What makes golfers keep playing
I have often said to people I play with that when my average score reaches 85 I’ll give up golf.
Aside from the many snide and humorous remarks like ‘so you are quitting at the end or the season’, and ‘I guess that means you don’t have many games left’ most people rather say ‘no you won’t’.
I guess the question becomes, what is it about golf that gives you enjoyment? Is is shooting a good score, is it the friendship and camaraderie, is it the endless pursuit of par? I suspect it is a very individual thing and in most cases a combination of things that keeps golfers going.
Most golfers are constantly trying to improve their game, but what happens when you reach the stage in your life (and your golf game) where your handicap starts heading in the wrong direction, what keeps you going then?
I recently played with an older fellow (older than me that is) who has been playing golf for over 60 years. He recalled how as a younger man he played a lot of competitive golf and got his handicap down to a low single digit number. Now it hovers around 15. He plays 3 to 4 times a week and still derives great enjoyment from the game. He hits the ball approximately 170 yards off the tee, usually in the middle of the fairway, his approach shots are usually somewhere around the green, he chips reasonably well and two putts a lot. ‘I don’t need much anymore’ he told me one day. A few pars, the odd birdie and shooting his age a least once every week keeps him coming back and enjoying the game.
Then you get the other type of player, the player whose handicap has always been around 20 with no improvement in sight. What is it that keeps them coming back? For some players its becomes all about their net score, especially when there is money on the line. They take great pride and pleasure in taking money from low handicappers on the odd hole with their net par or net birdie.
So what will I do when my average score hits 85. Well, one can never say with certainty what one will do in the future, but because for me the enjoyment of the game is the pursuit of par I suspect that when 85 becomes the number I may well heed the advice of the late Tommy Armour and ‘take two weeks of and then quit’.