I was eating breakfast and watching Morning Drive on the Golf Channel today, and they ran a part of Tiger Woods’ press conference at Abu Dhabi. One of the reporters asked Tiger why he liked to play golf. That struck me as an odd question at a pre-tournament press conference, but Tiger gave a more revealing answer than he often does.
Tiger said he liked golf because it brought back a lot of good memories of his father. He fondly recalls his teenage years and going out to the course in the late afternoons to play golf with his dad.
Although it doesn’t apply to me (my parents didn’t play golf) I can’t deny that family ties are a frequently mentioned reason people love and play golf. I can understand how powerful those feelings could be. Although my father didn’t play, he played with me once a few months after I started to play. I was about 13 and we were on a vacation. For reasons I can’t recall, he and I were on our own one day and he decided to take me to a little municipal course outside Chicago where we rented clubs and played nine holes. I remember being impressed with his play, but I was easy to impress. He beat me. I imagine he shot something like 55 to my 56 or so.
I later learned from my mother that my father had played a few times with some guys from the office, but he decided he didn’t really like it because of the time it took. It had to be more than the time, though, because he loved to sail and would drive several hours each way and sail for half the day whenever he could. He apparently just didn’t like golf that much, although he never said anything about it to me.
Be that as it may, I still clearly remember how good I felt about playing with him that one time, so I can certainly understand how family play could really encourage a love of golf. It’s a common theme in books, such as James Dodson’s Final Rounds, and golf has shaped the destiny of more than one family. The Harmon, Haas, Wadkins, Duval, Hebert and other well known families come to mind, but I’m sure there are many less well known cases where golf is a powerful family force. This post tells such a story and has a neat WW2 vintage photo of the writer’s grandfather.
I envy those who can say family ties are a big part of their golf enjoyment, but I can’t explain my own love of the game that way. I guess I’ll keep scratching my head a while.
I’ve actually been thinking a lot about why I love golf as much as I do, too. As much as I like playing golf with my father, it only happens a handful of times each year and I loved the game long before he took up playing. But I do have some great memories of rounds with him. I’m starting to think I love it because it’s about understanding that there are so many different ways to shoot the same score and that appeals to me. Maybe I like that there aren’t any easy answers? In fact, there are multiple ways to have a good round. Still trying to figure out why I like that so much. Maybe I should explore this in my own blog post soon…
The endless variety of golf that you refer to is one of its attractions for me, too. I’m always amazed at my ability to play the same course over and over, yet each round is different. I enjoy playing different courses, but it isn’t necessary for my enjoyment. I get a lot of variety from round to round in my swing on any given day and the shots I have to make.