Throughout my life, I have played a wide variety of sports ranging from individual sports such as wrestling, tennis and track and field to team sports such as basketball, baseball, softball, flag football and volleyball. Surprisingly, none of these sports compares to the toughest sport that I have ever played and that would be golf, yes golf!! You would think that some sport which involves just hitting some little white ball around some well manicured piece of property would not be that difficult, but it has given me fits ever since I started to play.
Sure there are other sports that are far more demanding on the body and involve a great deal more athletic ability. However, I have not played a sport which combines a greater combination of skill level and mental toughness than golf. Many top-notch athletes from other sports get easily humbled when they first step onto a golf course. Playing good golf involves more just hitting the ball a country mile. There are shots from all kinds of lengths that you have to master. A lot of golfers can hit long straight drives only to hit their short approach well off-line. And of course, you have putting which is a whole different skill in itself. About 2/3 of all shots in golf come from within 100 yards of the pin. Hitting shots from those distances requires a very unique set of skills that very few sports require.
I think what really separates golf from other sports that I play or have played is the mental aspect of the sport. It is by far, the most nerve-racking sport that I have ever been involved with. A few weeks ago, I decided to play in a golf tournament and see how I could do against other players from my club. To my surprise, I played much better than expected and found myself near the top of the leaderboard. “Hey, I can win this tournament” was my thought going into the last round. That is when the pressure really started to mount. I knew that one bad shot could cost me the tournament. My heart was racing on every shot. Unfortunately, I came up a few shots short from winning but it was an experience that I will never forget. Never have I experienced that type of pressure in a sporting event. I have played in many basketball games and not felt that type of pressure. All sports involve some degree of pressure in competition, but I will put golf up against any sport.
In some ways, playing golf has helped me succeed in other sports as well as life in general. One of the greatest things about golf is that it teaches you how to deal with adversity. If I happen to make a mistake at work, I look at it like I would if I were on the golf course. I just bogeyed a hole and need to forget about it and move on. When I play other sports, golf has taught me how to concentrate, especially under pressure.
If anyone out there wants to try a challenging new hobby and sport, golf might be the sport for you. Believe me, you will be challenged. Several years ago, I decided to give this sport a try thinking that it would be a breeze. It was a very humbling experience at first. Old senior citizens were kicking my butt!! But I was determined to get better and soon after I became hooked on golf. Funny how a sport that seems so simple can be so difficult. Of all the sports that I have played in my life, golf required the least athletic ability, yet for me was the toughest to master, go figure!!