No matter why you play or where you play the game, consistently striking a golf ball towards your target with the distance, trajectory, and shape you want will never be easy. You’ll inevitably face adversity, feel pressure, experience moments of doubt, and realize that every moment isn’t always fun.
And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Golf isn’t about feigning glee at every turn but embracing the game for what it is and the opportunities and challenges it presents. There will be ups that are exhilarating and downs that are excruciating, but when you look back on the sum of all the parts, you’ll probably think – damn, I can’t wait to do that again. In a way, part of what makes golf great is that it requires you to overcome moments that aren’t fun.
In a world where we use technology and data to eradicate doubt and fear, a golf course is a place where doubt and fear are essential. Succumbing to it may not be fun but makes overcoming it all the grander. Doubt and fear are what separate the driving range from the golf course and prevent golf from becoming trivial.
It’s human nature to search for certainty in an uncertain world. Reduce the unknowns, curb variance, and make everything easier and more convenient. Nothing exemplifies this better than the technological advancements in golf equipment. This is the driver that will finally cure your slice and give you certainty off the tee. But does that really make golf more enjoyable, or is it an expensive search for a level of certainty that doesn’t exist? The reality is that the most skilled golfers — the golfers who need technological assistance the least — end up gaining the most. Technology only widens the gap between professionals and amateurs, which leaves amateurs feeling increasingly inadequate. Commence the vicious cycle that equipment companies feast on in their marketing.
We don’t need new drivers every season or a ball that goes further. Do you want a free and guaranteed way to have less club into every green? Move up a tee box. Do you want to instantly hit more fairways? Don’t hit it as far. Don’t get me wrong, we should play with equipment we enjoy, but how we’re conditioned to think we always need an extra ten yards from our gear is borderline heinous. In my experience, a focus on skill, fitness, creativity, and mindset is a far more satisfying venture than finding a new driver. Golf should be more about what you can do for the club than what the club can do for you.
We should promote technology less and the challenge, creativity, and artistry of the game more. The trials and tribulations of golf mimic life while simultaneously providing an escape from it. To experience a round of golf is to experience a condensed version of the human spectrum. A spectrum of emotion that could take days or weeks to experience can happen within four hours on the golf course, from elation to despair and back again. The moment we negate that with technology is the moment we lose touch with the spirit of the game.