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Golf: How to Play Properly

By Mr. John Hunt

When you step up to the first tee to start your golf game, do you feel comfortable or do you feel like an actor in an unwilling charade? These people watching don’t really know your hesitations, limitations, reservations. Who wants to be on public display, the centre of attraction, with everyone watching? Can they sense your temerity? Will they gracefully allow you some leeway, knowing full well that COVID kept you off the course for two years? COVID has surely impaired some of the most finely tuned devotees of the frustrating game of golf. The effort, time, money, devotion, sacrifices (of family, work and friendships), demand an honest levelling of the playing field to restore a sense of fair play to a favourite Canadian diversion.

Some necessary changes in the rules would infuse a feeling of friendship, happily replacing frustration with pleasure. The following are some suggested rule changes to enhance pleasantries throughout the day. To begin, every first swing at each hole should be a “mulligan”, a free shot, unless the shot is straight and true. This restores confidence in a sense of satisfaction. Thus giving impetus to the timid to persevere in spite of the well-known frustrations and threats to health and happiness in normal, everyday life. A transformation is on the way. Should an errant shot go in the woods? Allow the shooter to suppose where the ball is, find one (not hard to do in the woods) and play it from the edge of the fairway. This process repeated will eventually, happily, bring the golfer to the green. Also, never count strokes for others- always assume their math, like their personality if truly known, they would agree, is faultless. Most of us can count to ten, either adding or subtracting. Nothing flatters we wobbly humans more than when our other wobbly beings are given credit for an integrity we feel we may not wholly deserve. Still, in this dubious world of snakes and snares,  it is a compliment too rarely bestowed and accordingly highly valued. Thus, a sense of amity of generous humanity is fostered, which is also more welcomed than a fierce competitive attitude, not usually received by our growing humanitarians. Such shows of warmth will now bring the gratified eager shooter back for another round of golf, for we tentative, fragile beings tend to avoid hostilities. Everyone will prefer such warmth because in their own sweet thinking they believe they deserve it, a wise caution in the face of a normally secretive hostile world. The golfer is now enamoured, feeling loved, part of the community, perhaps for the first time ever. Gather 12 or 16 such newly minted philosophers and your merry band of golfers becomes a fixture, perhaps even the one constant in an ever-changing universe. This sense of comfort, of permanence, is not to be discounted and can readily be shunted to the bar, eventually to the dining room. Such felicity must be deemed of great value, as we see a merry band of believers transformed into a troop of crusading loyalists. They will never fail you since their sense of importance is encapsulated, even trapped in a comfort zone that is so gratifying as to be final.

Who says that golf is frustrating? Who complains anymore about lost balls or accurate scores? Be sweet and generous (unlike the world). Forget strict, limiting rules. Remember, above all, to enjoy life and golf. But you must always play “properly”.

A note to all who played this week: Photos from the event will soon be sent to the email of the group leader