From the striped drive to the post-round pint, the chip-in to the fresh leather glove – these are just some of the reasons we keep coming back to this often cruel game.
Golf can be cruel sometimes: It builds and then dashes your hopes and dreams on a regular basis without a care for the psychological damage it’s inflicting. But you keep returning for more, something draws you back. Why would we be attracted to something that punishes us so? It’s because those regular feelings of hurt are dwarfed by those rare, yet astonishingly powerful, good feelings that golf is able to elicit.
Here we take a look at some of those serotonin-inducing moments that make it all worth while. In no particular order, these are 10 of the best feelings in golf:
1 – The striped drive
Is there any better feeling in golf than catching a drive absolutely spot on? When your swing is in perfect time and the ball comes pinging out of the very middle of the driver and flies dead straight on the ideal trajectory, you can’t help but smile. For maximum smug enjoyment you need to be playing with kindhearted partners prepared to be economical with the truth when describing your effort. “I’ve never seen anyone so far down on that hole,” … “He only had a wedge left for his second!”
2 – The last-minute find
You’ve sprayed one into the rough but it doesn’t look too thick down there and you’re pretty sure you’ll find it, but you play a provisional just in case (as you always should.) On arrival in the vicinity of ball one, there’s no sign. “What? Where the **** has it gone? We should be able to see it here easily.” After 4 minutes and 30 seconds of searching, you’re about to give up and go play the provisional when something catches your eye. You lift a leaf and there it is; sitting nicely and affording you a shot to the green. Hallelujah – there is a God!
3 – The amber nectar
There are few moments to match the first sip of your post-round beer on a day when you have managed to secure a lift to the links. It really doesn’t matter how you’ve played – you’re not designated so can have a couple of these.
4 – The crucial putt
Standing over a five-footer on the final green you can feel sweat on the palms and your heart racing. This putt is to keep your handicap. If you hole this putt you will enjoy the rest of your weekend, if you don’t; you won’t. Stand away, compose yourself. Now back to it; “Ohoho this is a big one Billie… Don’t let me down Billie.” The putter goes back and through, the ball starts on a good line and tracks into the centre of the cup. The feeling of relief and elation is so great that you have to choke back tears.
5 – Winning a match / posting your best score
When you go up against an opponent you’re evenly matched with and get the better of them in a closely fought contest, the feeling of self-satisfaction and pride is tough to beat. Likewise, with a card in your hand when you do better than you ever have before.
6 – The pristine golf glove
You’re about to play a big round – the Club Champs or the knockout final for instance – so you’ve decided to splash out. You’ve popped into the pro-shop and grabbed a new white leather glove. Standing on the first tee you break it out of its packet and put it on with a Zorro-like flourish. You stretch your fingers to smooth the perfect cabretta leather and feel invincible – this will be your day!
7 – Not out
You’ve carved one badly from the tee and you know the outcome – there’s out of bounds over there and it’s headed straight for it. You’re already walking to your bag for a provisional, but you throw one last glance down the hole, hoping for a miracle. How good is that rare feeling when you get one? The ball has struck the trunk of a lone tree outside the course boundary and ricocheted so violently that it’s come right back onto the fairway. Aaaahh – just as I planned it.
8 – Zipping it back
Getting the ball to back up is the preserve of elite golfers but, just occasionally circumstances allow the average hacker to get a bit of “Tour action.” The greens are soft, you have a good lie and it’s 100 yards downhill to the putting surface. You strike the wedge shot cleanly and watch it fly towards its target. It lands 15 feet beyond the cup and you have a perfect view as it engages reverse and zips back towards the hole. Yes, I am that good.
Titleist Vokey wedge review:
9 – The chip-in
For most average golfers, a missed green inevitably means at least one dropped shot. Trying to get the ball close from short range with a lofted club is one of the toughest things in golf and it’s the ability to do this regularly that separates the very best from the also-rans. When you chip a ball stone dead it feels amazing – what a save! But, when it rolls out perfectly and drops into the hole, you’ve struck gold. You’re two shots better off than you thought you would probably be… And you don’t have to get the putter out!
10 – The hole-in-one
Saving the best for last – nothing can top an ace. You have played a hole of golf perfectly and nobody could have beaten you on it. The feeling of excitement when you see, or realise, you’ve just scored an ace is fantastic.