Why Golfers Are Great In A Crisis

Why golfers are well placed to deal with the challenges ahead

Why golfers are great in a crisis
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the Coronavirus crisis changes our lives completely, we consider why golfers are well placed to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.

Why Golfers Are Great In A Crisis

In these unprecedented times we all have to be rational and practical to see it out.

It’s a serious situation, but in order to stay sane we need to be light hearted when we possibly can.

Thus, here’s an irreverent look at how we golfers might cope over the coming weeks and months.

This is why golfers are great in a crisis:

Problem solving

Golfers are well placed to deal with the challenges that lie ahead as we’re very much used to facing adversity.

We’ll all need to find ways to adapt and overcome over the next few months.

Golfers know that phrase pretty well, we see it on a hole by hole basis.

My swing is impeded by that bush – adapt and overcome.

I’m plugged in the very back of that pot bunker – adapt and overcome.

I’m hitting a raging slice with the driver – adapt and… start teeing off with a hybrid.

Seeing the positive side

Why golfers are great in a crisis

Bert Yancey in a spot of bother

We golfers must constantly try to see the positives.

If we didn’t, we’d have jacked this game in long ago.

Here’s some things you’ll have heard golfers say:

“Yes, it went in the river – but it was one hell of a strike.”

“I think I know what I’m doing wrong.”

“It would have gone in if it weren’t for…” (insert excuse de jour)

“I think it’s clearing up.”

“Haste ye back.”

Who better on this planet to try to encourage others to think positively through this crisis than a golfer?

Playing by the rules

Golf is a game of honesty and integrity and all participants must adhere strictly to the rules.

You won’t catch a golfer making an unnecessary journey right now…

The very thought of a golfer straying within two club-lengths of another person is laughable.

Dealing with disappointment

We’re all going to miss out on things during this strange section of our lives – birthdays, holidays… games of golf.

It’s disappointing.

Golfers can draw on countless examples of past experience to deal with these let-downs.

Remember that time you needed a five up the last to win the Bailey Cup and hit one out-of-bounds?

Remember when you missed a two-footer to prevent your handicap going up 0.1?

Or even when you fancied hitting a belting drive but produced a limp, heeled fade?

Golfers live in a near constant state of disappointment so what’s new?


Those of us who take this game seriously will head out on the fairways even when nobody is around to keep us company.

Four hours on your tod on a Sunday afternoon stuck behind a slow moving four ball is a lonely place, but you’ll find ways to occupy your time.

Weeks or months at home alone would be daunting for most, but the golfer will barely have had time to fully consider the one-piece takeaway before this lockdown is over.

Small talk

And for those in lockdown with others, golfers will have a distinct advantage.

We’re used to making small talk with strangers for hours on end during a Saturday medal and will find countless things to witter about to our nearest and dearest whilst cooped up together.

As long as they are interested in the merits of the Vardon grip that is.


The average heart will sink when it sees a line around the block outside the local Co-op.

But the golfer will be able to put it into perspective.

Simply imagine meeting three groups on the tee of a long and testing par-3 when you’re on a good score – this is nothing.


Why golfers are great in a crisis

Ted Ray blasts out of trouble

And consider the patience needed to sit out weeks in isolation…

Who has more fortitude and forbearance than a golfer?

You’ve waited three rounds to hit a straight drive, three months to make a birdie, an entire golfing life for a hole-in-one…

You’ve waited to hit every shot, almost every round you’ve played…

You’re great at waiting.


In tough times we all have to accept that goods and services are harder to come by.

It might even come to the point where rationing is necessary.

Golfers know how to do this – “I’ve three balls left and there’s water on two of the last six… I’ll just hit a 6-iron off this tee to be safe.”

We’ll all get through these crazy, challenging days, and you can do your bit to help – Give some guidance to those less experienced at dealing with a crisis.

Encourage them to feel a positive outcome is possible, to overcome adversity and persevere, to stay patient and be prudent… to be more like a golfer.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?