November 22, 2010
Golf is Like Skiing
When I book to play on a large golf course, I prepare myself as I would for a day of skiing. Golf and skiing are time intensive sports and I must re-arrange my day and make the necessary cancellations to give myself that luxury of time. I will therefore wake up early for a day of golf, sometimes teeing off at 7am, either because I am escaping the heat or simply because I can catch up with the rest of the family sooner if I start earlier.
Eating properly before and during a golf game is important. Golf requires energy and concentration and a good breakfast is a must. The bananas and energy bars I take along also remind me of the supplements found in my ski anorack.
Golf equipment can be as cumbersome as ski equipment. The clubs weigh almost the same as skis, are odd-sized and somehow must be carried around despite their weight.
Often weather is the issue. We are fortunate not to worry about rain in Dubai but we have to be very careful about the sun and can justifiably complain about the humidity. I have even coined it as "bikram golf". I may add that it is almost as dynamic as bikram yoga because your heart rate goes up when you are running to the next hole, striding on the green. I spend so much time running after "ridiculous" balls that it becomes "power golf"! The day will come when I will walk the course because my game has improved. I will then score no more than 5 on a long hole and spend the time walking, with no worry about making the players behind me, wait too long.
Nature is at the center of both games. People may argue that these manicured lawns of golf are environmentally incorrect, a waste of water, but aren't parcs manicured as well? One thing is for sure, golf is half a day spent outdoors, in the fresh air, admiring beautiful landscapes, the same way skiiers look at mountainscapes. The sense of escape is the same. In Dubai, I have encountered fully lawned courses as well as desert landscaped courses. Both types are charming in their own way.
In both skiing and golf, snow and grass are respectively our main preoccupation. These are the elements we deal with. Skiiers and golfers are always dwelling on that subject. They say eskimos have a multitude of names for snow. They should hear Scottish golf pros talk about grass!
I would say that golf is more cerebral, technique focused and emotional. Like with tennis, I can get very frustrated with myself. Golf can therefore be less of an escape and a release than skiing. But I must say that I have never spent a day of golf when I was always mad at myself. I eventually warmed up and played better and playing better than worse is always a happy improvement.
Golf, like skiing is a family sport which is conducive to bonding and to quality time. I cannot wait for the other children to join my eldest and me! In fact golf has been a very good measuring yard with my son. I can assess his maturity with his progress as he becomes a keener player, one that wants to hear the tips from his coaches and apply them and especially one that contains his behavior to a disciplined stance. Golf demands quiet, respect, protocol and concentration.
It is hard to change the image of golf because of the senior citizens who play it, and because of the less fit people who choose it as their only sport. I can vouch however that there are a large number of young, talented, calculating and fit players out there. In fact, my son's swim coach recommended swimming for golf because swimming allows for the suppleness that is required for excellent golf playing.