“If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play at it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.” – Bob Hope
Playing Golf is hard work.
I am well aware that to the untrained eye (or golf-cynic), it may seem like a leisurely jaunt in the countryside, with fresh air and singing birds and glorious soft sunshine carrying said golfer along in a basket made of wicker, stopping occasionally to swing the lightest of clubs towards a greener part of the overall greenness. Some of the afore-mentioned golf-cynics go as far as imagining the golfer being serenaded occasionally by a balladier on the fairway, and refreshed by a water nymph with the choicest of fresh nectar as they saunter along in the paradise that is the golf course…
The reason I know this is because not so long ago I was one of those creatures, nodding my head in agreement each time there was a snort of derision directed towards any man who may choose to forsake economic or family responsibilities to go for a glorified walk in the park, occasionally smacking a fairly small round object while yelling ‘fore’ to anyone who cared to listen.
I admit it guiltily and with a fair amount of contrition: I was a Golf-Cynic.
All of that changed when I decided to attempt a slightly more active existence (emphasis here was more on the ‘slightly’ aspect, and less on the ‘active’ aspect). Much like, I hazard to guess, most middle-aged individuals who feel the hankering to ‘get out there’ and ‘do something’.
Initially I briefly toyed with the idea of going all out and starting mountain climbing with a side of marathon running, an idea which died an almost immediate and painless death when my knees got wind of my intentions and threatened an all out strike. Their threats were mirrored by my feet, lungs and heart in what ultimately ended up being a vicious coup de gras on my intentions by the Body United Movement (or BUM).
What the BUM wanted (as outlined in their counter proposal), was an activity that would allow them to maintain their current state of mediocre existence, while at the same time fool the brain into thinking that some notion of ‘exercise’ was occurring. An exalted walk in the park, so to say.
A short state of offers and counter offers between the BUM and Brain ensued which was finally resolved by the negotiated settlement of Golf. The Brain was happy, stating that it had won the moral victory, safe in the knowledge that its core functions (those of mental thought, resilience and logic) would hardly need to be exercised at all in this game, while the members of the BUM rubbed their hands in glee with smirks on their faces thinking they had gotten away with murder, knowing as they did, that there would hardly be any calling for them to over-exert themselves beyond a gentle warm-up.
How wrong they were…
All of them.
The Brain was the first to realize its folly when I first tried to swing a club to hit a ball. It could not conceive how, in the face of such undoubted logic, it was impossible for me to hit the ball any distance at all in anything remotely resembling a straight line. Since that first swing the brain has made it its constant purpose to apply logic, reasoning and co-ordination to try and make me hit straight and long, a battle it looses every day. Its meager resources of will power and resilience have all but evaporated, replaced with equal measures of dis-belief and anguish. As I speak it is but a shell of the brain it used to be. Such is the toll of golf on the brain.
Next to realize its mistake was the knees. They learnt of the peril they had put themselves in when I tried to ‘swing with the hips’, resulting in both knees finding themselves in a fairly unique position: that of being in agreement that new vocabulary would be needed to describe the feeling of pain felt when either of them were rotated anything more than 30 degrees.
The feet were quick to fall, meeting their demise after my first round of 18 holes accompanied by choruses from the soles of ‘spare us Lord for we did not know what hell we had called upon ourselves’.
As for the Heart and Lungs, they saw the truth of their fate at the end of the 9th hole at Sigona, when they were housed in a body mandated to make its way from the 9th green to the clubhouse. The realization was swift and pure.
The BUM had fallen flat on its…well..bum, and the Brain was left reeling from the onslaught of constant unabated usage of its resources.
No more do I see golf as the fabled walk in the park surrounded by nature’s goodness and bounty. Instead I see it as an obstacle course filled with potential life threatening forests of the darkest shade, valleys where men are separated from boys (the boys being the victors naturally) and treacherous water hazards akin to the stormiest of seas. And sand bunkers. Damn them to Hell.
So beware, all you Golf-Cynics: heed the words of a man who has had his Brain and BUM let down. The illusion you have painted in your mind of Golf is a false god. The truth is far more terrible than you can conceive: Golf is Hard Work!!