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When It's All Said And Done, Is A Lifetime Of Golf Really Worth It

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This is a great post.

I wonder why the OP is only having this revelation now, after 20 years?

Was he expecting to go pro all this time?

You almost seem to be exhibiting mild OCD symptoms.  Is this accurate?

You also need to understand that even pros have meltdown holes in every round.

There is a middle ground here:

1) Stop spending money on equipment.

You can shoot in the 70s with whatever you have.

It's as optimized as it can be.

2) Stop practicing unless you enjoy it.

You will not start shooting 90s if you stop practicing.

With these 2, you have addressed the time and money concerns.

If this doesn't help, maybe you're just getting bored of golf.

If so, I think you need a break from playing.

Yes, you will have nothing to show for your golfing except the moments and pride of developing a skill.

Maybe it's time for you to restore an old muscle car or something.

Incidentally, I stopped playing golf for 10 years.
I got to a level, and was happy with it, and then just lost interest.

I have explored many other hobbies outside of golf in those 10 years.

I revisited the game this month after playing 3 rounds in the last 10 years.

I have no interest in getting back to where I was.

I will not be joining a private club.

In fact, it's been so long, I actually find it cool I can actually play golf.

(high 40s/low 50s on my first 2 days back)

It's like a skill I forgot I had!

When I tire of it, I will stop and go back to my life.

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You guys have made some good points, and asked some questions I should respond to when I get a chance, but I have to go to work...work the midnight shift (maybe that's my problem!).

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I think you're in a "funk" so to speak and need to step away for a while and try something else. I'm new to golf but nowhere near to competitive outdoors sports. I pick them up, practice them and let the eat me alive until I've reached my personal best that I can do and then I move on to something else. I get my enjoyment from taking something I know relatively nothing about and working at it to accomplish something.

I've been through motocross when I was younger until I beat my body up so bad the reward was no longer worth the investment, then I moved to drag racing and race all over the east coast, then to bike racing, competitive shooting, etc.

I was able to become "good" at those sports in a relatively short period of time because a lot of the requirements were the ability to overcome fear and the money needed to properly fund yourself one of which I had and the other of which I was more than willing to work 80+ hours a week to earn.

I picked up tournament fishing 2 years ago and golf this year for one reason, BOTH of them require lots of time, commitment, and work to be good at. Neither of these will be something I can pick up, practice constantly for a year and then get bored and quite. When tournament fishing, you're not only competing against a LOT of other anglers, you're also competing against weather, water conditions, and a little green fish with a brain the size of my finger nail that seems to outsmart me a lot. With Golf, it's just seemingly impossible and I play 8+ rounds a month and start taking lessons next month.

They will both provide me with years of enjoyment as I strive to improve at both of them but when I've reached that point where I no longer enjoy them or cease to improve, I'll probably drop both of them and move on to yet another hobby, sell my monstrous pickup and over priced glitter rocket of a bass boat and I'll buy another Lexus and enjoy something new.

I think you're at that point to where you think you've accomplished all you want to or feel you're just tired of it and it's time to step back and try something else. If you have sporting clays clubs nearby, I'd suggest trying it out, it's like golf with a shotgun and takes a ridiculous amount of effort and hand/eye coordination to be good at but it very rewarding.

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Golf puts one's weaknesses front and center. Some people struggle with that. Do you? As a hobby, I also build furniture. One of the things in cabinetmaking that stimulates me is the exacting nature of it, the idea that there is something close to 'perfect' (or at least that everything goes as planned). Golf will never be that for me, no matter how good I become. That frustrates some people, but it's the nature of the game. You say there's no bounty in golf, but I don't think that true. There are the memories of being on the golf course with your friends, your wife (in my case), and all that goes with that. It's one of the reasons I prefer to play golf with others, though I understand how people gain solace playing alone. I've met some great people playing golf, and I usually meet someone new every week or two. That has value to me as a person. What isn't to love about the game? During every round, one gets to deal with success and adversity. We get to challenge ourselves physically and mentally, and though we often fail at an immediate goal, there's always the challenge of the next shot, the next hole, the next round, etc. if you are no longer carrying that away from the game, maybe it's time to re-evaluate (sounds like that's what you're doing). Best of luck to you.

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Great thread. It seems like you need to refocus what you want out of playing golf as a hobby. Going in with an expectation that doesn't seem to happen, regardless of what it is, will always be a let down and make you question your commitment. Stop buying equipment, don't practice, and just go out and play with a completely recreational frame of mind. When you get on the first tee, take in the fresh air and beautiful surroundings. When you miss a putt, get animated in a "wouldn't that have been nice" kind of way with a smirk and not a "ugh, how many times am I going to miss that putt" kind of way. Encourage a friend to join you and build a better relationship or bond with a new hobby. Join a local club for friendly tournaments, therefore meeting likeminded people who simply enjoy the game. I'm obviously making assumptions on how you approach the game, I have no idea if you get pissed when missing a putt. But hopefully my point is coming across. Find new ways to enjoy being outside in the fresh air with perfectly manicured grass over 7,000+ yards. Hit a duff and pride yourself on saving bogey. Enjoy it or it's not worth doing. I can appreciate the self-reflection you appear to be going through. I think we all need to do that regularly to assess how we're living our lives and what we want to get out of it. How many people seem to "look up" after 40/50/60 years and wonder where the time went? I feel like I hear that sentiment all the time. I'll be turning 30 in September, and I like to reflect on what I'm doing in my life. I want to feel like I'll look back at my life and have made conscious decisions to direct the course of my life, as best as one can do of course. Good luck to you, I hope you find what you're looking for.

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Originally Posted by mad max

...snip...Also your statement of "I'm really wondering if I should continue to spend the time, money and effort in pursuit of perfection in golf" is an unreasonable goal as I am sure you know their is no such thing as perfection in golf.

...snip...

I actually disagree with this.  In my view, golf is great because you get to achieve perfection 18 times!  The goal is to get the ball to the bottom of the cup, and on the last shot of every hole you achieve that --- that last shot is always perfect!

For the OP: if you want to feel good about the time you put into something, I'd suggest working for social justice.

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Golf brings people together in a way that few other activities do. At best, It can saves lives and provide friendship for otherwise solitary or lonely people. For the majority it provides a personal challenge that is revitalised every time you tee up. Unfortunately - and many threads on this site - prove it, many golfers seem to think that the way they play means som ething to others. They want to impress others, even strangers. These are the guys that don't last.That's not to say that one shouldn't be competitive, but your competitive instincts need to be in context with your own aspirations. Less than 30 putts. 36 points. Nett 69. Hit 8 fairways. Whatever. My goal is to enjoy my round even if after three holes I know I've ruined a score. Now if you go out and shoot 65 off the stick, honestly, who cares. If you have nett 61 in a competition with yoiur personal best score, so what? To the other competitors you're a "burglar" playing off a handicap that is too high. This is how I do my own reality check: Every time I'm watching the PGA Tour I see how someone did - for example on Thursday, the leader after round one had shot 64 after being 3 over after two holes. Tim Clarke had 62 yesterday. So how could my score - whatever it is mean a damn to anyone except myself? I enjoy being outdoors, I enjoy the friendships I make, I enjoy hitting good shots but I am frustrated every time I play. That's the point. If it wasn't hard we wouldn't do it.

+1

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consider yourself lucky ... I discovered golf at 45 years ol age.    I regret not starting earlier in life when I had the body to potentially play well.    I'm as avid about it now as anybody I know, play 3-4 times a week ... and enjoy the commraderie with my friends and wife on the course.      Don't know if I have the body left to play much better than I do now, but I have to find a way to play smarter - time will tell.   Just enjoy the game and the time on the course - it's not all about the scorebook ...

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Unfortunately - and many threads on this site - prove it, many golfers seem to think that the way they play means som ething to others. [b]They want to impress others, even strangers.[/b]

I wanted to add something to this comment: My wife used to hate playing with people she didn't know - she'd get embarrassed when she hit a shot that didn't live up to her expectations. I remember telling her, "Honey, five minutes from now, these people aren't going to remember the bad shot you just hit. They're either too concerned about their own games, or they just don't care. If you can keep up and not act like a fool, people will enjoy playing with you." It was advice someone had given me when I first started playing. Now when we walk on, she's the first to say to the guy in the pro shop, "Can you hook us up with another twosome?" Like I had done years before here, separating who she was as a person from her golf game made golf much more enjoyable for her. We can't be the only people that, at some point in time, have associated our worth to our golf score. Some great folks shoot 100, some real jagoffs are scratch golfers. To the OP: I hope something that someone said in this thread helps you enjoy the game more.

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"To the OP: I hope something that someone said in this thread helps you enjoy the game more."

I actually gained a lot from the many thoughtful responses. I appreciate all of your feedback, even the guy who called my post a big whine, which I guess it kind of was in a sense...LOL. You guys have provided some very interesting perspectives on the game of golf, much of it I really enjoyed and needed to hear. Thanks again for participating in this great golf site and taking the time to type to help out a complete stranger get some new ideas in his head.

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[quote name="Shorty" url="/t/60870/when-its-all-said-and-done-is-a-lifetime-of-golf-really-worth-it#post_749888"] Unfortunately - and many threads on this site - prove it, many golfers seem to think that the way they play means som ething to others. [b]They want to impress others, even strangers.[/b]

I wanted to add something to this comment: My wife used to hate playing with people she didn't know - she'd get embarrassed when she hit a shot that didn't live up to her expectations. I remember telling her, "Honey, five minutes from now, these people aren't going to remember the bad shot you just hit. They're either too concerned about their own games, or they just don't care. If you can keep up and not act like a fool, people will enjoy playing with you." It was advice someone had given me when I first started playing. Now when we walk on, she's the first to say to the guy in the pro shop, "Can you hook us up with another twosome?" Like I had done years before here, separating who she was as a person from her golf game made golf much more enjoyable for her. We can't be the only people that, at some point in time, have associated our worth to our golf score. Some great folks shoot 100, some real jagoffs are scratch golfers. To the OP: I hope something that someone said in this thread helps you enjoy the game more.[/quote] Once again another reflection of life in golf. People in life are often so self absorbed they only see the activity around themselves very briefly.

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Originally Posted by thinblueline

"To the OP: I hope something that someone said in this thread helps you enjoy the game more."

I actually gained a lot from the many thoughtful responses. I appreciate all of your feedback, even the guy who called my post a big whine, which I guess it kind of was in a sense...LOL. You guys have provided some very interesting perspectives on the game of golf, much of it I really enjoyed and needed to hear. Thanks again for participating in this great golf site and taking the time to type to help out a complete stranger get some new ideas in his head.

So, what are you going to do about it?

Think you'll take a break?

Stop buying stuff?

Decrease the amount of practice?

Also, do you play public courses, or are you a member of a club?

I ask b/c you've hit upon an important point that the thread glossed over.

I have a feeling you are now 40+ and wish you were in a better financial position

You feel you have wasted a lot of time that you have nothing to show for.

Do you feel, at 40, the time would have been better spent elsewhere?

Like building a side/home business?    Spent more time focusing on your career prospects?

You should not ignore this "opportunity cost" aspect, even though everyone focused on your enjoyment of golf.

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I started as a caddy for my Grandfather in 1959, at age 8, so I got to grow up on the golf course with my Grandfather. The course had just opened so I literally grew up at Juniper Hills GC located in Frankfort, KY. Now, 54 years later, I jump at the chance to return and play there....Just got back a couple weeks ago where I shot an 87 & 88. As I played, my mind remembers those days as a child, caddying & playing. I would not trade these memories for anything. My Grandfather has been gone for almost 30 years, I am still playing weekly and there is never one round that I do not remember him and thank him for this lifelong gift. I have developed so many friendships from playing golf. We go out to dinner, go on vacations, just hang out. Golf has enriched my life. I have taught 1 nephew and 2 grandsons the game. Hopefully, they will embrace it and pass it on as well.

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Sometimes in life you can just get plain bored with something, and maybe that's you with golf.

For me, after 45yrs playing the game, my priorities have changed. Once upon a time I practiced several times a week, and played 2 or 3 times a week, at least one of which was a competition. Now there is no practice, and I play 2 or 3 times a month. I would love to practice and play as much as I used to but I accept that, physically, I can't. I would love to score like I used to, and very nearly do, but I accept that I'm the wrong side of being fit enough... and do you know, I'm not frustrated by it. I love the shots that go where they are supposed to, and recognise the bad ones are just because that's life.

The big buzz is the banter with the friends I play with, and the wicked ribbing in the bar afterwards. Without the company of so many good friends the game itself would be quite hollow.

I do hope your self-reflection brings you the answers you seek. Whether still inside this wonderful vehicle for friendship, or outside it, I do hope you find the buzz for life.

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Just want to add that in no way do I consider the OP to be "whining".  Personally I get bored if I don't feel that I'm improving, however slowly, or at least that there's realistically room for improvement.  I took the game up reasonably seriously at the age of 50 - a tad older than most of you - which is an advantage in a way.  I'm still learning some of the fundamantals of the game (some of them from this forum even) and this keeps me interested.

I can understand that ennui can set in - too much of the "same old same old".  If so, maybe it IS time for a change.

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Originally Posted by Used2PlayALot

So, what are you going to do about it?

Think you'll take a break?

Stop buying stuff?

Decrease the amount of practice?

Also, do you play public courses, or are you a member of a club?

I ask b/c you've hit upon an important point that the thread glossed over.

I have a feeling you are now 40+ and wish you were in a better financial position

You feel you have wasted a lot of time that you have nothing to show for.

Do you feel, at 40, the time would have been better spent elsewhere?

Like building a side/home business?    Spent more time focusing on your career prospects?

You should not ignore this "opportunity cost" aspect, even though everyone focused on your enjoyment of golf.

Well, these are fair questions. My career is going pretty good and I'm in a decent financial position, when compared to much of what the middle class is going through all over the country, so I am thankful for that. I'm not wealthy by any stretch. My wife and I drive paid off vehicles that are 11 and 12 years old, but we'll still be paying on a house for the  next 15 years. My oldest son joined the army and is leaving in about 6 weeks for boot camp, so Uncle Sam will take over caring for him, which frees up some money. I'm not mechanically inclined at all, or have any type of constructive skills to pursue side businesses. My only skills are what my dad passed on to me, which is hunting, fishing, and golf.

As far as this thread goes, with all it's many great points that everyone has made, I think the most important thing that has been pointed out, that I have sort of lost sight of in pursuit of getting better at golf, is the human relationships that are formed and developed through golf. Although I have always known this, sometimes we just need reminding, and you guys have reminded me, that when it's all said and done, scores, shots, trophies, tournament winnings, etc... will all be forgotten, but the relationships are what is important and the only thing that is lasting. This thread has jolted me into looking back at the friendships I have made through golf and the enjoyable times, conversations, and jokes I have shared with people on the course.

One other comment that gave me a "V8" moment was the fellow who reminded me that nobody really cares how I perform on the course, whether I'm an amateur that can occasionally shoot in the upper 60's, or regularly shoots in the upper 90's. Outside of my dad, who always seems to take an interest in my game, there really is nobody that cares. That's not to say that people haven't taken notice of the fact that I can hit a long ball, so I have been invited to play in a lot of scrambles, but at the end of the day, I was just a pawn for the team, and nobody cares that a third of my drives in the scrambles were never found again.

So I guess I have decided to stay the course, no pun intended, and keep at my golf game, with a new perspective on what is really important, and take some of the pressure off myself to always do well. I'm a public course player by the way in northeast Wisconsin. Thanks again everyone.

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Originally Posted by thinblueline

I dabbled in golf with my dad as a teenager, but didn't get serious about it until my mid 20's. I'm in my early 40's now, and I am at a point where I am really reflecting on whether or not the time and money I pour into this game is a worthwhile endeavor. I have all the shots in golf but rarely put them all together in a complete 18 hole round. My scores average from the high 70's to low 80's, and it doesn't seem I get much better or worse, regardless of the amount of time I spend practicing, because I always seem to have 2 or 3 "key" horrible shots that lead to disastrous scores on those holes. I have spent a lot of money on clubs, balls, shoes, gloves, range balls, greens fees, a few lessons, tournament fees, etc... over the years, to say nothing of the incredible time spent on this game on the range, at the course, and travel in between, and I'm really wondering what I have to show for it.

What gets me is, even if I was finally able to break through and shoot scratch to mid 70's...so what. A million people can shoot scratch to mid 70's. What does that do for me that has any lasting value. It's unlikely I will ever make money in this game so the time, money and effort to shoot lower scores just becomes some kind of bragging rights thing.

I know every hobby costs time and money, such as hunting and fishing, but even hunters and fishermen have their harvest to show for it and enjoy with the whole family at the dinner table.

I just kind of feel I am at a crossroads with golf. I'm at the mid point of my life and I'm really wondering if I should continue to spend the time, money and effort in pursuit of perfection in golf for the last half of my life, or give it up and pursue something else in my spare time that is more meaningful and valueable. I will say, to not practice at all and to play only sporadically will likely have me shooting in the upper 80's to low 90's, and when I'm doing that, to be honest, I'd rather be doing something else.

I guess I've kind of lost sight of what I'm doing out there, so I thought I'd ask fellow golfers if they've ever experienced similar feelings, and how they've handled them, or what new goals have rejuvenated them. Sorry to be a downer for everybody, but looking forward to hearing some feedback. Thanks a lot.

About the bolded part you could say the same thing: so what?  Does it make you any more of a man that you killed an animal?  I dont think so.  I used to be a hunter and fisherman and in the case of both, all you are doing is either sitting there waiting for an animal to walk/fly by so you can shoot it or sitting in a boat with your line in the water waiting for a fish to take your bait.  Sorry but Im not impressed by that level of, "skill" and I for one get little satisfaction from killing something.

Maybe golf just isnt your thing anymore.  Ive gone through the same thing with hobbies in my life and sometimes you just reach a point where you realize that its time to move on.  In my life my hobbies at varous times have consisted of things like hunting, fishing, skiing, playing hockey, snowmobiling, ATVing, motocross and tuner cars and with all of those things I got to the point where the minimal amount of enjoyment that I got to me no longer felt like it was worth the time and money that I was investing in it.  That was when I knew it was time to step away from those things and if I didnt miss them after a certain period of time, it was time to move on and find whats next.

Maybe you just need to take a break from golf and if after, say 6 months you realize that you dont miss it, then maybe its time to move on to whatever is next.

Me personally, I couldnt imagine my life without golf.  The extreme level of difficulty is what keeps me coming back and keeps me motivated to get better.  Golf has been a part of my life for so long and has become such an intergral part of who I am that life as I know it would cease to exist without golf.  Golf is my sanctuary from the stresses and craziness of life.  Its a place where I can find my zen and escape for a few hours.  Without golf I would be a much less pleasant person to be around and without golf Id probably be much like my coworkers in that the light at the end of the tunnel of a long workweek would be sitting around and getting drunk.  Thats not a life that I want any part of.

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Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer

Maybe you just need to take a break from golf and if after, say 6 months you realize that you dont miss it, then maybe its time to move on to whatever is next.

+1.

I stopped golfing.

I didn't even miss it.

The experience had run its course

I took almost 10 years off.

I like the idea of playing a few times a year, but I have ZERO interest in going back to

That almost sounds like a form of torture.   Different things for different phases of life.

It's like asking a 60 year old if he wants to raise kids again.  NO THANKS, will be the answer 99% of the time.

Too many other things in life I am more interested in.

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Note: This thread is 2300 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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