Golf - An Addiction

Golf - An Addiction
By Julian Macgregor

Only when you have fallen under the spell of the game of Golf can you appreciate how good players like Jack Nicklaus were, and how much hard work and dedication it must’ve taken him to achieve what he did in the sport.

I started playing golf about 6 years ago when my Girlfriend’s Father asked me to accompany him for nine holes at the local municipal. Having never even held a golf club previously, and having had no interest in the game whatsoever I wasn’t overly keen but I was determined to make a good impression so I duly accepted his offer. Thankfully for both of us he doesn’t offend easily as my language that day can best be described as ‘blue’. So much for the good impression!

That first nine holes was the most frustrating experience of my sporting life, and as is the norm after a first round of Golf I vowed never to play again. Well, six years on I’m well and truly hooked and enjoy a turbulent love-hate relationship with the game. I can honestly say with hand on heart that I can count the number of times I’ve left the golf course satisfied on one hand.

So why bother playing? Because quite simply Golf is an addiction.  Whatever level you play at, whether you’re a 28 handicapper or the world’s top professional, we as golfers, are all addicted to the pursuit of the perfect 18 holes.  And unfortunately most of us will die before we achieve it.

Jack Nicklaus famously said “I never went into a tournament or round of golf thinking I had to beat a certain player. I had to beat the golf course. If I prepared myself for a major, went in focused, and then beat the golf course, the rest took care of itself.”

That is what makes Golf so unique.  The aim of the game is to beat the course laid out in front of you not your opponent, and the only person you can blame for a poor shot is yourself. Of course we all complain of uneven tees, inconsistent greens and dodgy clubs but deep down we all know why the score card says Bogey not Par.

One thing I realised quite early on in my golfing education is that no sport teaches you more about yourself than the game of golf.  It’s a test of mental strength, character, composure and ability to perform under pressure, and it’s this more than any physical challenge on offer that brings people back to the golf course or driving range time after time after time.
I’m the first to admit that I let my emotions get the better of me on the Golf course. I find it very difficult to leave disappointments behind me and I’m prone to fits of golf-rage which of course lead to errors and further self-perpetuating fits of golf-rage.  Each new round brings about fresh promises of calmness and self-control but inevitably a topped iron or sliced drive will prompt the usual downward spiral.

It is with my own short comings in mind that I find professional Golfers so impressive. The mental strength and composure they exhibit under the most intense pressure is staggering.

Jack Nicklaus was the master of both mental strength and course management and remains an inspiration for both professionals and amateurs alike. His ability to read the conditions and play them perfectly was the envy of his rivals. Nicklaus was also known as a conservative player at times, going for broke only when he needed to.  (If only the rest of us could exhibit this sort of restraint).

Nicklaus hung up his clubs professionally in 2005 after The Masters, and now concentrates his efforts and vast experience creating new challenging courses for future generations of golfers to enjoy. Current developments include the impressive Nicklaus Golf Trail collection of courses designed exclusively for Spanish Golf Property Developers Polaris World.

Julian MacGregor is a keen Golfer and owner of a Polaris World Golf property

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