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4 kinds of golfers

Updated on May 30, 2012

Golf is played at vastly different levels of expertise and enjoyment. We can call these levels professional, serious amateur, weekend and occasional.

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.)

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 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 and disappointment waiting to pounce.

Some advice to my fellow occasionally golf friends:

1. When you play a bad shot, instead of throwing your hand up in agony and rolling your eyes in amazement, watch carefully where the ball goes. This will avoid you losing 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.

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.

4. Finally, realize that you probably enjoy golf more than any of the other groups 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 Luke Donald 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.


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