Suddenly we all have an idea of what being in jail is like! Not being able to get out and about, let alone play a round of golf makes you think about what you are missing…
Joy No. 1 – The smell of freshly cut grass as soon as the growing season bursts forth every Spring and those cut lines the mowers leave behind them on the fairways.
Joy No. 2 – Playing early morning golf on an empty course with the warm sun on my face. For good reason, golf is considered the ideal social game, but I enjoy it when playing alone without any competitive challenges. Half concentrating on finding momentary swing perfection, I simply hit the ball and walk after it. There is nothing more relaxing. By its “fresh air and exercise” nature golf is clearly a healthy pastime that is good for one.
Joy No. 3 – Every time I see some wildlife as I wander the fairways; a rare species of bird, a natterjack, a fox, a deer or one of the red squirrels that populate my home course. Bored with slumbering alligators and prowling bobcats in Florida, the yellow-headed viper at Deal GC in Kent that caused me to levitate into Outer Space when I almost trod on it did not quite match my excitement when I startled a roadrunner on the superb University Course in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This giant hare look-alike took off like a Ferrari. I have never seen anything move so fast. Nor will I forget a woodpecker engaged in a frenzy of rat-a-tat-tats in Moliets, Biarritz.
Joy No 4 – Anytime I manage to lay one stiff from the nether regions of a sandy grave.
Joy No. 5 – Sinking a 20-footer for a birdie!
Joy No. 6 – Giving a fellow enthusiast a swing tip that helps them to play better.
Joy No. 7 – It is becoming more difficult to achieve as time goes by, every time I manage to reduce my handicap gives me a buzz. Those who pine for handicap increases have no pride and aren’t real golfers!
Joy No. 8 – Golf courses are places of immense, natural beauty. I am ‘in love’ with so many of them that it is impossible to pick one favourite above all the rest.
Joy No. 9 – Playing with a new set of clubs is on a par with my wife wearing a carefully selected outfit for the first time.
Joy No. 10 – Eating a well-made club sandwich after an enjoyable game. I consider myself one of the world’s foremost club sandwich experts.
Joy No. 11 – The paradoxes of golf. To lift the ball high, hit down. To avoid going left or right, aim straight at where you don’t want the ball to go. To put ‘stop’ on the ball hit harder. To apply ‘run’ – take an extra club and swing softly.
Joy No. 12 – Sadly, no longer available – unwrapping the wax paper covering before placing a new golf ball on a tee peg and dispatching it down the fairway.
Joy No. 13 – There are not many games that can be played and enjoyed on equal terms by a grandfather and his grandchild. I am grateful to have lived long enough to experience it.
Joy No. 14 – A good golf book – my most recent read was Memories & Methods by Joyce Wethered – a fantastic champion and golf psychologist ahead her time.
Joy No. 15 – Standing on a high tee enjoying the panorama of the golf course all around me.
Joy No. 16 – Win, lose or draw; coming off the golf course slightly tired and knowing that I have given the game my complete concentration and best effort.
Joy No. 17 – Just watching the ball take off and fly!
Joy No. 18 – It’s intoxicating whenever I manage to execute a stroke as sublimely as the best player in the world. The fact is; anyone can do it. If it can be done once, it can be done again. The joy of seeing that pristine white ball fly at the target as one envisaged never diminishes.