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Why does golf have such a compelling pull? Fergus Bisset had a conversation with Karl Morris, who is a performance coach, about the factors that contribute to our continued participation.
What Makes Golf Such an Addictive Sport?
You’ve finally made it to the 18th hole after enduring a round of golf that was so fraught with challenges and misfortunes that it would make any sane person want to throw away their clubs and never play the game again. th as well as smack a belting drive smack dab in the middle of the fairway.
The most ecstatic feelings are evoked in response to a tremendous shot that bears no resemblance to what has gone before it… “Haste ye back,” as they say in Scotland.
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And you will hasten your way back, brimming with anticipation, hope, and excitement.
We keep coming back for more of this wicked game’s challenges, no matter how many obstacles it throws at us. Why? Why does golf have such a compelling pull?
To get some answers, I had a conversation with Karl Morris of The Mind Factor, who is a leading performance coach.
“When you take addictions in general into consideration, it’s because of feelings. “The intense rush that a gambler experiences when they have a win can become addictive, and the gambler will seek out that feeling,” he says.
“When we first started playing golf, we hit that shot that soared into the air, and we experienced both the rush of adrenaline and the hit of dopamine that accompanied it. The never-ending pursuit of that sensation is never over.
But, just like with other forms of addiction, it’s not just the rush that makes people compulsive; rather, it’s the range of emotions that a lot of us seek out on a regular basis.
According to Morris, when people become addicted, they almost become addicted to the highs and lows that come along with it. “Golf has the ability to bestow upon us a great deal in one instant, and then strip it away in the next,”
Not only the ups and downs of the game, as well as the rush of adrenaline that comes from making good shots, putts, or performances, contribute to golf’s addictive quality. There are also other aspects to consider.
In hot pursuit of the dragon
The pursuit of something that is unachievable, coupled with the awareness that one can always improve, is one of the things that draws people to golf the most.
As amateurs, we have a habit of losing a good number of shots on the course during each round due to careless errors that we are confident we will be able to avoid the following time we play.
Even the best golfers in the world will never have a round in which they couldn’t have improved their performance by a hair’s breadth.
There have been players who have come relatively close, but the holy grail of golf is absolute perfection, which will never be found.
Karl Morris has this to say about Fred Shoemaker’s statement: “I like what Fred Shoemaker said that you fall in love with the idea of trying to master a game that you know you’ll never master.” “This is an optimistic way of looking at the addictive nature of golf,” the speaker said.
The pursuit of an unattainable goal in golf draws out of us positive and robust mentalities such as perseverance, determination, self-belief, and positivity.
New and glistening things
The vast majority of us are materialistic to some degree, and the urge to buy new things to play with is extremely powerful. The game of golf offers a wide variety of choices in this regard.
The majority of golfers develop a mild addiction to their equipment, whether it be the most recent model of premium golf ball, the most gleaming set of blades, or the most recent model of driver.
In addition to that, there is more to it. The part of us that is hooked on “chasing the dragon” also recognizes the potential in developing new technologies.
Equipment manufacturers are continually conducting research and development in an effort to create products that will assist players in developing their skills and progressing to higher levels.
“If new golf equipment technology sounds scientific and revolutionary, then the intellect is drawn in,” says Karl Morris. “But if it just sounds cool, then it’s not going to do it.”
“The scientific method is compelling, and our minds are able to assimilate the evidence that supports it. That piece of equipment becomes compelling when there is research and testing behind it, demonstrating a new discovery about how it might help your game.
And the methodology behind the craft
Similarly, keeping up with the latest developments in golfing technique can become addictive.
When we read the instruction column in Golf Monthly or watch golf instruction on television, we often come across hints or adjustments that we believe could assist us in becoming better in our pursuit of the unattainable goal described earlier.
The fact that many of these technique adjustments will work for us motivates us to look for the next modification that might assist us in moving forward – even the best professionals can’t avoid tinkering in order to improve just a little bit more.
“We fear bad shots, we fear playing badly, and when somebody, a manufacturer or an instructor, comes along and says, ‘you’re never going to miss a tee shot again,’ or ‘never miss a putt again,’ that quells the fear for a period of time,” says Karl Morris. “We fear bad shots because we fear playing badly.”
“And if a particular learned technique can protect you from bad shots, the fear response will be dulled,” the author continues. The hope that we will become better players thanks to advancements in technique and technology speaks to our deepest-seated anxieties about performing poorly.
The game of golf features a lot of repetition. Driving range practice can be very relaxing, especially when you make some good shots. Keeping a steady pace while strolling around the golf course has a calming effect.
The act of going to the golf club, putting together one’s gear, teeing off at the allotted time, and playing all 18 holes in succession is repetitive and can be a source of comfort.
Due to the fact that golf is a game that involves a lot of repetitive motion, it can quickly become addictive.
According to Morris, “anything repetitive has the tendency to calm us down.” “Doing the same thing over and over again has a calming effect on the human mind. People who meditate focus on repetitive breathing, and runners talk about the runner’s high.”
The requirement for participation in social activities
We are all, to a greater or lesser extent, addicted to social interaction, and playing golf is a great way to get a concentrated dose of it.
Spending four hours in the company of up to three other people while playing golf, in addition to the people you might meet on the course and in the clubhouse, is very beneficial for the mental health of the player.
“We are social creatures. The concept of groups has been central to the process of evolution, and it is thanks to groups that we have been able to endure over the millennia. “When that was taken away from us because of the pandemic, we all suffered,” says Morris.
“When I did video calls for golf clubs, I was able to see the joy on people’s faces as they caught up with friends they hadn’t seen in a few months who were on the call with them. They desired that kind of interaction with other people.
The game of golf can be quite addictive.
Although divorce attorneys from around the world could probably cite some cases that would demonstrate otherwise, fortunately, it is not the most destructive addiction out there. However, in general, it is a healthy way to satisfy the addictive side of our personalities.
“Yes, addictions to things like golf, fitness, or other sports, in reasonable proportions can be really quite positive,” says Morris. “But the key is to keep those proportions in check.”
Continue to hunt the dragon and search for the next piece of advice that could prove to be the deciding factor, in the meantime, hit some more balls and invest in a new driver.
However, the most important thing you can do is to relax, have fun with your family and friends, and acknowledge how fortunate you are to be able to play golf.
Fergus has a handicap of one and plays golf to an obsessive level. His upbringing in the North East of Scotland instilled a lifelong passion for the game of golf, which was honed during his time spent studying history at St. Andrews University. After that, he continued his education at the London School of Journalism and received a postgraduate diploma there. Since 2004, Fergus has been employed by Golf Monthly, and he has authored two books pertaining to the sport: “Great Golf Debates,” written in collaboration with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly; and “The Ultimate Golf Book,” written in collaboration with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)… When Fergus was playing the 18th hole of the Old Course, he once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark’s Wynd. The ball struck the St. Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, where he was able to save par. Who says there isn’t a god who plays golf?