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GOLF AND LIFE

Updated on May 10, 2009

Life has often been compared to golf by passionate practitioners of the game. To an extent, any sport or game can be compared to life in a metaphoric sense. But golf, by its basic structure and nature, lends itself almost perfectly to this idea.

Hackneyed as the subject may be, I could not find a hub on it. So, here it is, inviting erudite livers (no pun intended) of life and swingers (ditto) of golf clubs to come and share their views.

Let us start at the beginning of the game. As a player awaits his turn at the first tee, he has time to speculate on how he would like the first shot to go.

If he is nervous or jittery, he would also think of less attractive places in front of him towards which his apathetic ball might prefer to head. He would worry about the future strategy to be employed to overcome a less-than-perfect first shot.

Another player might be of the ever optimistic and high adrenalin variety who thinks of his shot going far and straight, in the centre of the fairway.

And there might be yet another whose mind is calm and relaxed. He does what he has to as he lines up and swings his club, without worry or happiness at the possible outcome of his action.

Is not life so similar? Every person has a mind which comes into play and dominates his actions.

Once that first tee shot has been hit, life's journey has begun. One cannot go back and take that shot over again; one has to press on; walk up towards the ball and find it; hit it as it lies, without any adjustment. In between the shots, one tries to maintain a pleasant demeanor and share in the joy or sorrow of fellow players despite the thinking that goes on inside one’s own head. Each lives his own life, even as we all share a laugh or cry with those close to us.

At the end of the game or of life, the best man might well be the one who had a quiet and calm mind, who did not worry about the past, nor dwelt too much on the future. He had a general idea of where he wanted to go, but concentrated his energies on the task at hand.

Let us look at it in another way. Life is full of repeated successes and failures, hopes and disappointments.

- They are all contained in a finite time frame that has a beginning, middle, and an end. It is a journey from a start point to a finish line.

- We all have our own views and thoughts on how to get to that final destination.

- We all have different ideas of what makes us happy or sad. We all have different expectations.

- Everyone's journey form the beginning to the end is unique, full of different obstacles that we attempt to avoid or conquer with our own individual talents.

Does that sound more like life or more like golf? It is hard to decide.

Bill Clinton once said, “Golf is like life in a lot of ways - all the biggest wounds are self-inflicted” He knew that from personal experience! But even the lesser experienced amongst us will vouch that, despite the best of effort and intention, we will occasionally falter and go wrong somewhere.

Yet, regardless of that wrong shot or wrong action one sometimes achieves an excellent result. And at others, despite an excellent shot or action, pure bad luck prevails and lands us in trouble. Destiny or fate plays the same role in golf as it does in life.

Jim Corbett, popularly called “Mr Golf Etiquette,” said that golf is like life in three specific ways:

- Even though we know what to do and we know, more or less, how to do it, it is still very easy to screw it up.

- We keep making the same mistakes over and over.

- It's easier to see the mistakes that other people are making than it is to see the ones that you are making.

Despite the company, the socializing and the competition, golf is a fairly solitary endeavor. Most sports have opponents or opposing teams who win by fighting and trying to defeat the other. In golf each person plays his own game. There are challenges but they are the ones presented by the course, not by an opponent. Life is so similar. Others might affect us but, for the most part, it is for each of us to do what we will with our lives.

A smarty-pants once said that to play a game of golf or to live life, one component is essential: You have got to have the balls for it.

There are some who regard golf and life as just plain fun: A walk around the park, knocking a few balls around as you go. However, neither is like that. Not for long at least. And, even during the short periods when it is, it’s advisable not to have one’s balls knocked around!

Let me conclude by asking a contrary question: How is golf different from life? In one way, I know for sure it is. Golf has a final hole, called the nineteenth, where golfers converge after the game to have a drink or two, and share a few laughs. Life too, has a final hole to which its players retire, but this is a lonely and quiet little place: It’s called a grave.

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    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you Storyteller for the greetings and good wishes, and for rereading and re-appreciating this hub. That made me reread it too, but I don't think I did a good job at all ...

      Thank you even more, Storyteller, for being a real genuine friend. I've never thought of you as being too far away. Reminds me of words from that old book (mid 1970s?) by Richard Bach, There's No Such Place As Far Away: Miles cannot separate you from friends. If you want to be with your friend, then you are already there...

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Jaspal, I am rereading this in honor of your 57th birthday! YOU are now living your year of grace!!! It is a time of much philosophizing; a time to celebrate what is good and to tweak what is not so good.

      We have been friends for over a year now. Is that amazing? You in India and me in the U.S. have found our lives worth sharing. When through out history has this been possible in similar fashion?

      I LOVE this hub. Rereading it has generated even more respect for you, the writer. I hope this year you honor us with more. Your insights are deep and poetic.

      You said,

      "At the end of the game or of life, the best man might well be the one who had a quiet and calm mind, who did not worry about the past, nor dwelt too much on the future. He had a general idea of where he wanted to go, but concentrated his energies on the task at hand."

      I can hear your voice speaking this even though we have never met.

      And so wise friend discovered through modern technology, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JASPAL, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you for your comment Peg. No, I am not much of a philosopher .... just get philosophic at times. Am sure you understand what I mean! :)

      You seem to be the sort of person who is cut out just right for golf. Pity you only played a round once. You should get on the practice range and on to the course. I think you will really love the game.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Jaspal, You're quite the philosopher! I love the analogy of golf and life. Never quite thought of the nineteenth hole in the same way as you illustrated. Good comparison there.

      I've played golf only once but could see immediately why it would be such a popular sport. The walk-about, the scenery, the competition, the swearing, all good fun!

      Am hoping you'll write about your experiences in the military as that would be quite an insight as well!

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks once again Jyoti .... lolol, yes one of the many pending tasks is to write out a profile... :)

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 7 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Jaspal,

      You are selected for Hubbers India. Please post something about you in your profile page so that that can be linked to.

      Thanks,

      Jyoti Kothari

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Golf courses always look so berautiful - but I'm afraid that's not enough to lure me into playing the game! Loved your juxtaposition of the 19th hole and the grave - clever tghat!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you Rohit. Glad you liked them. They are from two courses: ITC Classic Golf Resort outside Delhi, India, and Moorpark Golf Club, LA, CA, USA.

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      Rohit 7 years ago

      Very nice pictures - which course is this?

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for reading Helen. I had a good laugh reading your comment. Isn't golf great for improving one's vaocabulary? Swearing is an integral part of the game and we all indulge in it to some extent. Some people swear under their breath, while others can be heard by nearby groups. Some of the really fun players I have played with would put a sailor to shame with their choice of words.

      Hope you have some good golf in Portugal! :)

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 8 years ago from UK

      your love of the most frustrating game in the world is clear to see. I tried this for a few months and my language became so bad I had to give up. On saying this we are off to portugal soon where golf is a must. Great hub.

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Glad you liked it Prasetio.

      Unfortunately, golf equipment is indeed expensive. But as a beginer, you should pick up either a used set or a new one of Chinese make - both would be inexpensive and yet good enough for the first two years or so by when you would be sure how much you like the game. By then your game would also have come up to a level where you could think of selling of your old set and investing in a better one.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks for share and great picture.But for me golf is expensive sport. Not all of us can play and have a chance to play this sport. But I'll try it someday.

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Housedad: Thank you for reading. Great minds think alike, what? And, you do have a point about being able to practice at golf!

      Asianvato: Glad you enjoyed the hub and that it tickled your gray matter!

    • asianvato profile image

      asianvato 8 years ago

      Interesting hub. You got me thinking.

    • housedad profile image

      housedad 8 years ago from New York

      Well played Jaspal. ~!~ Great capture of a long held idea ...

      Of course, one can practice at golf ... :)

      jfx

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for reading, Storytellersrus. Am glad you liked it. I don't think you are a golfer, but having seen your profile, I can tell you have the right attitude and all the makings of one who would really enjoy the game .... :)

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Nice. So philosophical and poetic. Even funny. I loved the quotes as well as the metaphor.

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you for the nice comment, Sujatha - glad you enjoyed reading this one. Sorry for the delay in responding ... I don't think I got one of those automated emails informing me about your comment.

      The 19th hole is always great, and I mean the one on the golf course! :p

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      Sujatha 8 years ago

      "Golf is like life in a lot of ways - all the biggest wounds are self-inflicted” Worth a lot of thought, Jas.

      Loved reading and ruminating :-) Lovey analogy

      The 19th hole in life to me is perhaps the best place to head for and can only lead to a much better start :-) in another life.

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Oh yes Naïve ... Dewey was bang on target! And, he also said that arriving at one goal is the starting point to another ... which is so true in life and during the game as one completes one hole and moves to the next. :)

    • naive_nomad profile image

      naive_nomad 8 years ago

      Without some goals and some efforts to reach it, no man can live. And golf truly epitomises John Dewey's words so well. Written with a philosophical insight Jaspal, truly beautiful. Keep up the good work. :)

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Buddy, you couldn't be more right about the different balls. But the ball game is pretty similar in both! :)

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      Ravi 8 years ago

      Chief, really going at it thick and fast, I see. You are almost proving the nib is the nub of the hub, or is it golf club ??..life and golf--two different ball games, na ? Good piece, though..

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I do hope you are right Rash! I look forward to meeting up with the Old Man and a few drinks with Him from that Cup of Peace :)

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you Uma ... I am not much of a movies guy ... but this one has been recommended earlier too ... I will certainly pick up the dvd and watch it.

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      Rashmi 8 years ago

      Beautiful analogy Jas!...and the ninteenth hole of life is not the grave, but that wonderful time when you finally meet the Creator and drink the serene Cup of Peace...:-)

    • profile image

      Uma 8 years ago

      Golf and life? Of course.. is there anything not reflecting life???

      Check out this movie.

      "The Legend of Bagger Vance"

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you Ravin. Your comment reminds me of a favourite quote by Grantland Rice:

      For when the One Great Scorer comes

      To write against your name,

      He marks - not that you won or lost -

      But how you played the game.

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      As always, how very right you are, Sally. And you have explained it so well. I suspect there is as much wisdom as the more materialistic type of treasure hidden in that trove.... :)

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks Mini ... you really should start. Sooner the better!

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Yes, PhoenixRitu, most games are like life in some ways or the other, but golf is probably most so - for the reasons I've tried to explain. :)

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      Ravin 8 years ago

      Hi Jaspal, just loved the whole write up :-) and its so true, life is but a game ;-)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      The 19th hole and the grave could be more alike than different, as some may look at them as transition points between what was and what is to be, the places from which the challenge is to come back an even better player, in golf or in the next life. Another thumbs up for you, Jaspal!

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      Phoenixritu 8 years ago

      Nice one Jaspal, but isn't the analogy true of any game, and life is but a game .....

    • profile image

      Minilady 8 years ago

      Nice to see another hub Jaspal! I would never have thought golf and life have similarities!!! Maybe I need to be serious about starting the game!

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Lolol, there has to be an exception to every rule. And for this one cat, I'd even open the door .... :)

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      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      Hehe...and you wouldn't advise such short cuts would you? Either in life or golf? :P

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Well said Feline. And guess what? I do know one lazy but rather smart cat who would skip the first 18 and head straight to the 19th hole! :p

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      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      That is so profound! Of course some might think it's hard enough living life without trying to emulate it through golf, that tempting nineteenth hole notwithstanding! :)

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you Mann. :)

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks Di .... yes, excepting the first one, the pics are mine - though not of me!

      Haha ... getting nobbed on the head!! That's why you have to remember it's not a park where one takes a walk while knocking around a few balls! :p

      Was that "nobbing" at the US Club in Bombay? :)

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      Mann 8 years ago

      Very well said dear :-)

    • dianacharles profile image

      dianacharles 8 years ago from India

      Nice hub Jas. Are those your own pictures? I am not such a great fan of golf, being nobbed on the head a couple of times because I took my evening walks across the golf course :P

      I know you enjoy the nineteenth hole...the golf one, ie. Who knows maybe the 19th hole of life aint so quiet and lonely...that is why so few of them come back to visit the living.

    • Jaspal profile image
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      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks sunshine ... and when may one look forward to seeing you on the course? ;)

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      sunshine1 8 years ago

      cool! I think i would be a regular here :)