I picked up golf in third grade, I think. Maybe fourth—the actual date of inception is hazy. There is no doubt, though, that I began playing seriously when I turned 13, thanks to a series of lessons from my long-suffering father and grandfather. It didn’t start well.
I was sh*t. A whiny kid in denial of his own suckiness, who took out that denial through broken clubs and hurled insults at the unjust Golf Gods1. I hated how bad I was at the game, and I thought my time on the course could be better spent drooling at the high school girls at the pool.
Now, I know I was wrong. Golf is the best sport you will ever pick up. And I’m about to make a case that you should undoubtedly begin playing this summer if you haven’t done so already.
Before we go any further: I promise this won’t be a Rick Reilly golf column2, with its stupid “Isn’t this game crazy?!” anecdotes that cloyingly encourage you to love the sport through thick and thin. Golf is a cruel mother, and you’ll hate it more than you’ll genuinely love it. Mild disgust is a perfectly normal emotion to have during most rounds.
But if you stick with it, the payoff is huge. Here are five reasons why.
1. It’s a lifelong game.
This may come as a shock, but nearly every sport except for golf has a rapidly approaching end date.
Take baseball, a sport with a staggering regression in your life. The baseball diamond of your high school career becomes the intramural fast-pitch softball field of your college years. Which becomes the slow-pitch coed league of your 20s. Which becomes the beer league of your 30s, where the field is littered with guys’ ACLs that have popped off like soda tops. If you’re still playing baseball and can manage to walk when you hit 40, congrats. You’re Omar Visquel.
Golf, on the other hand, requires an infinitesimal amount of exercise. If you’re a decent player, you’re essentially moving your arms in a circle 80 times over a four-hour-period.
And when you use a golf cart? You can easily play ‘till you’re 90, and pooping yourself will the most hazardous injury you can suffer.
2. It gets you into pretty much the only recreation areas left in America.
Across the country, millions of acres of forest and farmland have been been systematically destroyed to create golf courses. If you’re a golfer, this is fantastic news—because, save for a few of the natural parks, there are no prettier places to set foot in the United States. Familiar with the concept of mountaintop removal? It makes for terrific golf courses!
3. Alcohol actually betters your game.
Save for beer pong, in which getting drunk is kind of the point, there’s no other sport that has such a direct correlation between drinking and improved play. Have two or three beers, and the swing is looser. The putts are getting to the hole. Your golf game is as good as your game with the beverage cart girl. (Well, maybe that's a bad example.)
Of course, as with anything drinking-related, there is a limit, and that limit is a bitch. Once a certain magical point is hit, the round is gone, and there’s no going back. That’s when you just try to enjoy the alcohol-soaked day. Which isn't too hard.
4. Your career prospects will improve
This is a douchey reason to pick up a game that should bring you enjoyment, but there is no denying that golf will further your career. Many corporate deals are made over 18-holes (I’m just spitballing here, considering I work at BroBible), and nearly every upper management exec likes to hit the links while their wives get nailed by the country club tennis pro. If you’re a good golfer, you’ll get asked to play when, maybe, your actual performance at the office would say that you shouldn’t be getting rewarded with free rounds. And really, there’s nothing in life quite like unfair rewards.
5. Just hit one perfectly struck long iron.
Trust me. There’s no better feeling in sports.
1Every golf column in history is contained this term, but none have ever defined it. The Golf Gods are henceforth Alister MacKenzie, Old Tom Morris, and Lee Trevino when he passes. Grizzley Adams did have a beard.