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If You Play Golf Recreationally, You Are An Idiot

Phil Mickelson by Peetlesnumber1 is licensed under CC BY SA-4.0

If You Play Golf Recreationally, You Are An Idiot

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes


One of the greatest times of the year for those of us that choose to grab the ole golfin’ sticks and knock the dimpled pill around.  Around here in Indianapolis, the golf season opens up as soon as the warm weather starts peeking its head out for a small frame of time. This typically happens sometime in the middle of March about three hours before a merciless, violet snowstorm comes strutting through to slam that window shut.  

It is one of the main reasons I look forward to spring so much each year.  Of course, I am not breaking any ground or declaring myself the big bad seasonal contrarian by proclaiming my love for spring. But any recreational golfer with the itch to play can tell you the feeling they get when the first tee time is booked.  Getting out on a beautiful windy 54-degree day, the dead yellow grass poking through the melting snow, ready to launch your first high, dying slice with your driver…there’s really nothing like it.

And after the round I played last, I am able to confirm something about myself that I have had an inkling about for a while, and frankly, makes the headline of this article true to at least one person:


Every time I play this sport, I am just living out Phil Connors’ life in Groundhog’s Day.  I hit the same weak, floppy shots that end up in the same tall patches of grass, ricochet off the same trees, and swim in the same fucking tiny ponds.  These ponds wouldn’t even show up on a pie chart comparison of land to water. 

pie chart golf
What’s known in golf as “insurmountable odds”

The courses I typically play in Indianapolis to this day are the same three to four that I have played for 10-15 years.  I have been playing golf recreationally since I was nine years old. So not only should I have gained some understanding of how certain shots I hit will play on a given course, certain pitfalls of a given hole, or generally have some wisdom that my time and money spent will have rendered me over the course of the years.


That is not how it goes at all, and it never has.  Aim left off the tee to allow the natural slice to play? You can bet I’m finally going to fire my hips through and hit the ball straight as an arrow right through the window of that expensive house with the large pool nonsensically lacking a fence around it.  

What’s going to happen when I try and play a high safe pitching wedge to the right side of the green? Bet your ass I’m going to hit a rocket ground ball to the shortstop that falls safely in the lip of the bunker on the left side of the green.  

Got a par putt I don’t want to leave short? Here I go, hitting the ball with a force that couldn’t break an egg. 

And buddy, try telling me to keep my head down–my chin will come flying up like I caught an upswing from Thor’s Hammer.  

In fact, in 20 years, this is the list of improvements I am able to come up with:

  1. My voice is deeper and somewhat less annoying/easier to ignore when I try to explain to the deaf ears of the others in my foursome why my chip from 50 yards resulted in a 20-yard chip for par (CAUGHT THAT ONE FAT GUYS)
  2. I have a 3-iron in my bag that I didn’t have for a while

That’s fucking it.  Two things that have nothing at all to do with actually playing the sport well.

What other activity in your life do you participate in for 20 years that costs a lot of money, takes a lot of time, frequently puts you in a shitty mood, and you never get better at it?  Maybe a particularly shitty brand of sex, or degenerate gambling?

What on earth, after re-living the same maddening experience every time out, could make me excited for this rinse-and-repeat charade?


 I hit this drive on the last hole that you just had to see.  In fact, let me see your hands real quick.  If you hold the club like this, it’ll help yo–

*mimes a golf swing to properly display how to “let your hips work”*

“…and I did end up four putting for double bogey, but I’m still feeling pretty confident. I know I say this a lot, but I think I’m finally turning a corner.”

What a beautiful game.

I cannot wait for my next round.

Indianapolis born and bred, with love dispersed in uneven and shifting portions between the Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Colts, and Atlanta Braves. Believer and ambassador of the phrase "Don't Be a Hero." Often wish I had never gotten into sports while simultaneously proclaiming sports is the greatest thing in life--it doesn't have to make sense but it's true.

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