posted on: Thursday September 23, 2010
by Kaylee Miller ’13 / Commentary Staff
Golf — a game of precision and accuracy played around the world for over 500 years. It is played by young and old, male and female, the strong and the weak. I write this article after having spent countless hours this past summer on the beverage cart at my local golf course. I have learned that there is more to golf than hitting a ball the least number of times before it reaches the hole. It is an emotional game that brings families, friends, and competitors together. That is why I have come to the conclusion that golf is one of the toughest games in sport, requiring focus, intensity, and even a sense of humor.
Golf is a lifetime sport. People practice on the range, the pitch and putt, and even on mini-golf courses. It can take years of practice to perfect a good swing. Golfers feel uplifted after sinking a birdie putt on a par five and destroyed after a triple bogie. Long drives can easily fade to the left or right; the short game around the green is more mental than physical. Frequently players show up the morning of their wedding to relax, others try to relieve their stress and neither achieve their goals. Golfers often become stressed when they play poorly. It is a game of love and hate. It is truly a game of mental strength that can make the least experienced feel like a star and humble even the most accomplished.
On the national stage this past August, the sport of golf was faced with a difficult decision when a controversial rule violation spoiled the final round of the PGA Championship and cost Dustin Johnson a spot in a playoff and a possible major title. Johnson grounded his club in what was believed to be a bunker before his second shot, leading to a two stroke penalty. Compare that to Derek Jeter in a crucial game against the Rays this past week where he pretended to be hit on the elbow by a pitch. Jeter grabbed his elbow and acted like he was in pain. The umpire ruled he had been hit and the Yankees scored a crucial run. Ultimately, the replay showed the ball hit the bat instead of his elbow. In this situation, even as a die-hard Yankees fan, I believe that Derek was wrong. Faking catches and aggressive behavior have become accepted in baseball. In basketball and soccer too, players will fake injury, stomp around the court, and harass officials until they get their point across. Golf requires the same amount of focus and respect as baseball or soccer, yet there never seems to be any sort of controversy casting a spell over the game. There is no complaining or arguing, there is only acceptance of the rules. And although it may have been hard to watch the crowd favorite, Dustin Johnson, disappear in defeat, it was nice to see an act of honesty and integrity on the course.
What is in the future for golf? No one knows, but one thing is for sure: it certainly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.