May 18, 2016
Few “leisure” activities are as volatile and polarizing as the game of golf. It can turn from joyous to embarrassing and infuriating in the blink of an eye, even for the most patient and loyal participants. Recently, though, it’s been a lopsided affair, with a series of events hindering the game’s prospects for future growth.
Golf is returning to the Olympics this summer for the first time since 1904 — but its biggest names have dropped out one after one, with the latest defiantly saying that he won’t even watch, instead choosing to focus on other events – “the stuff that matters.”
In the same breath, there was a petulant refusal to help “grow the game” as it continues to face significant decline.
Far more damaging than any one player’s attitude, however, has been the game’s collective, old-fashioned snobbery as it resists change and subjectively enforces its rules by the letter of the law. Just last month, golf’s governing body threatened to ruin the U.S. Open – its own signature event – by assessing a preposterous penalty stroke to the eventual champion in a move that spurred social media uproar among players:
Yet despite all the recent harm, few “leisure” activities continue to do more good in teaching one a thing or two about him- or herself than golf. It’s not always “fun,” but the lessons learned extend far beyond the game:
Today, while golf’s oldest and most esteemed tournament gets underway at The Open, the game will be fixed on bettering itself and its players for tomorrow.
Get out and play, you’ll be better off for it.