I don’t think that many of my friends who don’t play golf understand why I do play and love this game. As Bagger Vance says:
What I’m talkin about is a game… A game that can’t be won only played…
Golf is a game that you can’t win. Sure, you can win tournaments and bets. You can win trophies, but you can’t ever master golf. You can’t perfect golf. You can experience perfect moments, but they are fleeting, they go as fast as they came. And you never know when the next perfect moment is coming. Golf, as many wise people have said, is in the journey. The journey to get better, to feel those perfect moments and everybody has those. They usually come at the end of a frustrating round when you’re ready to give up the game. Each one of those moments keeps you coming back for more.
I had an experience recently that showed me a bit of what drives me in golf. It seems unrelated but stick with me for a second. I got one of those jewel puzzle games for my phone. I’d play it here and there in either the normal mode or the timed mode. I’d do my best and see where my scores ended up in comparison to all the other people that have this game. Then I noticed it has an infinite mode. I started playing the infinite mode and then I realized that no matter what I did in the game, I couldn’t lose. The game wouldn’t end because it was infinite. Right there, is where I lost interest, and I’m surprised the developer even put that mode in, because it almost made me not want to play in the other modes either. But golf is different.
Well, it’s a good things there is no infinite game type for golf. Because whether you are playing nine holes after work, or playing for the US Open, it’s still golf. It’s you, the golf course, and your golf ball. It doesn’t get much better than that. There’s no guarantees. You never know when you are going to stripe if down the middle. You never know when a lucky bounce is going to put it inches from the hole. Or when a perfect shot, hits a sprinkler and goes flying over the green. You take the good, and you deal with the bad, and you try to do better. Sometimes your best isn’t enough. And sometimes, you do things you never thought possible.
I hope I play golf, like some guys I know, well into my 90s. When I can barely walk, I’ll still be able to putt and chip. And I’ll still love to hear the sound of the golf ball rattling in the hole. And I’ll still love the feeling of a perfectly struck shot. Me, the golf course, and a golf ball, going for a walk and playing a game that can’t be won.