Fresh air, walking, blah blah blah.
Now that we’ve checked off the obvious, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Golf is the best pastime ever because it is the most challenging and rewarding thing you can play.
Not only are you up against the golf course, you’re up against Mother Nature:
I’ve played in wind, rain, hail, and snow. I’ve seen a hawk dive-bomb a golf ball. A goose deflect a ball off target. A coyote stalk one of my playing partners.
It’s wild out there. And this was just last year at my course.
One of my brothers was playing a course in southern Alberta and he saw a grizzly bear swim across a pond, lumber out onto the putting green, and fall asleep. Then he saw four German tourists hit onto the green and putt.
Most pro sports have playing fields that look the same to the players. Golf courses are all different. With scenery that is mind-blowing, from azaleas at Augusta to lava flows on Lana’i.
Golf is the only game where an everyday player can hit a shot better than a professional. I’ve had a hole-in-one. I’ve sunk a sixty foot putt. But I’ll never throw a fifty-yard pass with a football. Or hit a baseball 400 feet. Or drive 200 mph (even if I’m late for a tee time).
You can hit shots in golf that make you look like a pro. But you can also hit shots that make it look like you’ve never played the game in your life, when you’ve actually been playing for decades.
A one-millimetre misalignment of your club at impact can be disastrous. A blade of grass that escaped the mower blade can throw your birdie putt off target. And, as pro golfer Paul Casey found out this past weekend, hitting a perfect shot that then rolls into a pitch mark can (arguably) cost you millions of dollars.
It’s cruel. It’s for resilient people. And that’s another great thing about it – the variety of people you meet. I’ve played with millionaires, welders, stay-at-home dads, teachers, investment bankers, and police officers.
You can get to know people when you golf with them. Try striking up a conversation with someone on the tennis court, see how it goes.
Golf’s the best. That’s why when I started writing novels, I knew my detectives would be golfers.