Embracing the spirit of the game

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 fun 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 the way in which 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.

Golf is mental at Talking Rock
Fore right. Yours truly mid-club drop at Talking Rock near Kamloops, British Columbia during a very enjoyable round.

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6 thoughts on “Embracing the spirit of the game

  1. Josh,

    I cannot agree more. The white noise of technology clouds the real spirit of the game and that is based in the ability of a player to improve their game without changing equipment every year. I bought a new driver this year and I gained about 15 to 20 yards, but I was always a straight driver and kept the ball in play. New technology improve my distance, but not how I swing the club.

    Cheers Jim

    1. Well said, Jim! We of course need clubs that are functional for our games and we will all need a new driver at some point, but the white noise from marketing is troubling. I’m sure there are a lot of people who keep shelling out for new gear every year but their game doesn’t get any better.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Cheers
      Josh

  2. In my office I have a quote from Jack Nicklaus which states, “Golf is meant to be fun”. When I was able to really embrace that it freed me from so many things – unrealistic expectation, lingering negative emotion, and placing too much weight on score. The noise around technology is increasing and there is a time and a place for constructive debate. As for me, when I am teeing it up I block out the noise and embrace the high and lows of the game. It’s made the game overall more fun. It’s also given me perspective on how awesome my punch out game is getting, lol. Always love reading your posts and this is one I’ll visit regularly.
    Cheers, Mike

    1. Thanks pal! You’ve definitely found the sweet spot in how to approach the game. Keeping it all in perspective during the good days and the not so good makes the journey much more enjoyable.

      Cheers
      Josh

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