of your daylight. However, the game is challenging, carries various forms, and can be played deep into old age. To disprove the haters, I have compiled 11 little-known reasons why golf is actually fun.
This list explains why golf is a rewarding game that challenges everyone who attempts to play it. Plus, I mention why major golf provides entertainment and intensity that few sports events can replicate.
1. It’s Rewarding
Although golf can frustrate amateurs and professional golfers, it also ranks high among rewarding sports. That is because it requires consistent practice, patience, and all-around performance from tee to green.
Golf can deliver rewards in various forms. On bogey days, a welcome par or a good shot stops you from feeling sorry for yourself and brings joy. Better rewards include your first par, birdie, or eagle.
However, nothing beats breaking a barrier for the first time. For example, you break 100 for the first time by shooting a 99. After that, your next goal is to break 90 and then 80. If you are good enough, breaking 70 should be a goal.
These are long-term goals. They are most fulfilling to a golfer, besides a hole-in-one. Considering the odds of carding an ace, we will sidestep that topic for now.
2. You Get to Be Out In Nature
Getting out into nature is vital for clearing your head and disconnecting from the noises that distract our daily lives. It is a chance for us to relax and think about nothing other than the beautiful day and how to approach your next shot.
3. The Game of Golf Is a Marathon
Golf is a marathon. What I mean by that is that it requires constant practice and improvement. You do not strike a ball like Tiger Woods after a couple of coaching sessions. There is always something to improve to lower your total strokes and hit more consistent golf shots.
Handicaps help us determine our overall progress, but they do not indicate the individual elements of our game. However, the end goal of any golfer is to lower their handicap to a target number. Ideally, you will aim to play off a scratch, but realistically, that is a pipe dream for most amateurs.
Furthermore, there is no time limit to achieving your goal, take all the time you need. You determine how quickly you want to improve. Those hoping to fast-track the process should prepare for an intensive schedule of lessons, practice, and playing.
The reason that practice, patience, and perseverance make golf fun boils down to the rewarding feeling when the mission is accomplished.
4. The Handicapping System Evens The Playing Field
A handicap reflects the average number of strokes you finish over par every round. For example, golfers who shoot 86 on average on a par 72 course are roughly a 14-handicap. Conversely, golfers who consistently card 72 on the same course are scratch handicaps.
The importance of handicaps is that it enables all golfers to compete against each other as equals. Therefore, if the 14-handicapper shoots a gross 82 and the scratch golfer cards 71, the higher handicap player wins.
14 subtracted from 82 gives a net of 68. The scratch golfer deducts 0 from 71, resulting in a 71 net score. Therefore, the 14-handicap player had a lower net score and defeated their opponent by 3 strokes on net. This structure is typically applied in stroke play tournaments.e
The beauty of handicaps is that no matter their skill level, golfers can compete as equals in any tournament.
5. It Strengthens Friendships
Golf builds friendships for life. Playing 18-holes with your buddies every week forges stronger friendships. It also brings 4 hours and 30 minutes of laughs, especially when one of your friends is having the worst round of their life.
You can grab a couple of beers or your beverage of choice and carry them in your bag around the course. This brings about a relaxed environment with minimal anxiety and maximum fun.
If you recently moved to a new city, invite your colleagues for a round of golf. They could be the ideal group of new friends and future golfing buddies.
6. The Majors Are Exciting
Let me change the scope for a moment. Playing different golf courses is not the only way to enjoy the game. Watching the world best is another way to experience the fun and excitement of golf. Majors provide the ultimate test for the finest players in golf.
Besides the pressure of playing in one of these events, the layouts are brutal. The US Open and PGA Championship are my two favorite tournaments because the course is long and hard, and the pin placements are sadistic.
Now, it is horrible being a professional golfer, but it is fun for us amateurs to watch names like Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson struggle to return bogey-free rounds. In addition, most tournaments are never won until the very end, which keeps fans on their toes and biting their nails.
Then, there is the ultimate excitement. A playoff. When two or more players return the same 72-hole score, the event proceeds to a playoff, either sudden death or over 3-holes. This is the golf version of a soccer penalty shootout.
You can see for yourself in this epic playoff between Haotong Li and Thomas Pieters at the 2022 BMW Championship.
7. There Are Different Scoring Formats
There are multiple scoring formats in golf to keep the game interesting. Most rounds follow the Stableford format, which uses points. This system carries a shot limit, which varies depending on your handicap and the stroke of the hole.
My favorite format is match-play because you could hit a bad shot and still halve or win the hole. But, if you had a blowout and carded a triple bogey on the first hole, you only go one shot down. That allows you to walk to the next hole, hit your tee shot, and make a solid recovery.
Other formats include foursomes, better ball, scramble, and the classic stroke play. In a foursomes format, you team up with a buddy, and each player hits the alternate shot. Therefore, you hit the tee shot, your partner hits the approach, and you finish with the birdie putt. This format tends to employ Stableford scoring.
As the name suggests, better ball takes the lowest score of the players in your group on each hole. This is either played in groups of 2 or 4-balls. Scramble is arguably the funniest format. Each player hits their tee shot, and you take the best result. Then every player in your group lines their ball up from that mark and plays their second shot.
8. There Are Different Forms of Golf
Golf on an 18-hole course is not the only way you can enjoy the game these days. Short courses are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to a decrease in disposable free time. You can tackle 6-hole courses or 9-hole par 3 golf courses.
If you do not have an hour and a half for a short golf course, you can enjoy the game at an establishment such as Top Golf. Alternatively, you can play miniature golf and test your skills with a putter in hand.
The point is that there are multiple ways for you to enjoy the game of golf without spending hours in the sun. Although, I highly recommend getting a natural tan and enjoying time in nature.
9. You Can Win Prizes in Tournaments
I understand that many amateurs prefer to play casual rounds of golf with their buddies. However, if the opportunity arises, play in some charity or club competitions. You can win fantastic prizes such as golf clubs, footwear, vacations, and the odd bottle of liquor.
It is a rewarding feeling to win a prize. It offers a sense of accomplishment and means you do not go home empty-handed.
10. You Get to Drive Golf Carts
Personally, I enjoy walking around the golf course. I prefer the exercise and silence it brings. However, I am aware that many golfers are also closet gearheads and enjoy fast-moving machines.
Well, golf courses limit the speeds of golf carts, but they are still fun to drive. Be careful anyway, as golf cart injuries are not uncommon.
11. It Helps Forge Business Relationships
You may not think that this factor ticks the boxes for fun. However, the fun comes after a large payday from the business relationship you forged on the golf course. It helps if you are a consistent golfer who can wrangle the upper hand over your opponent and potential client.
But no matter the outcome, you can bond a lot with an individual during a round of golf. The calming conditions give you the platform to get to know one another, which can be a challenge in the boardroom.