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Golf would Handicap my Parenting

September 20, 2014

I do not play golf. I am sometimes asked to participate in golf tournaments, for charity or for fun. I am sometimes offered the chance to play golf “for work” even. I decline all these offers.

It’s an extremely popular sport with a lot going for it – it’s challenging, yet playable very late into life; great exercise in beautifully groomed outdoor venues; a great opportunity to combine sport with conversation with friends. Golf is a pastime enjoyed by millions.

It’s not for me.

I was never any good at golf – playing only a few rounds a year from the time I was a teenager. I only broke triple digits once in my life, and I lost a box of balls on that round. I once actually dented my driver on the back face of the club somehow, trying to tee off…

I made my biggest push at building actual skill at the game just after being married – I purchased a custom set of clubs (being convinced that all my previous struggles had been due to the missing 1″ on all my club shafts), and my wife bought me a package of lessons.

The lessons taught me what I should be doing, but my body continued to refuse to do it. I was told that the only way to build a good golf swing is through building muscle memory in the correct form – something which takes 2-3 sessions per week on an ongoing basis.

Soon, after my kids had entered my life, and parenting became a focus for my time, I played less and less, and my clubs began to gather dust (and to get that weird chlorine rust when they’re stored too close to the pool chemicals out in the garage). I gave them to Goodwill a few years ago to get them out of the way of other stuff I have collecting dust.

I have more important things to do with my time

Don’t misunderstand me – it’s not that I am 100.0% focused on only productive or redemptive activities. I waste too much time and I know later in life that I’ll regret not having wrung every drop of quality time out of my chances during these years when my kids live at home.

But that’s just it – my wasted time leaks out in small drops around the margins of my days, not in 6 hour chunks spent to/on/from the golf course, or 2 hour chunks spent to/on/from the driving range.

In truth, golf makes it easy for me to avoid it. The sheer time investment required to gain baseline proficiency at the game is large enough to ease my decision. As much as I realize I’ll regret those lost drops of time spent with my children and my wife, I absolutely know that at the end of my life I will NOT regret missed golf opportunities.

And it’s just a game, after all. Putting a white ball into a sequence of 18 holes in the ground, no matter how few hits from a club that requires, is never going to improve anyone’s life in a meaningful way.

Bowling, on the other hand, is much more impactful. Er, well… at least I can enjoy it with my whole family together, and achieve a moderate level of success without hundreds of hours of investment per year.

Golf might be fine for others – there is no Scriptural prohibition

I am not out to evangelize the Non-Golf Lifestyle for everyone.

I know that some fathers enjoy playing with their wives and children, and these outings combine great fun and memory-making for the entire family.

I also notice that family groups represent far less than 10% of the foursomes out on the links (and my family won’t fit in a foursome or even a fivesome).

…and while my sons are still playing baseball, I don’t want to mess with their line-drive swings 🙂

It’s just not for me. When my kids are all grown and I can spend time on golf, possibly with my wife, maybe I’ll consider picking up the game.

…Or maybe then, I’ll still have more important things on which to spend my time… like grandchildren.

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From → Parenting

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