What so Great about Golf Anyway?

I was talking to an acquaintance recently and he was selling some stuff, which included his golf bag and clubs. As we were talking, he suddenly blurted out, “What so great about Golf anyway? Sorry, (he apologises to me, knowing I Gilagolf) but I find the game so stupid and boring, where you hit the ball, chase it and hit the ball and chase it”

Knowing that he’s a guy that liked cooking (and spending God knows how many hours cooking some french stuff then posting it on Facebook), I said philosophically, “It’s like cooking. I find it boring as well, because I suck at it.” Implying because he sucked so bad at golf, he immediately dismisses it as a stupid game. It’s like the fox that can’t get the grapes and he mutters that the grapes are sour anyway (I guess there’s where the term sour grapes come from?). I didn’t mean it as an insult, just a very easy way to say, “People don’t understand stuff because they are either crap at it, or they don’t bother to expend effort in it, and therefore dismisses it.”

Of course, he immediately retorts back that without food I won’t be alive, to which I responded, whoever cooks, someone must eat, so I am the guy that eats it. Besides, I don’t like those frenchy food anyway where the plate is like 15x bigger than the actual food. Give me chow kueh teow, dammit! Here’s what I learnt: it’s useless saying to a self proclaimed chef (and we have many these days) that cooking is a waste of time, like how you tell a self proclaimed ‘golfer’, golf is a waste of time. To me, any food that requires more effort to make than to eat is worthless. It’s like the popiah theory. You spend so long making the damn popiah, and you just finish it in one bite. Or the crab/prawn theory. You spend so long peeling the skin of the prawn or hammering the claw of the crab just to get the little meat…sheesh, it’s just not worth it! Cost benefit analysis, people!

Anyway, back to Golf. Why do Golfers like it anyway? I guess, like many sports, it fulfills our 4 happy chemicals:

1) Dopamine

Dopamine  is the human chemical responsible for releasing good feelings of satisfaction, achievement, and completion. The word dope comes from this. Basically, this is what we get when we score a birdie. Or hit a perfect drive. Or flush a six iron to 1 feet from the hole. Or hole a bunker. Sheesh, I can think of a million ways Dopamine gets released on the golf course. In fact, every anti-dopamine act (a duck hook, a top ball, a shot into the bunker), gives an opportunity for the dopamine act to occur. That’s why we end up ‘chasing’ the high. Even when we hit a crap shot, we ALWAYS think we are going to hit that 3-wood 250 meters curve past the trees onto the green. DOPE, MAN!

2) Serotonin

Serotonin is the pride we get at the end. When we collect our $$ from our friends. When they concede you are the better golfer. When they say, jeez, that’s a freaking long drive bro. Or even, when you whip out your driver and someone comments, holy crap, that’s a long shaft and a big head. Sometimes, the words we use on golf courses are just waiting for an innuendo. That’s why some people play better when they bet. Or ok, all of us play better. Because there’s a reward. There’s a trophy. There’s a beat down. There’s bragging rights.

3) Endorphins

Endorphins is the high we feel when we need to mask the pain. It’s the ‘pleasure’ chemical. Golfers get this, that’s why we don’t feel that our wrist is hurt, or our backs are aching, or our legs are gone. We just play (except for those idiotic golfers that complain about their physical impairment all the time to pyscho you)…to be honest, even if someone was feeling pain, when he steps up to the tee and envision all the orgasmic dopamine and serotonin he’s going to get by blasting the ball straight down the fairway – endorphins kick in and bye bye pain.

4) Oxytocin

The final part to the puzzle. Golf is the most relationship based sport ever. For 4 hours, 4 people end up together and they become best friends. Oxytocin is the feeling of camaraderie, friendship, of ‘belong’. Through golf, trust is automatically created. Experiences are shared. The lunch after the game is filled with memories and laughter. We know these guys will be there for us no matter what. That’s why when you play with an a**hole, you never want to play with him AGAIN. Ever. Because he has taken away that Oxytocin from you, because he’s such an a-hole. Golf is about friendship. When someone breaks that trust, we should cast him out like the pile of dogcrap he is. Case in point, was the other day I was at the pro shop fixing my putter grip. While waiting, someone walks in and looks at my putter and asked me about the grip and we started talking and laughing about stuff. He left after a while, my wife asked me, who was that and was that a friend? I said no, don’t know his name, or anything else except he played golf and we knew each other’s golf clubs. She looked at me strangely, as if I was a half witted numbskull. Golfers immediately create a trust bond. It’s like what Victor Hugo says: Great perils bring to light the fraternity of strangers. The peril we all share is the game of golf.

So there you go. Golf provides for all. Cooking? I guess. But I suck at it, so to me, it’s a boring activity. I don’t get my 4 chemicals from it. I rather be eating.

So to non-golfers who thinks golf is boring–you’re right. It is to you, because you don’t play it. Everyone gets their fill of these 4 chemicals somehow. Let’s not knock on our respective methods shall we?