I find amateur golfers to be tedious bores. All they can talk about is the weekend game, their handicap which never seems to change, and a chip or a drive that reduced them to paroxysms of pleasure. My sport is cricket, specifically the version that few watch nowadays.
“What’s it about golf that is so addictive?” I asked a friend who struggles to hit office by 10 AM but makes it easily to a golf course by 5 AM. He knows me well and understands how I feel about test cricket.
“Imagine if you could face up to Michael Holding, and hold your own. Golf lets you do that. You can play against much better players and hope to win, that is the beauty of the handicap system”.
The great Michael Holding terrified far better batsmen than me and I shudder at the prospect of padding up against him. It doesn’t matter what sort of handicap you give him, not even if he bowled with the left hand, the very thought of facing him is scary even at his current age.
But the handicap system is ingenious I have to admit. Imagine India playing Brazil in a soccer game; we get to shoot at a goal twice the size. Now that would neutralize the skill gap pretty quickly. With such a handicap, we could even win the world cup.
In golf there is of course the additional factor of playing against yourself; you are always trying to better your previous score and that can get most men going. Age apparently is not an issue and you can play the game as long as you can swing your arms.
Must give this game a shot, if only to understand a passion that afflicts so many older men.