I have been trying for years now to convince my wife that golf has never really been about golf, but rather an opportunity to hang out with my friends. That if I didn’t play golf that I would have found some other hobby, like wind surfing where I would have gone out to hang out with friends who were just as into wind surfing as I was. The idea is to hang out with people who enjoy the hobby as much as you.
Now the reality is, I did not get into golf because of any friendships. I started at golf because it was something that I could go out and do on my own. All other sports required someone, or a group or people to play. I played plenty of sports as a kid, football, baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, but they all required someone else to participate. With golf I could go play eighteen holes or go to the putting green all by myself. Nobody needs to hit the ball back to you in golf.
When you spend any amount of time playing golf you are bound to meet people who love the game as much as you. They inevitably become your friends. The basis of this relationship is the same kind of relationship that most of us have at the forum on The SandTrap. Like minded people from all over the world getting together to discuss and debate the game we love. So when a number of regular forum members got together recently for the Newport Cup what most of us found, is that we all got along really well. Everyone generally liked hanging out with each other. We talked about golf, life, significant others, kids all sorts of topics and it was one of those surreal experiences where you seem to have known these people for much longer than the one or two days that you have met them. Kyle summed it up best in his post saying “the people is what made this such an awesome trip”.
Being in the business world I have gone on numerous “team building” getaways, where there were a number of people from the company who traveled somewhere and “bonded”. We even played golf a few times. Usually at these I am the only decent golfer and almost everyone else would not even qualify as a beginner. I spend more time giving lessons and telling people what club to hit than actually playing any golf. These corporate bonding events have always felt awkwardly forced to me. Yes, we bonded over the fact that we worked at the same company but it rarely went beyond that. We would talk about family and such topics but it never felt comfortable. We talked about that stuff because we had hardly little else to discuss. I can remember thinking about nothing else but going home.
For 99.99999% of the people who post on The SandTrap golf is always going to be recreational. None of us will play on the PGA, LPGA, or any professional tour. So golf has transformed into a social activity, one where do it to hang out with our friends. The Newport Cup was really fourteen guys hanging out becoming friends, and oh yeah we played some golf. All of us came from different parts of the country but that hardly mattered, we all found things to bond over. Even we were competing, trying to win the Newport Cup, but it was never something that stopped us from getting to know each other better. Sometimes when you are trying to beat someone it can become an us versus them type of mentality but I never felt that. Even more amazing was the fact that there were members of each team from varying generations. Younger guys, older guys, it didn’t really seem to matter. Everyone got along great.
I think all of this getting along was one of the primary reasons after we all walked off the eighteenth green and everyone had a little time to think about it we were all satisfied with the tie. Nothing to separate either team, realizing that all of us enjoyed the time together rather than who won. Everyone had something that they were proud of, winning at least a few matches and no one left feeling as though they lost. Really a perfect way to end such a great gathering.
I can freely admit now that when I was first picked for this event I was worried about if I would enjoy my time at the event. I look back now at that attitude and I was silly to feel that way. I had an excellent time and would happily participate again. Knowing that I was going to meet up with eleven other like minded people would be a perfect way to spend a few days.