Golf Is The Most Difficult Sport

Golf Is The Most Difficult Sport

Happy Gilmore is my spirit animal when I miss a putt.
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For most sports, like football for example, even if you do not excel at it, being athletic will still make you adequate. That goes for most sports, as long as you are fast and quick you will usually keep up with the studs. Golf on the other hand is not like that at all. Golf is one of the few sports where you can't muscle your way to greatness, and because of this reason it is the hardest sport ever.

Now, many people will begin to disagree and say rugby or boxing or one of those physically challenging sports that take endurance, is by far the hardest sport. While you are right, those sports are extremely difficult, they are also ones where you can muscle your way through half the time.

The reason I pick golf over any other sport as most difficult is because what the concept of the game is. Golf is where you take a four foot metal rod with a head at the end, and hit a ball that is one inch in diameter, at a hole in the ground. Not only that, but the hole is hundreds of yards away and the only way to detect where the target is, is by a big flag sticking out of the hole that should say, "you will never hit me."

When you see professional golfers on television they drive the ball at least 300 yards easily, so like many of you who have never played, I, too, thought all you do is Babe Ruth your way to this flag. But, like you, I was wrong. If you try to swing the club as hard as you can thinking you're Happy Gilmore, your club will most likely go farther than the ball. Hitting the ball far is not about a powerful swing like in baseball, it is about properly swinging.

It mainly starts with your first approach or your drive. The reason golf is the only sport where it's rude to cheer and has it's own 'clap' is because it takes more concentration than studying. Everything has to be lined up just right and your hands just so. Even if you get that down you can still mess up. Lean too far back and you're slicing it right and are going to have to Sandlot it out of someone's back yard. Too far over the ball and who knows where it will go.

The main reason it's so hard to hit a golf ball correctly is that it's not even close to baseball. Like I said, it's not a power game, it's all about precision. It can take years to get your swing down properly until it's muscle memory.

Now, lets say you have your swing down enough so it's decent and you don't look like you just started. The next thing you have to worry about is everything else. Once that ball is in the air you pray it lands on the fairway. If it lands in the sand bunker its the opposite of a beach paradise and you may as well give yourself three strokes on your score card automatically because, there is no way you're getting out of there in one swing.

Again, for the sake of assumption, you hit it on the fairway, you now have to deal with the type of club you are going to use. Which then brings up the very first problem: the swing. Hitting the ball with an iron requires a completely new swing. Now you really have to make sure you know what you're doing. Maybe you can get away with punching the ball from the box, but now that you're close your early-years-Tiger Woods has to come out. Your back swing may have to be less and even if it doesn't you still have the chance of not getting underneath the ball enough and it not even going in the air and just looking like a really aggressive putt. Again it's all about precision. Hitting the ball at the perfect angle requires the right amount of back swing, club angle and how far under the ball you get. It's like a really majestic upper cut.

Lastly, is putting; the part of golf where it feels the most intense. The worst part of putting is that it looks so simple but it's very deceiving. If you make it to the green without pulling your hair out then don't get too excited. Reading greens is like another reading level not even the advanced readers in elementary school got to. It's difficult. This is when you need to know how the green moves, where the bumps are and how hard to hit the ball. If you are an amateur and do not play often then putting is all luck because hitting the ball in on the first try seems to never happen. After finally scoring just remember, you have 17 more holes of fun left.

If you are someone with very low patience or thinks golf is something you can master in a day than this is not the sport for you. It's not easy to pick up and just because you're a business man does not mean you are going to be excellent; don't let the movies fool you. Golf takes the right technique from the grip of the club to where your feet line up. Nothing about golf is easy, and it takes years to master. Hell, even the professionals mess up and they're paid to make it look easy. Golf is the hardest sport there is, and anyone who says different has never played before.


In dedication to my grandpa Don Swanson, who just turned 81 and has been playing golf most his life

Cover Image Credit: PlayBuzz

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Taking A Step Back From My Sport Allowed Me To Be Able To Work On These 3 Things

Sometimes you need time away to appreciate the things you love.

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Since the age of nine, horses have been my whole life. Before college, I never had your typical teenage experience. My weekends were spent driving two hours one way to train with a top show barn. My mom and I lived out of our suitcases during the summers, traveling from one show to the next.

The only glimpse of the senior prom I got was through Snapchat's my friends sent of them having the time of their life, while I was going to bed at nine to make sure I had plenty of sleep to compete the next day. I even graduated early to go work for a show barn in Florida for five months. I missed out on a lot, but it never felt that way because of how passionate I was about the sport. I was all in, I loved the thrill of competing, the early mornings, the long days, and most of all: the horses. If you would have told me that I would be here writing about feeling burned out a year ago, I would have laughed.

Going away to college and having to put a bit of pause on my athletic career allowed me to take a step back, breathe, and realize there is so much more than horse shows and blue ribbons to this world. If I could instill a piece of wisdom to my younger self it would be that taking a step back at times is the best thing you can do for yourself. Here is what I learned:

1. Mental health

As many of you know, the pressure of succeeding can put a toll on anyone. I have always been extremely hard on myself, but when I was showing almost every weekend I really started to notice that I would feel upset more than I felt happy. I could win the class but still, come out of the ring criticizing myself over every little thing that went wrong. Because of this, I went into the ring nervous and doubtful. It wasn't fun anymore.

After taking a step back, I have realized that there will always be ups and downs in any sport. I now go into the ring much more confident and I come out smiling- even when it didn't go as planned. There will always be another chance.

2. Physical health

Like any sport, riding takes a toll on your body. After working in Florida for five months, riding up to 12 horses a day, I really felt like something was wrong with my back. However, I pushed through the pain, convincing myself of the quote "no pain no gain". I continued to ignore it, until one day it was unbearable.

I went to the doctor and sure enough, I had herniated my L5 disc. He told us this was completely preventable if I would have rested or taken an hour out of my day to ice and stretch when the pain started. After months of healing and being on a first name basis with my chiropractor, I have realized just how important it is to put my wellness first.

3. Relationships

Taking a step back has also allowed me to develop better relationships with myself, family, and friends. Before, I had such a narrow mind frame and would allow my performance to dictate how I treated people that day. Now after a rough day, I am much better at putting it behind me and not dwelling on it.

I have also realized that I need time to just be "still". Practicing yoga, or meditating for five minutes has made a world of a difference in my relationship with myself (yes, that is a thing).

While packing up to go to school this past August, knowing I would be taking a step back from the sport I love, I felt as though I would never ride as well as I did when it consumed my whole life. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I am now going into the show ring with a clear mind and leaving with a smile on my face.

To my surprise, it has been more than me starting to have fun again- I am riding better, and getting more consistent results than I had before. So, to all those athletes out there that fear to take a step back from their own sport, I am here to tell you that it may just be the best thing you can do for your performance and yourself...

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