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Golf - My Thoughts
Golf in General
Member Name: michael126
Golf in General
Advantages: Chance to play at the same venues as the pros, an inclusive game, cheap for juniors to take up.
Disadvantages: High membership fees for adults, complicated rule book.
This is such a broad subject to cover and review, especially for someone like myself who is obsessed with the game and frankly could write about it all day. With that in mind I decided to break the game down into what I see as being some of the most relevant issues relating to the game today....
GOLF - AN ELITIST GAME PLAYED BY OLD FELLAS?
Perhaps as little as 10 years ago if you aksed a non-golfer for their opinion on the sport, you'd have probably heard about a game for wealthy folk, mostly male and mostly in their senior years. But from what I can see the demographic of the game has changed massively in recent years, with a lot more interest shown by juniors - both male and female. Most clubs now have busy junior sections and the lower membership fee schemes for under 18's are hugely important in that kids from low-income families have a chance to learn the game, therefore stripping away that elitist feel that golf might have had in the past. In addition to this, there are lots of decent municipal courses out there that don't cost the earth to play but which are maintained to a very high standard.
Golf's resurgence in recent years can probably be put down, at least in part, to it's increased TV coverage and the massive popularity of the Ryder Cup. Golfers like Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and of course Tiger have made golf cool and the fantastic venues and fashionable outfits on show only add to its huge appeal. It's good to see that TV coverage extends to the women's game also, and I was genuinely caught up in the recent Solheim Cup contest on Sky Sports, which Europe's women managed to win late on the final day.
Going back to the age thing just briefly, whilst it's fantastic to see a lot more juniors on the course these days, the beauty of golf is that players from different generations can play together and compete with each other on an even keel. Golf is all the better for the fact that age need not be a barrier to performance, as Tom Watson proved so convincingly at the 2010 Open Championship. So in my experience it really is a game that men, women, boys and girls of all ages and from all backgrounds can enjoy - which of course is how it should be.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF GOLF.
Golf perhaps doesn't have the best reputation environmentally and there are those who think it's all about ripping up acres of forest in order to create a millionaire's playground shaped by bulldozers. Yet golf course design has in recent years turned a corner and gone back in time to a point where architects would rely on the natural contours of the land. This is best demonstrated by courses like Macrihanish Dunes in Scotland and the Bandon courses in the States. These courses, and others like them, are built on sandy, free-draining soil, which means that large-scale, complex drainage systems are often not a requirement. Effectively, such courses are sculpted by mother nature as opposed to high-powered machinery. Links golf (i.e seaside golf) is in my opinion the most magical form of the game and there are more and more golfers that share this view. Fortunately this is the type of course that doesn't involve cutting down trees and shifting tonnes of earth to make it the perfect venue.
GOLF AS A RELAXING PAST TIME.
The physical benefits you can take from the game of golf probably depend on your attitude towards it and your desperation, or otherwise, to shoot a decent score. For anyone who can remain relatively indifferent to the score they enter on their card, golf must be the most peaceful and relaxing sport there is. If bad-breaks, missed putts and an incurable slice can be met with a shrug of the shoulders then surely there is no better sport. Certainly the venues must be the most scenic of any sport and no matter how awful your round might be, a golfer couldn't help but be blown away by the natural beauty of courses like Loch Lomond and Woodhall Spa.
Having said all this, golf can be the single most frustrating sport I've ever known. I'm a mid-handicapper who hopes to perhaps one day make it into single figures but I'll never be able to play to the level I aspire and so will always have a bit of a love/hate relationship with golf. But despite my desire sometimes to snap my putter over my knee in frustration, I'll keep going back for more because I love the game and always think that the next round could be the one where everything clicks and I finally shoot the round of my life.
I hope my review is enjoyable to both golfers and non-golfers alike.
Summary: The most enjoyable, but at times infuriating, of games.