Golf has been described as “the most human of all games”.
We enjoy it because of the challenge it offers. One day it makes you sing “I am on top of the world looking down on creation” à la The Carpenters. The very next time, on the same golf course, with the same set of golf clubs, it will reduce you to tears.
Some days you run the entire spectrum of human emotions in just one round. As long as this does not break us, or cause damage to others, we shake it off and are back not sure what to expect from the game except a good challenge.
Throughout the year we have been witness to some drama on the golf course.
Golfers who were struck down by a nightmarish stroke of tragedy on one hole. The next hole, they became the superhero of unbelievable melodrama or a comic in a side-splitting comedy.
All this has been known to happen in a span of a few hours without the need to bury a dead body or search the database of PR professionals to mend damaged reputation.
Now that the drama of championship golf is done for the year and we can for the next week or two enjoy rounds of golf without the burden of bringing back great scores, why don’t we take the opportunity to invite people who have always shown interest to play the game?
What better way to spend a few hours with family or friends who are yet to pick up the sport?
Go on, break a few Rules of Golf this Christmas holiday as long as you are not in a competition; share your golf set with the person who has yet to get a reason to invest in one if that is the only excuse they have not to play.
Don’t carry a score card and don’t keep tabs of how you play, just go out and play. For the golf widows and widowers (are there any I wonder?), this is the season to just loosen up and get out on the golf course.
For those that have never played the game, you will not play like Tiger Woods on your first outing; just don’t go with dreams of brilliant drives, crisp iron shots and draining long putts.
The more vacant the mind, the better you will enjoy the game.
If you take out some youngsters out on the course, especially those that have not played before, please remember to be patient with them.
If the youngster, in an effort to emulate you, propels his tee shot 50 yards into the tangled grass in the rough, try and encourage them. If you do not, they will be joined by a very common emotion. Acute anxiety.
This is because they don’t know what will happen when their turn comes to play. If after this they blame the wind for making their eyes water, it may not be entirely true. Those could be the first signs of a youngster who will not willingly return to the golf course.
Remember that for a junior, especially one whose drive was only 50 yards, the green on a standard par 4 hole may as well be in a different county. If they are to play all their shots from tee to green, they will get totally frustrated.
TRY A SCRAMBLE
Why not try play a scramble with them? If your tee shot is almost straight down the middle of the fairway, why don’t all of you take your second shots from there?
With the Texas Scramble, the junior will not feel encumbered with the long distance. Given a chance of putting for birdies or eagles, they will not feel like they have walked from Nairobi to Kapchorua and back.
This Christmas it will be nice if we can introduce one or more people to this most outstanding virtue of this noble pursuit that keeps us enthralled all through the year.
If we get a few more people started in the game, we will have done a great service to humanity as the game teaches them that whatever triumphs they may have had in other walks of life, they are merely human. Golf acts as a remedy for sinful pride.
I wish readers of this column a very merry Christmas filled with God’s blessings and rounds of golf with family and friends.