Why I love golf: some things to reflect on this Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving across the pond today, and a lot of you will be enjoying fabulous food, with glorious pumpkin pies, turkey, and all the other mouth-watering delights that go with the traditional feast. I’m told by my American friends that deep-fried turkey is the best possible way to cook  the meat, though I’m yet to try it for myself!

A lot of people today will be gathering around their dining table thinking about all the things they have to be thankful for in their life. Friends, family, good health, and a multitude of other blessings. Well, I was reading an interesting piece in Golf Monthly about what golf teaches you to be thankful for, and it made me think about the sorts of things I love about this great game we all enjoy.

Now, while it was an enjoyable piece I linked to there, some of the things it brought up were a bit predictable. Friends and family, fresh air, the ability to learn – they’re not bad things, not by any means – but I wanted to see if I could challenge myself to come up with some different choices. A deeper look at some of the things I’m personally thankful for when it comes to my golf.

We all know golf can be frustrating  - but it can also be a truly beautiful experience.

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The peace and quiet

Yes, if things go wrong, you can feel your blood boiling. But think about a golf course for a moment. Doesn’t the mere thought of the undulating fairways and pretty trees make you peaceful? What about the breeze on your face, the chirrup of birds around you? The moment where you’re lined up, ready to take your shot, and everything slows down until it’s you and the ball.

It’s almost meditation, and there’s definitely something magical about that moment. No matter what I’ve got going on in my life, no matter how stressful things are at work, all of that goes out of the window for a few precious moments every time I line up to swing my golf club. That’s pretty special, and worth being thankful for.

The satisfaction of dedication

What do I mean by this? Well, it’s pretty simple. Golf is something that takes a lot of time, especially if you want to work towards any sort of success on the course. I know I think about it a lot even when I’m not practicing, going over shots that went wrong and how I might better approach them next time.

I’ve spent countless hours on the driving range just working on tiny things to perfect my swing, and even tried visualizing entire holes at a time so that when I step onto the course, I’m prepared. There are all these aspects that go towards making your round of golf a good one. With determination, with practice, you can achieve goals you never thought were possible, and that’s something truly satisfying.

There's nothing like a game that brings all your friends together.

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Measuring stick memories

I was thinking what it was, specifically, about friendship and golf that makes me most thankful, and the answer that stared me right in the face was the memories. The friends I play golf with, we have played so many games together that the memories become measuring sticks of our friendship. Each shot is a reference point, an in-joke, a photo of a specific time in a specific place that will always be there.

Each shot and each game is something that ties us all together. Years from now, and even if I stop playing this game altogether, I know I’ll be able to look back on those moments with the same fondness I do now. The banter that goes with those memories, the shared humiliation and bragging and glory, underlines so much about who we are. We’ve really got quite a lot to be thankful for with golf, haven’t we?

Giving me something to strive for

Everyone needs a hobby. Let’s face it, that’s a simple fact. Whether it’s collecting model planes, playing chess, walking in the woods, running marathons, or suiting up every Sunday to kick a ball around, it’s good to have something to look forward to; something more than just work and food and TV.

And one of the best things about golf? You can always get better. Even the pros are always striving for yet more perfection. Every shot, every swing, every green analysis can always be just a little bit better, a little bit smoother, a little bit more accurate. You are given a number, and you are always trying to lower it, and this is something that hangs over you every time you step out onto the course.

And having that driving force – that need to improve, is a good thing. Not just on the golf course, but in life.

What are you thankful for when it comes to your golf? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you on this.

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