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Friday, 28 October 2016

Don't Relax

Bobby Jones wrote his book Golf is my Game some ten years after he had been afflicted with a crippling disease that had made it impossible for him to play any longer. When he wrote the book golf was still a consuming interest in his life. Even though he could no longer play, the game still fascinated him and he wanted to share his knowledge with other golfers.

Consider what he wrote about the game and how he believed it should be played in his first chapter:

    "Golf has a very great and sometimes mystifying appeal to busy men. Some of its most ardent devotees are men of affairs whose lives are filled with responsibilities for making important decisions. To thise who know little of golf, it is difficult to explain how a game so apparently frivolous could interest men such as these.
     To those who know something of the game, there is no mystery at all. Golfers know, and have known for a long time, that when playing golf, it is almost impossible to think of anything else. The most complete rest for the mind, and the most effective renewal of mental keenness and vigour, come not from thinking of nothing, but from putting one's mind completely upon fresh and stimulating activities. It is, therefore, the all-absorbing challenge of golf which makes it such an effective agent of mental therapy.
     In this view, then, it seems to me that we are defeating or detracting from the effectiveness of the game as recreation when we urge people to relax, take it easy, or be casual and carefree on the golf course. I think we should urge them to do just the opposite--to put themselves wholeheartedly into their play. What they want and need most from the game can be had only when the intense concentration upon the play helps to sweep away the problems, worries, and even troubles of everyday life."

So, there you have it. Golf is best played and enjoyed when, as Arnold Palmer once wrote, you "play it to the hilt." There is nothing wrong with taking the game seriously, even if you might not be a scratch player. It is in concentrating on playing the game to the best of your ability that you reap the greatest benefits from it.