In a bid to entice those who have traded their Mizuno clubs for crotch-damaging bicycle saddles and their delusional, testosterone-induced states of recreational happiness, back to the hallowed shrines of grass, trees and sand that so magnificently don our South African landscapes, as well as to beguile new recruits to participate in the game that brings so much pleasure to so many around the globe, I find myself stuttering to the fact that golf does indeed take a chunk out of your diary.
So rather than twerk my way around the fact, I have decided to take it on, head first and with the intention of solving the problem that so many claim to keep them away from golf.
Firstly though, and again I probably sound like the squeaky hinge on the garden gate that so urgently needs some lube … mountain biking!
Having been an avid mountain-biker myself, I speak through experience and totally understand the attraction to the sport, but…
Mountain biking takes way more time out of your diary if you wish to participate at any kind of “race” level:
Not only do you need to spend obscene amounts of time listening to the spinning instructor shouting profanities at you through the daily torture sessions, but you also have to invest time in getting your technical skills to a level that you avoid frequent visits to the hospital.
Golf gives you a great cardio-vascular workout with a 10km journey underfoot, offers very little risk of injury (I suppose this also depends on how you go about it though), and you don’t even need to shave your legs (which takes about half-an-hour = 2 holes of golf) to avoid getting muck in your roasties when you wipeout. After many years in the saddle, I still maintain that this is bollocks and am certain that cyclists merely subscribe to this to appease themselves and be part of a “leg-hair free brotherhood”.
You need to have the “weekend ride” requisition form signed by your respective too. Very rarely does a quick 40km outing take “a couple” of hours and you’ll have to justify how you had to “repair Pete’s rear derailer” at the fourth river crossing” when you return to your waiting family six hours later.
Golf is golf. Arrive, breakfast, 9-holes, halfway house, 9-holes, 19th hole and home! No variation. You can set your clock to this routine.
You need to learn how to repair stuff!
This means getting your hands dirty, carrying spare parts and learning to become prolific in the use of bombs, chain-cutters, tubes and seat-posts. Believe it or not, this will take you some time to learn. With golf, you merely give your broken wedge to the pro and he’ll get it done before you finish your round of golf with the weekly bandits.
You definitely need to shower after a ride! Just saying! With golf, you can probably get away with four rounds of golf before you reach the unaccepted level of olfactory pungency before investing in water and soap. Once again, this too depends on how you go about it and how many bunkers with the “wind into you” that you visit. The showers at bike clubs, venues and races usually entail a queue, uncomfortable conversations as to why you haven’t shaved your legs and more often than not, the bar of soap resting gently in the gutter system of the makeshift “clubhouse”.
I can go on, but there are only so many pages in this publication, so I have edited it to only these few lines of moaning.
Now back to golf itself:
Yes, golf has become a much slower sport over the past couple of decades.
I remember playing my first round of golf at The Wanderers Golf Club as a member in 1982.
Playing alongside the club captain, we played the round in 4hr and 2min.
This included a stop for breakfast at the halfway house.
We were then called into a disciplinary hearing on the Monday evening for slow play.
Four hours was the benchmark! Nowadays were are quite comfortable with five hours???!!!
You are eating into your drinking/family/social/rugby-watching time.
I am all for “ready golf” (playing when you are ready to play). This within reason of course and doesn’t warrant running ahead of your mates to make a speed statement.
Just suggest it to the fellow golfers on the 1st tee and guaranteed you will have three willing subscribers.
I also had the good fortune of working with Mr. Gary Player himself at the Nelson Mandela Invitational tournaments some years ago. It was quite amazing that he pointed out something that had escaped my attentive golf brain.
He noted how much “faffing” that all the golfers seem to invest their efforts in.
Practice swings, throwing up grass to see which way the non-existent wind was blowing, breathing in, out, through the eye-balls, waggle, waggle, self-speak, address the ball … stand back and start again.
He even stated boldly “Fiddle, fiddle, ****ed!”
So, to make the game more enjoyable and to ensure that the whole day isn’t eaten up by waiting for the fourball in front (remember, you have another group behind you too), get on with it.
You will enjoy the round more, have more time at the 19th with your mates, more time with your family at home and can avoid having to power twowheels to get your recreational fix.