Where are the real golf nuts?

As an avid golf nut that plays 80 plus rounds a year and admittedly doesn’t have much of a life I must admit to not missing golf since my last round two months ago. A physical and mental break from any routine can be healthy, which is why I’m an advocate of separate spousal vacations, but that’s for another day.

The winter is a good time to get caught up on other activities such as shopping for golf coupons. Recently I purchased my annual bucket of Under Par specials. If you’re not familiar with Under Par (no I’m not being paid by them) they offer some great deals including two rounds in a day for two players and cart for $100 or less.  Last year I played Forest City National, Lora Bay, Sleepy Hollow and Hunters Pointe, all very good courses, at a cost of $25 per round. I think it’s a great bargain.

So why is it so difficult to find playing partners who want to play 36 holes in one day?  Maybe it’s my deodorant. Seriously though, there are so many complaints about the high cost of golf, I would think many would want to take advantage of some of these deals. Where are all the golf nuts? Are thirty six holes too mentally or physically exhausting?

I do acknowledge the golf nut. He or she is immersed in golf articles, can describe Michael Breed’s fashion favourites, and stays home on weekends to watch golf tournaments. They know shaft types from xp90’s to Nippon NS pro yadda yadda, spin rates, ball speeds, and even the difference between course rating and slope. But ask them to play two rounds in a day and the list of excuses pour out of the faucet. I would say that if a full day of golf is too much for you, you’re not a true golf nut.

Last year I purchased six of these coupons after I had commitments from golfers who said they would buy in, but three backed out with rather lame excuses. I called all manner of golf friends, former business associates, golf students, playing partners on the Toronto Golf Nuts forum, even old enemies. All of them supposed golf nuts, addicts, loving the chance to play 36 at a good course. The flimsy excuses were pathetic: “I’d feel guilty taking a whole day off work; I have to take my great aunt to Niagara for the day; 36 might be hard on my back; I need to be home for dinner (why?) and my favourite, wifi reception isn’t good at Lora Bay and I need my phone. Where’s my paper bag?

Golfers complain about the high cost of green fees, and yet when an opportunity to play two rounds at a third of the normal price presents itself nobody wants to take advantage.  I realize now that it’s not about getting good deals. Most simply cannot handle too much golf. Many golfing friends think I’m ‘crazy’ for going on golf vacations and playing 11 or 12 rounds in six days. “How can you play so much golf?  You don’t have time for shopping or relaxing on the beach. I’d be too tired to go to the strip bars” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but would you really rather shop than golf?

Years ago I arranged golf tournaments for charities.  One of the events I organized involved 100-hole golf marathons. I’ve participated in a few, and those were some of the happiest days of my life. To play golf for an entire day and escape the maddening world while enjoying green grass, lakes, wildlife and good conversation would be my description of heaven. I stopped organizing these events because it was just too difficult trying to find participants. Those who played the 100 holes were ecstatic and couldn’t wait to return the following year. But the majority I asked to play thought it was an unfathomable amount of golf.

The problem is defined by the times we live in.  Our current life style has eroded the relaxed and patient mind.  Like the fans at a Maple Leaf game, who watch with phone clenched in one hand, it’s rare for me to play golf with a fellow who isn’t texting every few holes. Fun for a day might be the new oxymoron. Not think of work? Forget it.

Honestly how many golfers do you see without a phone on the course?  How often does the thought to finish the round quickly and get home prevail?  Two rounds a day? How about one? Eighteen holes are getting tedious! Golfers get antsy by the fourteenth hole, with sights to the parking lot and the fastest route home.

For those that do choose to play 36, the rewards are awesome. You’ll play better because you will feel less pressure to make errors knowing you have the entire day to make up for poor shots. You will be relaxed and therefore play more freely. You will take fewer practice swings in an effort to save energy for later in the day and play faster with better rhythm. You will feel good about your chipping and putting.  In addition to playing better and being able to work on your game, you feel stronger, happier and renewed when you return to work.

Playing 36 does require a couple of things.  It asks one to leave the guilt at home for taking the day off work. And it requires one to give permission to oneself to enjoy life in its totality for a small moment in time, to love what one loves doing, which is to golf your brains out, uncluttered and free. Our golf season is short, just slightly shorter than our lives, so if you really are a self described golf nut or simply love golf, treat yourself this summer and spend one entire day on the links. If you run into me out there please feel free to join.

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