I know some kids may think golf is slow and boring. I’ve played the game since I was 12 years old, and it’s cooler than you think. Let’s take a look:
The pros make it look easy, but golf is hard. Golfers have to practice for years so they can smash a ball as far as 300 yards down the middle of the fairway. The slightest mistake in the golfer’s swing can send the ball flying in the wrong direction.
Golf is really two games. The first game is the long shots that get the ball onto the green. The second is putting the ball across a table-slick surface of grass into a hole that is only 4¼ inches across.
Each shot — whether a long shot that soars through the air or a tap-in putt right beside the hole — counts as a stroke. In pro tournaments, more than 100 players play four, 18-hole rounds. The golfer who finishes with the fewest strokes is the winner.
Winning any pro tournament is tough. All the golfers are good, and most of the tournaments are close. Thirteen golfers finished within four strokes of the winning score in last week’s PGA tournament.
Morikawa had a three-foot putt on the first extra hole to tie Berger. Three-footers are usually easy for pros, but Morikawa’s putt spun around the hole and stayed out.
Berger won by the smallest of margins.
So pro tournaments are full of drama and excitement. But the biggest reason for kids to watch (and then hopefully play) golf is the lessons the game teaches.
Watch the golfers. They seldom lose their temper after a mistake or a bad bounce. Instead they concentrate on the next shot and try to do their best on that shot.
In addition, golfers are usually good sports. That may be because there is no way to play defense or blame the referees in golf. Sometimes golfers play their best and still lose. They just shake hands and try to do better next time.
Drama, skill, sportsmanship. Maybe it’s time to give golf a look.