Do you play golf with moderate-to-regular frequency? Are you curious how you can make a ubiquitous, albeit tedious, adult activity more satisfying?
If you answered “no” and “no” again, you should still keep reading, just in case your life takes a wild turn.
Many people reading this blog have never attempted to play a round of golf before. You may have played mini golf, but this is not golf. You may have smacked a bucket of balls away at the driving range or even burned a paycheck on mediocre chicken wings at TopGolf, but these activities are not golf either.
You club and ball-less people might ask: Is golf fun? Well, kind of.
At some point in your life, so long as you’re an upper-middle-class citizen of a westernized nation, golf will inherently become fun. That is to say, not fun, but something vaguely resembling what you remember fun to be like. Golf is a fun-adjacent activity for (mostly [and sadly]) men to partake in once their bodies can no longer handle the rigors of more outwardly competitive sports.
Some men play golf because they belong to expensive private clubs and enjoy being around other men who look like, speak like, and think like they do. This post will not address those men’s inner monologues, whatever they may be.
But, if you’re under the age of 45, potentially childless, and have a modicum of money for leisure activities, you might accidentally find yourself on a golf course in a polyester blend polo. Should this happen, you’ll need some tools and tricks to make your afternoon not suck.
Why it’s important to learn how to play golf
Let me be clear — it is in no way necessary that you learn to play golf. Not for your career, not for your relationship with your in-laws, not for your activity levels post-retirement. Billions upon billions of men and women have lived and died on this Earth having never touched a seven-iron. A handful of those people could even be described as “happy”.
However, golf is a tool similar to a cherry pitter (stay with me). You could remove the pit from a cherry using a knife or your mouth, like a normal person, or you can buy a cherry pitter, which makes pitting cherries easier and kind of entertaining.
You don’t need golf to make jr. partner, get 10,000 steps a day, or impress your girlfriend’s father, but it might make achieving these laborious tasks a little more manageable.
How to make golf fun (for less-than-middle-age humans)
Behold, how to make golf fun. Some of these methods employ tools, some require mental strength and agility. Most are legal.
Warning: take stock of who you’re playing with. MDMA will make the putting green feel softer, but shitting your khakis in front of your dad’s church friends will ruin even a sub-80 round.
Make golf fun: Get drunk
I’ll admit, I feel very unoriginal right now. Alcohol has been used by every society since ancient Egypt to add a sticky sparkle to shit-stained lives. The key to golfing drunk is in the timing and amount.
First of all, you’ll probably need to drive home. This means being under the legal BAC limit by the time you wake up from your post-golf, 2-hour car nap. Plus, it’s assumed you won’t get so sloshed that you can’t actually play golf. Swinging and missing is a clear sign to call it a day.
Also, I’m not sure you realize this, but a full round of golf is really long. Like, maybe 4 hours or more. If you binged videos on YouTube for 4 hours, you’d end up a conspiracy theorist.
When you start drinking in the clubhouse, or even on holes 1–3, you’ll probably have a rather cranky and silent back-nine.
Here’s how to do it right:
- Pack a snack (granola bars, twizzlers, etc.)
- Buy 3 high quality beers at the halfway point (IPA or something heavy preferred)
- Drink the first beer at the end of the 10th hole, bask in the empty-stomach buzz
- Drink the second beer slowly on holes 12–13, eating your snack intermittently
- Pound the third beer on 15, and let 17–18 sober you up.
If you do this correctly, you will not embarrass yourself in front of even polite company. It might improve your overall score. Plus, it gives you something to look forward to if your front-nine was shitty.
Other ways to make golf fun
There are other ways to make golf fun, provided you’re at least a little bit good at golf.
But, honestly, consuming alcohol (and other drugs) was my main idea for this post. I’ll still try to mention a few more.
For example, when your round irrevocably falls apart, hunting season begins. That is to say, you’re only shooting for birdies from here out.
What’s a score anyway? This isn’t gym class, you’re not being graded. Have a little fun and swing for the fences. If that doesn’t work, who cares? Everybody gets an 8 every once in a while. You’ve had six of them in a row, but you also have other hobbies and interests, so the sun continues to shine brightly on you.
This activity can also be a great learning experience, bringing your mortal existence into sharp relief.
Here’s the plan: In addition to playing your first ball, play a second one, but throw/roll it. You’ll be amazed at how useless humans are without tools. That par 3 looks super short, but 160 yards is 1.6 football fields.
This exercise will leave you in awe of the importance engineering has had on human development! If you’ve remembered to pack your weed pen, this realization will be even more epic.
I’ll add other ideas as they come to me. Or maybe not, we’ll see.
On the notion of fulfillment
Everyone who’s given golf any real effort knows: it’s not easy.
I suppose some people get off on the concept of self-improvement and observing change slowly over time. The fact that golf is something that you can get better at, even as your vitality wanes like so many grains of sand in the hourglass, is why it’s been a hallmark of the retired class for generations.
It’s hard for younger people to see these advantages — mostly because young people can still share in a good bang — but they’re still there.
If you can experience golf in this way, great. If not, there’s beer.