Learning Golf as a Runner and Athlete

Golf is very difficult. In fact, it is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. For every good ball you hit, there are 20 that are terrible. I swing and miss every now and again, but for the most part, I hit the ball. That said, I do not hit the ball straight or in the air. A lot of my friends explained to me that being a runner and athlete can actually make the game of golf harder. What game is harder as an athlete?

My orthodontist and good friend Dr. Derek Sanders always jokes with me that taking up the game of golf is a glutton for punishment. I didn’t believe him when I first picked up golf clubs, but now I am starting to believe him. Every time I visit him, usually twice a year, he asks me about my golf game. I always joke that it is alive and well but not thriving. What I have noticed is that many dentists and orthodontists are out on the golf course on Fridays. I never understood why this was the case until I realized that almost all dental and orthodontic offices are closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While dentists usually spend time with their children on the weekends, they have the opportunity to get out on Fridays.

So, where do I stand? Well, at this point, I am happy to be on any green with a putt for bogey. This means I have a chance to go one over par. While we all strive for par, this is not realistic for my game; right now. Instead of getting down about it, I have accepted par for me is different than par for the guys and gals that play golf all the time and are good.

Some people have asked me about my handicap. I would guess that I am about a 36 handicap. This means that on most rounds I am going to shoot 30 strokes more than par. So, if the course is a par 72 I would shoot 72+36=108.

Every time I play, my goal is to get close to 100, but the more important goal is to enjoy myself and have fun. There are many evenings and afternoons that I have the opportunity to walk nine holes. The course I usually play at is a very short course and the holes are close together so it is not difficult to walk nine.

Walking 18 is a different story. There are a number of uphill holes on the back 9 and the 17th hole is very uphill. After you have already walked 16 holes, the uphill 17th is quite the grind.

Have you heard that golf is more difficult for runners and athletes? The reason I would think this is the case is because I try to use my athletic ability to hit the ball rather than letting my body and the club do the work. While it would be best to get lessons, I am not willing to make that financial commitment. I will go out, walk 9 holes, hit a few good shots and enjoy myself.

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