man people woman hand
0 7 mins 3 yrs

First up a confession. I only play golf on days ending in ‘y’. In light of this revelation, what are the things that I hate about golf? Beginning from the external factors and moving inward I would say that I dislike the fact that so many golfers dress the same. I am suspicious of uniforms more generally and wonder what people are hiding beneath their desire to dress up in a uniform. Look at priests and ministers of religion for keen examples of individuals that hide their humanity behind their uniforms. In the case of golfers, many of us wear the same kind of baseball cap. In defence of this, this style of hat with a long brim over the nose protects golfer’s faces from the harmful rays of the sun.

What I hate about golf is the somewhat robotic appearance of all these similarly dressed golfers doing the same thing on any given day.

man walking carrying black and red golf bag on green grass field
Photo by Jopwell on

More Golf Hates

What else do I hate about golf? Well, when I first started playing competitive golf the fact that I had to keep my own score struck me as strange. I suppose after years of participating in team sports, where all the scoring is handled by officials, I felt like I had to be an accountant in addition to playing the game. After many years of golfing I now take my scoring duties with the appropriate care and diligence because as we all know the devil is in the detail when it comes to golf.

Another thing that I could do without in the game of golf is the excessive amount of rules, many of them designed to make the game as difficult as possible it seems.

There have been modifications to the rules in recent years, which have simplified and sped up play. In reality and on close inspection you will find that many golfers do not actually know all the rules and play their own version of them anyway, as they see fit.

Love and Hate Factors in Golf

On deeper examination I find that some of the things that I hate about golf are also those attributes I love about the game. The fact that the golf swing is so process orientated frustrates me a lot, especially when I am unable to correctly sequence the movements and timing. We live in an instant world in the 21C, where computers provide instantaneous results to our searches online. After a day in front of screens I am a frustrated mess on the driving range because I am swinging too fast and expecting instant results. Doing golf is like a return to the stone age and I have to consciously slow myself down to meet the challenges of swinging an ancient tool. The materials and design of clubs within the strict parameters of golf’s governing bodies may be high tech but the overall concept of hitting a small ball with a stick is ancient indeed. However, this same demand is completely engrossing during a game of golf and frees one from the stressors of life outside of the links. Golf is a meditation.

man in gray polo shirt and pants playing golf
Photo by Patrick Case on

Golf’s Eastern Appeal & Qualities

Golf’s appeal to the eastern psyche and cultural flavour is apparent in the game’s popularity with so many Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, and Asians more generally. The grace of the proficient golfer reminds me of cliches like Zen and the art of archery. I suppose the external appearance of the uniform nature of golfers sits well with the Asian flavour, where greater subtlety resides. The stationary quality of the golf ball prior to being struck has a mystical feel about it as well. The small sphere being launched vast distances through the air or nonchalantly rolled across a manicured green have surreal elements about them. Golf is a game of paradoxes. There is to the casual observer a lot of nothing much happening in between shots and holes. There is a large amount of apparent calm on the surface. Underneath, however, inside the golfer there is often a torrent of emotion simmering. The missed opportunities on the putting green. The poorly executed swing which sends the golf ball into serious trouble like water and the dark rough. I am reminded of another cliché about the duck gliding on the surface of the pond but underneath its legs are furiously paddling. The golfer is similarly inclined whilst attempting to navigate her or his way around the course in the least number of shots. I suppose I love this aspect about golf.

The length of the game is another pet hate of mine, when it comes to golf. Competitive rounds lasting nearly 5 hours are excessive in my view. I am a quick player, perhaps too quick for my own good, but waiting endlessly on every tee bugs me. Golf is a marathon rather than a sprint, or, even, a middle distance event. Eighteen holes is probably too many in my opinion. I think that twelve holes would be a better fit in terms of time allocated to the game and for optimal performance.

High handicappers not bothering to mark their balls on the green is another annoyance during a competitive round of golf. Too lazy and too ignorant to understand its effect upon the putting process for their fellow players. This kind of thing, then, spreads by example to new members starting out in the game.

Of course, the thing I hate most about golf is my own inept performance and failure to master the game. The few things I have listed above are minor quibbles easily put up with when I am playing well. The challenging nature of the game itself is what I most love and hate about golf. It is why so many of us obsessively apply ourselves to golfing. It is why we front up week after week, year after year. That is the thing about golf, it challenges all of us to compete and to strive to improve.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *