Last year at the age of 33, I decided it was time to say so long to playing alongside 20 year old guys in flag football leagues and felt equally out of place on a recreational softball team with 50 year old men and women who cared more about where they were headed to after the game instead of the actual on field festivities.
So with that, I turned my attention to golf.
I know a few people that are a few years older than me that play. They're all successful, smart guys who assure me that golf is the happy medium between being the odd man out on youth football teams and too young and healthy for beer softball squads.
Of course, golf isn't something, like softball or football, that can be learned after a few tries. Golf is precision meeting patience and practice. Golfing takes years to master, but I wasn't interested in being on the PGA Tour any time soon.
The decision to take up golf was more about going out to the greens, enjoying the sunshine and camaraderie of my friends and honestly doing the best I can. That mentality probably seemed on par, given my initial skill level and subsequent equipment. Yes, I was the guy on the greens that had his grandfather's old clubs from the 1970s that were too short for my frame and too old to show off to anyone else.
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But all that didn't matter, it was time to start a new sports chapter. It was time to golf.
Then, I realized something that I didn't expect to as I began my forage into finding a lower key activity to consume my free time.
Golf isn't just hard; it's stressful, too.
Being someone who has always played sports and is remarkably competitive, I picked up the game fairly fast and didn't necessarily embarrass myself initially. As I got better, bought new clubs and really tried to hone my game, I began to agonize over every shot, curse my clubs when they failed me and rarely relished that summertime weather.
I left the course exhausted, mentally and physically, to the point that I questioned exactly why people told me that golf is a great game to take up as you get older. After last season of golfing, I felt like I was actually ready for that softball team after all.
Turns out, I wasn't alone with how golfing made me feel.
Plenty of studies have been done that determined golfers actually feel more fatigued golfing than other, less arduous sports. As someone who loves the competition of sports, it would be hard for me to take on a who cares mentality.
But, that's exactly what experts suggest you do when it comes to hitting the links and languishing over every tee shot or fairway blasts that slices into a field of bushes. Overcoming golf as a stress point isn't so much about the game as it is the player needing to treat it more like a hobby in the same vein as building model cars rather than an intense, make or break sport that causes more harm than good.
Quelling that competitive nature takes almost as much practice as golf itself. In the end, there's no prize money involved, and no television camera following you around from one hole to the next.
Once you start getting the bigger picture as far as why you took up the sport to begin with, the sooner you'll be on par with the positives of playing golf.
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