If you’re not a golf aficionado like me, then playing 18 holes of golf sounds like absolute torture to you. Playing nine holes of golf? Bearable. Playing 18 holes though takes it to a whole new playing field. Mainly how is one supposed to play 18 holes of golf and still find it enjoyable after hole five? In my life, up until this past Sunday, I have only ever played nine holes of golf. This past Sunday at a parent-child golf outing at the local country club, I finally played my first full 18 hole round of golf and most importantly, I survived it.

Since I officially have one 18 hole round of golf under my belt I feel like it is my duty to tell the other golfers out there how I made it through. It should also be known that I am not the next Jordan Speith or Jason Day. So if you are good at golf, then 18 holes sounds enjoyable, but if you are less than stellar like me, then playing 18 holes is not your ideal cup of tea.

As my dad says golf is a timeless sport that can be played amongst the generations. Sometimes when I play really well, I see where he’s coming from. Other times I want to break my club in half and stomp on my ball because the sport is so frustrating. Needless to say, like every sport, practice makes perfect. No one can expect to be great at golf after picking up the club the first time, but man wouldn’t that be great?

Whether you’re a beginner to the game of golf, a mediocre player or a long time challenger here are some tricks of the trade of how to survive 18, enjoyable, holes of golf.

Good company.

While this may be a given sometimes you get stuck in situations where you’re playing golf with people whose company you do not enjoy. If you are going to commit and play 18 holes, then you better make sure that you surround yourself with people that you can stand for 4-5 hours depending on how good you are. For the sake of you sanity of course.

Snacks.

When you’re out on the green for that long there has got to be some fuel in your system. Granted you can’t have a full course meal out on the course, but a few pretzels, peanuts and goldfish here or there really keep the stomach from grumbling. If you think you can make it four hours without eating and not eating “hangry,” then I salute you and all of your efforts.

Alcohol.

A little alcohol can go a long way. Whether you’re having a cocktail, a beer or a mimosa, having a little alcohol with the game reminds you that this is an activity that is not to be taken too seriously. Your biggest rival is yourself and once you have a bit of alcohol you realize that at the end of the day you’re only looking to improve your game and not competing against the others.

A caddy.

If you decide to walk all 18 holes, then you’ll definitely be getting your steps in, but can I recommend a caddy? If you’re playing a private course, then I truly would say to take a cart. If not, then get yourself a caddy. Sometimes they don’t do much, but it makes your life so much easier when you don’t have to carry your bag full of clubs. Sure, you carry your bag from the car to the golf cart and think it’s not that heavy, but when you are pushing hole 10 and the sun is beating down on you, I can guarantee that you are going to be wishing you had a caddy at this point.

Have fun.

So what you’ve made it into the sand trap on all 18 holes? Are you having fun? That’s all that matters. It is no big that your putt totally surpassed the green and ended up, again, back in the sand trap. As long as you are able to laugh at yourself and enjoy your time than the numbers on the scorecard don’t matter. Golf is a game that is meant to be played for enjoyment and not frustration. Remember that when you end up in the water or cocooned in a bush. It's all for the love of the game, which I'll admit I'm still trying to find.