Growing up with 3 brothers I played a lot of different sports growing up.
I tried them all and played a couple seriously over a number the years.
But I can honestly say golf is the sport I have had the most fun playing over the longest period and is the one I plan to play the most for many years to come.
So what is fun about golf? Golf is fun because of the number of possibilities it offers to stop players from getting bored. Anyone can enjoy playing all kinds of different golf game types either alone, with friends or total strangers. And all while enjoying the great outdoors and getting a bit of exercise at the same time.
Now I know everyone is different and different people like different things.
And I know people can sometimes think of golf as a bit of a boring and complicated game which is not for them.
In fact, golf has been declared Britain’s dullest sport after a survey revealed that 70% of people found it boring to watch.
But golf is enjoyed by an estimated 60 million people in nearly 85% of the world’s 245 countries so it must have something going for it.
Here are 5 reasons we found people like me enjoy playing the game of golf.
1. Golf Is For ‘Anyone’ to Enjoy
Given its occasional reputation as elitist, it seems strange to say that golf is truly for anyone.
However, when you think about it golfers come in all shapes and sizes. It does not discriminate in terms of age or gender.
Players can be as young as 2 (Tiger Woods appeared on television practising his golf swing at that age incidentally) and as old as 92.
And men, women, girls and boys can all enjoy playing a game of golf.
What other sport can you think of where all the generations of a family can play and enjoy it all together at the same time.
A grandmother can happily play alongside her son and young granddaughter and grandson.
Golf, therefore, provides an opportunity to enjoy some quality family bonding time – provided the result goes the right way of course!
The game of golf, via the handicapping system, has also devised a method where all abilities of players can play each other.
Anyone reading this blog could play against one of the best golfers in the world – say Rory McIlroy or Lexi Thompson – and have a proper competitive match.
It is highly unusual in a sport for a professional player to be able to play an amateur on the same playing field but in golf you can.
Golf is also a hugely sociable game.
Over the past 30+ years I’ve enjoyed playing golf with people from different walks of life and been lucky enough to make lifelong friendships with different people from different parts of the world.
You can have great fun playing the game and catching up over a few hours with your oldest and dearest friends.
Or you can enjoy a game with people you’ve just met.
One of the great attractions of the game is that it is very easy to meet people either by joining a club or simply visiting a course.
Golf courses will often make the effort to pair visiting players with others in an effort to get more people on the course at the same time.
Lasting friendships can be started and grow right at the golf course. Some of my best golfing friends are now of retirement age and still enjoying the game.
This year I’m taking my 2-year-old daughter to visit them in the USA and will hope I can persuade her to catch the bug playing alongside them!
Golf is also a sport you can have great fun playing alone.
Many players simply enjoy wandering around a course by themselves, practising by playing a number of golf balls from different parts of the course or listening discreetly to a music playlist or podcast when they play.
The point is when it comes to the kind of social experience you want playing golf you can suit yourself and enjoy whatever game appeals to your mood at any given time.
2. Enjoying Golf In the Great Outdoors
By its nature golf is played in nature. It allows every player to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air in all weathers.
In all weathers, sunny or cloudy, hot or cold, or dry or raining, golf is there to be enjoyed in the great outdoors.
Whilst other sports will be guarded and played within rigid lines, fences or walls, golf courses allow players to roam over a couple of hundred acres or more.
Golf courses can provide great views and when compared with other mainstream sports have few equals in terms of setting.
There are golf courses beside oceans and golden beaches, ones that cut through forests and parklands, others with spectacular mountain views and even some which finish within a minute walk of the centre of towns.
For wildlife lovers you can be rewarded with encounters with birds, deer, foxes, squirrels, butterflies, eagles, geese, rabbits, ducks, and even snakes and alligators.
Cool fact: As a boy, Seve Ballesteros, one of the greatest golfers of all time, learned to play golf with only a homemade 3 iron golf club on the beaches near his family’s farmhouse in Pedreña, Spain.New York Times
You can practice golf anywhere too – at the golf course, on a driving range, in the garden, the living room – anywhere.
3. Different Game Options Mean Golf Never Gets Boring
Non-golfers may think that playing the same golf course over and over again must inevitably get a bit boring.
But one of the great things about the game of golf is that are so many different types of games you can play that there are endless ways to enjoy the game in different ways.
No round of golf is ever the same.
And that’s not even considering the fact that the conditions are never the same, your playing partners are never the same and the way you play is never the same as the last time.
There are endless other ways to mix things up and have some fun on the course.
You can play as many holes you want for example.
Unless it is a competition there is nothing forcing players to play a standard round of 18 holes.
If you want to play less you can, and many do simply playing 9 holes or loops of a few holes which take you from and bring you back to the clubhouse.
You can also try cross-country golf if you want which involves playing from the tee of one hole to the green of another.
Just make sure the course is very quiet though for this though!
You can also invent your own rules for your game on any given day. In a game with friends we used to add an extra 3 rules to the game.
One allowed you a free ‘kick’ of one shot from any position on the course.
The second allowed you to take a mulligan – in other words get another go at a shot – while the third allowed you to call a mulligan on your opponent and make them play the same shot again.
The last one was always particularly enjoyable to enforce after a friend had hit a particularly good shot!
You do not always have to play with the regulation fourteen clubs either, particularly if you can’t be bothered to carry them all around the course!
Playing with fewer clubs is a great way to experiment with your game and have a bit of fun getting inventive and creative with your golf shots.
There is also evidence to suggest playing from different tees increases player enjoyment as does occasionally simply throwing away the scorecard.
In a game where normally every shot counts without exception, it can be fun to just stop keeping score for a round or three!
4. Some Healthy Competition is Always Fun
I am not going to claim here that golf is a very physically demanding sport.
It is not and that is why players are able to play for such a large part of their lives if they want to.
But people forget that golfers can walk as many as 3.5 miles on an average 18 hole round.
That is uphill, downhill and through all sorts of different terrains including sand and thick rough.
And any form of physical exercise helps get blood plumping to your heart.
Indeed playing golf regularly has been proven to deliver a number of health benefits including improved sleep, better fitness through burning more calories and reduced stress.
Despite the research evidence to prove it though I am never convinced by the last one particularly after I’ve played another bad shot!
Golf also gives players a constant competitive challenge both with the course itself and with playing partners to let them exercise those competitive juices.
This the main reason why you find so many retired professional sportspeople, and indeed many who are not, playing golf.
It gives them a chance to exercise those competitive instincts again while doing something physical.
And as every golfer will tell you there can be nothing more satisfying than enjoying a hard-earned victory over a close friend which you can replay again and again in the years to come!
5. Golf’s Addictive Qualities Make It Fun to Play
One hole of golf, never mind one round of golf, can delivery ecstasy and agony in equal measure.
And that is one of the reasons why it can become such an addictive game.
A great shot can be immediately followed by one of the worst ones you have ever hit and it is the quest to see if the next shot you play will be another brilliant one which golfers get addicted to sometimes.
That feeling of holing your first long putt, getting ‘up and down‘, hitting a long straight drive or breaking 100, 90, 80 or even 70 for the first time is a momentous occasion and allows golfers to forget for that moment all the pain that came before.
That moment when we golfers get lucky and hit that shot like a professional would we get an exciting dopamine hit which we then get addicted to chasing again and again and again.
At a more basic level, golfers like humans, like to watch things fly. People have enjoyed watching things, like birds, fly since the dawn of time.
And since we’ve mastered the art of launching projectiles and making things fly – stones, arrows, rockets – we’ve loved that too.
Golf is also about making something fly and players will spend hours and hours hitting a golf ball to watch it fly.
Playing golf is also meditative. It is just you and your head trying to convince yourself that you can master the art of hitting a little white ball across thousands of yards with little margin for error.
There is no escape and before every shot you will likely be dealing with lots of thoughts, many of them very unhelpful! You will learn how to handle them or you will give up.
You will learn never to give up or you will give up instantly.
Golf is not perfect. It takes time to play and money for course fees and equipment.
These are not always simple constraints for many adults, particularly if they have kids and a tight budget and little downtime during the week.
My mother also never liked it, despite the rest of her family – me, my 3 brothers and my father playing for hundreds of hours over many years.
She could never understand why she should play a game she could throw the ball further than she hit it!
But there are lots of ways to reduce the time it takes to play, such as only playing a few holes rather than 18 as we noted above, and also to keep costs down as much as possible.
Also what other game can you think of where you can eat and drink whilst you are playing it!
That’s a big thing for me and together with all of the 5 reasons above make golf the perfect game to be enjoyed for a lifetime.
More great articles related to this topic
- 5 Fun Buddy Golf Trip Games for a Wide Range of Handicaps
- How Long Does a Round of Golf Take – for 1, 2, 3 & 4 Players?
- How Many Clubs Does a Beginner Need? Save Your Money to Start With!
- Is Golf Good for Your Health? It is But Beware of Those Carts
- Going the Distance? How Far Should Beginners Hit A Golf Ball?
- How Many Golf Lessons Do You Need? 3 is the Magic Number
- What’s the Best Age to Start Golf? Start Kids Young but Keep it Fun!
- What Should You Wear to the Driving Range? Keep it Comfy
- What Should You Wear Golfing? Do’s and Don’ts for Men & Women
Is golf considered a sport or a game? The Oxford English dictionary defines a ‘sport’ as a “physical activity involving physical exertion and skill, esp… one regulated by set rules or customs…”. The golf swing uses at least 17 muscle groups, has a clear set of rules and is considered a sport by the International Olympic Committee.
Is golf a workout? Over 18 holes a golfer will burn an average of 360 calories per hour. This compares to 273 calories doing yoga or playing table tennis. A player will have an average heart rate of 100 beats per minute, over a 2-5 hour period and will exceed the 10,000 number of steps per day needed for weight loss.