While it's true that I still have no golf game, I really want to earn one. Last summer, I played for practical reasons--I knew that in law, and particularly at the firm where I worked, knowing how to golf was a good career move. Once school started, I stopped golfing because studying seemed much more important, career-wise, than working on my golf game.
But this summer, I'm enjoying golf for its own sake. I'm sore from the all-day 18-hole gorgeous PGA course on the ocean experience that the firm sponsored for the summers--it was a fabulous experience for which I am very thankful. Despite the soreness, I have a tee time for Sunday, and I'm looking forward to it. I want to go back because I want to feel that great feeling when you hit the ball well--it's addictive. I also love the sun, the way my back feels creaky and well-used after a long day of golf, the conversations with friends, and the lack of time pressure.
But more importantly, I've realized that one of the best reasons why golf is a great game is because it sits in the middle ground between so many types of people.
Indoors v. Outdoors:
Outdoorsy types get the sun and the walk and the view. Indoorsy types get the civilized tamed-down nature. The alternative is hiking, camping, etc. where the indoorsy would not attend, or indoor activities, where the outdoorsy would feel closed in.
Drinkers vs. Non-drinkers:
In your personal social life, you can choose the presence or absence of alcohol, but not so for activities where your attendance is required for other reasons. In my experience, more company/firm social activities cater to drinkers than to the non-drinkers. I've heard negative comments by the drinkers about people not drinking at cocktail parties or open bars (as in, why did they even come?). I've heard complaints from people who prefer to drink that it makes no sense for alcohol to not be allowed at family-friendly company activities. And, I've heard gripes by non-drinkers because the company was sponsoring yet another alcohol-soaked activity. Too often, the presence or lack of alcohol sets the tone for the event and alienates people belonging to the unrepresented group.
Golf deals with this problem quite well--the focus of golfing is golf. The secondary focus is the socializing between the people playing golf. People who prefer to drink and/or smoke when they socialize can do so at the golf course with no fear of people considering it uncouth. People who prefer to abstain can do so without any remarks to that effect. (On a slightly related note, having someone ask me if I wanted the remainder of my wine in a "to-go" cup when I decided to leave the clubhouse before my wine was finished was a VERY odd experience. Who does that?)
Jocks vs. Geeks:
Golf is equally a mental and physical activity--it caters to both athletic types and cerebral types. People who like their leisure activities to be athletic can practice for hours, swing with power, hit hundreds of balls before playing the course, carry their own clubs, and/or walk the entire course. People who prefer not to sweat don't have to warm up, can take only the required number of swings to finish the course, can play a finesse-based game without much effort, and can ride in the carts and stay in the shade. People who prefer mental puzzles can spend infinite time analyzing the wind, the greens, the clubs, and the swing.
I could go on about the balance between team players and soloists, competitive and social players, and those who play by skill and those who play by luck. But I'll stop.
I just thought I'd give you all a warning. Golf may be showing up on this blog quite a bit more often. I may have to add it to my description on the left corner. I suck, but I like it and I imagine with practice I'll get better. Wish me luck.