Driving home after a particularly frustrating round of golf recently, I asked myself why I bother playing, and working hard at, a game that defeats me more than it rewards me. I needed to justify to myself the considerable amount of time, energy and money I spend on a game that cannot be beaten.
The answers came quickly.
For one, my determination to become a better golfer forces me to stick with it when things don’t go as planned. I have learned that quitting is easy and rewards you with nothing. I have also learned that working hard to be your best, undeterred by failure, is difficult. But rewards earned through perseverance are the sweetest rewards.
Take the snatch for example. Many of us have struggled while trying to learn this lift. But if you stick with it, put in the time practicing, conquer your fear of dropping under a heavy barbell, and stick that number you’ve been chasing for months, it makes the hard times worth it. It also encourages you to go through it all again to reach your next goal.
Success in golf requires diligent practice and frequent play to maintain your skill set. This is true for both professionals and amateurs alike. Look at professionals of any sport. They don’t just show up on game day and dominate. They put in the reps so that when they face a situation under the pressure of competition, they are confident that they will succeed.
Away from the course, golf inspires me to build the best body for me to perform at my highest level. I plan to play golf until they put me in the dirt, and in order to do this I have made strength, flexibility and mobility priorities.
It’s no coincidence that the world’s number one golfer, Rory McIlroy, who is a smaller player at 5’9”, hits the ball well over 300 yards and can deadlift 300 pounds. He also has extremely flexible shoulders and hips: the key to a powerful golf swing. It takes a physically fit athlete to quickly and explosively synchronize the many moving parts of the golf swing into a successful result. Rory has built a body that allows him to produce one of the best and most consistent swings in golf.
It’s not surprising that at 52 years old, Vijay Singh is beating men half his age on a regular basis on the PGA Tour. Before golf professionals had their own trainers, or trained at all, Vijay was a gym rat. His time in the gym has allowed him to keep competing at a high level years beyond many of his contemporaries.
I am passionate about golf because it is hard and it gives me athletic goals to aspire to and work towards. Off the course it pushes me in the gym and demands that I take care of my body. On the course, it inspires creativity and teaches me to perform under pressure. Golf challenges me to be my best.
What challenges you to be your best?