Many times I have heard: "Golf is the most addictive sport!" This is probably because it somehow manages to draw players back to the course whether they have just finished a fabulous day with a high score or clunked to the end of a frustrating round. I have witnessed people bunking their office work to play a friendly round and myself have had sleepless nights before big tournaments. These all testify to the sport's allure and challenge.
Interact with seasoned golfers and soon you will be astounded by their dedication and keenness for the sport. Golf is probably one of the few sports where you will find almost equal enthusiasm and dedication among hardcore players and novices, excluding of course the pros who earn millions of dollars yearly just for swinging the club.
"Hey, today I hit about 25 balls that flew over 100 yards," one beginner says to the other. "I got 4 birdies and drove 290 on one of the par 5s," says another, so amazed and excited at his performance that he wants to spread the news far and wide. Believe me, if there wasn't this sort of competition among players, golf wouldn't be so much fun.
Conversely, you will see golfers heading for the practice range or taking lessons after a bad round. Their eagerness to correct their swing overwhelms all other priorities.
As a professional, I am truly impressed and fascinated by the dedication and keenness of one novice who has been working in Nepal for the last eight years, Ranjith Shetty. I recently caught up with him over a cup of coffee and gleaned some reflections"
Deepak - What do you like most about golf?
Ranjith - First, in golf you play against the course and yourself. In other sports you play against the opponent. Golf takes out a lot of stress as I work 13-14 hours a day, and it gives me an opportunity to get out of the boardroom and take some exercise. On top of that, the aesthetic beauty and natural surroundings of a golf course are simply enthralling.
Is golf addictive?
Yes very much. You know, two weeks back I got up at midnight and started swinging the club. I always look for an opportunity to play and I don't miss a round on Saturdays. The ecstasy that a good shot provides is amazing. Apart from being addictive, golf teaches a great work ethic because you can't improve without hard work.
Any suggestions for newcomers?
Being a newcomer I feel that we should not get frustrated over errant shots. Learning golf requires patience. Practice diligently and take regular lessons from a trained golf professional. And remember to enjoy the lush green surroundings and memorize only your good shots.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Golf Director at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. [email protected]