Wednesday

Golf in an Economic Downturn - The Fun Factor
























I've always been thought of as very athletic, because of my natural physical ...attributes... like strength and endurance.

Growing up, my Dad, a phys-ed teacher and coach, pushed me to do every possible sport...to no avail. Because what I don't have is the "competitive gene".

I've always hated competition (waiting on the starting blocks at swim meets for the gun to go off is my absolute worst childhood memory). I never felt motivated to be "first". So I never was. I did OK with gymnastics, and I made the field hockey and basketball teams, but that was more for the social aspect, Unlike some of my teammates, I was never really into the competition part.

I loved cycling, by myself, and later rollerblading, scuba diving, rock climbing, snowboarding... outdoor physical activities that were not competitive. I could just never get excited by the idea of "being the best" or "beating the rest".

And I think that's a genetic thing, an inborn temperament. I suspect lots of parents make a mistake here. They sense their child's physical ability but don't sense his/her competitive spirit (or lack thereof) and everyone ends up disappointed and frustrated. When star athletes aren't spawned from ...all those expensive lessons...it's a letdown. Doing the sport "just for fun" doesn't quite cut it.

Often, at a party or social gathering, I'll find myself talking gushing about golf, and some guy will say to me "I wish my wife played golf" and when I tell him he should buy her some lessons and a set of clubs, he'll inevitably say. "Oh no, that would never work, she's not athletic like you are - she'd never be able to learn."

And that's the thing; I think what these guys are actually thinking is; she'd never be compelled to excel, or to be No.1 so why bother.

And, they just write it off...their wives do too, because the perception among many is that golf is not worth playing "just for fun". And that's where I'm trying to change some attitudes. I love golf, even though I'm not good...at all. I work on my game with lessons and at the range, but I'm just not desperate to improve, I'm much more about the fun factor.

I'm really convinced that this philosophy needs to be accepted ...and even embraced...if we want this game...and the courses, instructors, manufacturers and tournaments... to survive and thrive, this economic downturn. Because quite frankly, the vast majority of us humans, no matter how "athletic" we may be, will never be excellent at golf. But we sure can have fun with it, and that's how we'll grow this game.