For Golfers, There is No Time Like Tee Time

By the time you read this column, the Masters tournament at Augusta will be over. Did Tiger win again, or was it Phil, may be Ernie? Well, somebody is going to win. And somebody is going to lose. The winner will shed tears of joy. The loser will shed tears of lost opportunity. This will be done in public with millions of people watching on television. For some men, golf is a serious business. That is why they are pros. They don’t mind crying in public.

For regular golfers, golf is meant to be fun. But you know how most golfers take the game seriously. You know that from their body language. You know it from the amount of cursing and swearing they do when the ball does not go where they want it to go. A golf ball is not like your favourite pet, like an obedient dog. There is no training or obedience school for golf balls. What a shame.

Last week, I wrote how women love chocolate more than sex. So, a friend emailed me to ask what I would do if I had a choice between golfing and eating chocolate. I said I like to do both. Then he asked “…and…?” I knew what was on his mind. The “s” word. Well, do you know any man who would give up sex for golf?

This brings me back to the Masters tournament at Augusta. A Golf Digest survey taken sometime ago asked, “Would you give up sex with your spouse to become a member at Augusta National? Thirty percent said “yes” and 70 percent said “no”. Would this apply to golf in general?

In any case, I am excited to see that finally we can get on the golf course and hit some balls and socialize with our friends. I am also eager to see if I can play better and make a dent on my stubborn handicap which has refused to budge for the last few years. This year has to be a turning point.

Is that some crazy wishful thinking? Looks like it is. It has been shown that even among the most dedicated players; only 25 percent will improve their handicap index by at least one stroke during a 12-month period. So, what happens to the rest of the players? Do they get worse?

Here is the result of another survey. At the request of the Golf Digest, the U.S. Golf Association studied the handicap indexes of more than 1.1 million golfers from 2002 to 2003 and found that only two percent of players improved by five strokes or more during that 12-month span. The biggest shocker: 50 percent of players got worse!

So, you wonder why I would be interested in golfing. Investing so much time and money in membership fees, clubs (every year there is something new to spend your money on), golf balls, clothings, golf trips and other “collateral damage.” The reasons are simple – I play golf for fun, for good company, for a good walk in the park and vitamin D. Not for my handicap!

Golf is also good for burning some fat, as long as you don’t eat a big burger after nine holes and drink a dozen beers in four hours. You can burn 250 to 500 calories an hour. Golf is not good for building stamina. But it is good for flexibility and has a small effect on building strength.

I like to take precautions against sun burn, skin cancer, dehydration, mosquito bites and hunger. It is good to pack snacks which do not contain refined flour, sugar or trans fats (they can clog arteries). Try nuts, seeds, fruits, and low carbohydrate bars.

Ok, time to get on the golf course and hit some balls and have some fun. Forget about the handicap.

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