Hardly Difficult: I Should Have Been a Golfer

Nick LiljaCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2008

This is an oldie, but given the change of season, needed to be brought out of retirement because I knew it was going to rain today. My ankle told me. My knees agreed.

Athletics will do that to a person. Athletes with reconstructed knees, ankles, wrists and elbows know. They felt it too. The aches and pains don’t go away, people just eventually learn how to manipulate them. Achey back? It’s going to rain tomorrow. Sore elbow? Rainy weather is on its way.

That’s why I should been a golfer. It’s not that golfing isn’t difficult, but with golf you don’t end up with joints that think they are meteorologists.

Golf is easy on the body and hard on the mind. I wish my parents had bought me a set a clubs, not a pair of running shoes or a basketball. Golf is a game played at a walk. Not even at a light jog for these guys. Speed up? Good luck. Your partner is looking at a downhill lie on the edge of the green. You shouldn’t even be moving. Let alone, breathing heavily.

In baseball players earn the right to walk by working the count. Basketball players walk but only at the end of the game when they have the lead. Football players rarely walk. Water break? Jog is out. Hit the showers? Jog it out. They even jog to the line of scrimmage before every play.

Runners hate walking. Walking is criminal. Walking to a runner is like running to a golfer. Tell any golfer to run on a course and they will look at you like a cow looks at an oncoming train. Ask any runner to walk and they will leave you in the dust.

Golf is a game for gentlemen often played by guys who get too caught up in perfection. Gymnasts without the muscle. A guy who had a “terrible day” ended five or six over. And they’ll blame the wind. If any run-of-the-mill golfer went out and shot six over on 18, they’d buy a round in the clubhouse.

“Rough” doesn’t describe scabs or the nickname of an opponent but grass that’s mowed down like a front yard instead of Astroturf. While football players hate flags, golfers aim for them.

There is no bleeding in golf unless you pop a blister or get stung by a bee. Golfers don’t need medical attention between holes. Broken wrists and torn ACL’s aren’t common or even rare. No golfer has ever been carried off the course on a stretcher because he didn’t see an opponent coming or changed direction to quick. There are no Willis McGahee’s in Golf.

Golf has no defense except for a lake and a beach with a tree. Some people call that vacation. The entire campus wouldn’t mind spending an afternoon there – especially with this weather. But golfers spend their time avoiding them, deeming them “hazards,” how good are their lives? If you asked a random passer-by on the street if they try to avoid a lake and a beach, they’d look at you like you were crazy.

But golf is taxing on the mind. You’ve never met a more confused individual than a golfer at 300 yards from the pin facing a stiff breeze with a water hazard. You might as well ask them to prove Bernoulli’s principle. Or divide by pi.

As Robin Williams once said, they call it stroke for a reason, “Because every time you miss, you feel like you’re going to f—ing die”

Most people feel like they are going to die after a long day at work or a long night on Broadway. Golfers do this for fun, every week. And they don’t do it just once, but for an entire weekend.

Most people get tired of golfing after nine holes. They’ve had enough. If their 3-wood isn’t slicing like a pizza place, it’s hooking. Their 7-iron has spent the last two hours scalping the ball of its dots. And their putter – they don’t want to talk about it. If they knew that no one was looking on the 7th green, they would have picked the ball up and thrown it into the hole.

But, golfers just take it all in stride.

So, even though the last time a golfer collapsed on the field of competition it was John Daly from eating too many ribs, don’t get it twisted. They aren’t Vince Young, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take a beating.

Besides, could you go into the wind, at a dog-leg, 280 yards from a green that slopes away without losing two balls and decapitating a grove of bushes? Don’t forget that beach to the left and a lake to the right. They’re hazardous.