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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Golf Can Make You a Better Person

Arguably the greatest golfer who ever lived, Bobby Jones, said that golf could be a moulder and developer of character. The game of golf very clearly made him a better person. It reinforced the need to be honest and display integrity. It taught him how to handle success and failure. And it taught him the importance of never giving up.

Those lessons, learned on the golf course, were transferable to his life. When struck with a crippling disease from which there was no hope of a cure, Bobby met with his family and told them of his diagnosis. He then told them that they should not speak of it again because, as he had learned on the links, "we must play the ball as it lies." 

It is a travesty when anyone is struck with an incurable, crippling disease. But somehow it seems even more so when the victim was the greatest golfer of his era, and so loved internationally. But Bobby Jones suffered with dignity. He simply refused to complain or allow his misfortune to sour his outlook on life.

Golf can, if we allow it to, make us better people. That is not, of course, to say that we don't have poor sports, cheaters, quitters, and complainers on our golf courses. But those people are not truly golfers. Real golfers embrace honesty and integrity, and the virtue of never giving up and playing the ball as it lies. 

And those are lessons that many other sports, where winning is so important, sometimes fail to teach us. In golf, regardless of what Tiger was taught to believe as a youngster, second place does not suck. In fact, it's a shame that Tiger was taught to think that way. In golf, it really isn't whether you win or lose that counts. In golf it really is all about how you play the game. That's why there are many stories of great, and not-so-great, players who chose to call penalties on themselves, even when to do so might have cost them fame or fortune. Golf is that kind of game. And Bobby Jones is the finest example we have ever had of a true golfer.