Depending on the "Golf Fairy".
Golf is played at vastly different levels of expertise and enjoyment. We can call these levels professional, serious amateur, club golfer and occasional golfer.
The professionals can also be divided into the wannabees, the journeymen and the superstars. More about these later. The statistics of how many people play golf are staggering, but at the bottom of the gene pool are the many who only play golf occasionally. These “golfers” do not make it into the official count, but cannot be discounted because they also spend a lot of money on equipment, green fees and travel. They do not belong to the local golf club and certainly do not play every weekend. In their cupboard they have a set of clubs varying from rather old to very good. Any excuse is grasped with both hands to take the clubs out and go and play. Like all golfers they suffer from some delusions. (That is apart from the superstars, whose only delusion is that they will one day win a major or be ranked number one in the world.)
These occasional golfers believe in the "golf fairy". This mystical figure exists only in their mind. At the same time belief in the "golf fairy" is very strong. Occasional golfers believe that this imaginary person will wave her magic wand and turn a really lousy golfer into a better one without the need for many hours of practice. Unfortunately the "golf fairy" normally drops her wand on the first tee box and spends the rest of the round looking for it. Occasionally the occasional golfer catcher a glimpse of this helpless assistant as he looks for his ball in the long grass, far from the fairway.
For the occasional golfer however, there lurks somewhere in their psyche and imagination a belief that one day they will play a really great round of golf. This is in spite of the fact that this wonderful game, that often looks quite easy, is actually unbelievably complex. It needs a high level of eye/hand co-ordination, good muscle control, the touch of a pick pocket, and the mental focus and concentration of an astronaut. Add to this an obscene amount of practice, and the ability to play a vast variety of shots, and a lot of luck, and that round of really good golf may just be possible.
Meanwhile I join the many hundreds of thousands who occasionally pay our fee and tee up with hope in our hearts, the "golf fairy" standing by and disappointment waiting to pounce. It is however possible that somewhere in the round even the most hopeless duffer may hit a really good shot that will live foe ever in their mind and bring them back with hope of another "great shot".
Some advice to my fellow occasionally golf friends:
1. When you play a bad shot, instead of throwing your hands up in agony, hitting the innocent grass on the tee-box and rolling your eyes in amazement, watch carefully where the ball goes. This will avoid you having to add extra shots for losing your ball. Remember you and your ball are locked together in a love hate relationship untill one of you is lost and so you have to make every effort to stay together. Sounds a bit like marriage.
2. Remember Tommy Bolts rule; “one bad shot deserves another!” Don’t following up a bad shot by trying to play a miracle shot that even Phil Mickelson could not pull off. Take your medicine and get your ball back into play by playing a sensible recovery shot. Sensible is not a synonym for an occasional golfer. Delusional is perhaps a better one
3. Take a few hours learning and practicing how to get out of bunkers. Bunkers (sand traps) are put there for occasional golfers because the other golfers are not afraid of them and so almost never end up in them. Occasional golfers are terrified of them and so this fear tightens their muscles and leads to pulled/sliced shots into the sand. Getting out of the bunker is actually not all that difficult if the basics are mastered.
4. Finally, realize that you probably enjoy golf more than any of the other groups mentioned at the beginning of the article because your lively hood or position in the regional team is not at stake if you miss a vital putt. Apart from that, the birdie that you scored on the 3rd hole was a result of a putt of 25 feet that even Tiger Woods or Ernie Els could not have played better. Yes, your second was a duffed 5 wood that rolled 150 meters and bounced over a fairway bunker, but who cares. Even Tiger gets a lucky break occasionally.