This post is inspired by a golf blog that our official Look Around Social Media Butterfly and resident everything web genius gal, Colleen, found while looking through everything golf on the internet. She forwarded it to me and I was hooked. The blog is the Chicago Golf Noob and it is vastly informative and entertaining, and if you’re a beginner to the game, a great resource and comfort. So who and what exactly is the Chicago Golf Noob, you ask?
Well, for starters, his name is Chris Sharp and he is all of us. Because we’ve all been there, no matter where we are with our game now, and that place is the beginning. Think back on that for a moment. Yeah, remember? Whether you’ve played a thousand rounds, a 100 rounds or you’ve just won the Masters, you remember the beginning.
Golf is damn intimidating for many. Or scary, as the Chicago Golf Noob puts it. There’s a seemingly endless supply of rules and etiquette, (both spoken and unspoken) that can make those first times out, well scary. No one wants to look or feel the fool, and frankly, there’s no better game at doing just that than golf. Then there’s the cost factor of playing the game. Let’s face it, clubs, balls and the other essentials, not to mention green fees can be expensive. There’s lots of things that stand in the way of getting past your fears and into the game. The bottom line? Stepping up to that first tee for the first time can be both exhilarating and nerve wracking.
What makes the Chicago Golf Noob so valuable is the fact that he’s chronicling his journey as a golfer here in Chicago. He plays the local courses and writes about his experience. Simple. Direct. Brilliant. His blog is the tale of a guy moving through, what I call, the Five Stages of Golf. And it makes for some damn entertaining reading, especially if you’re either new to the game, or considering diving head first into the madness and magnificence that is golf. The Chicago Golf Noob also talks about equipment, terminology, golf rules and golf tips. But for me, it’s his recounting of his rounds that I find most enetertaining.
So what are the Five Stages? Here’s my take on it…
1.) Golf is scary. Oh, hell yes it is! Real scary when you are first going out. Just trying to hit the ball in some semblance of straight, was, for me, a major event. I was shanking balls into the woods with every swing. Then there’s all the worry about the etiquette and such. I screwed up plenty, and to be honest, still have the occasional guffaw, over some unspoken rule. Just trying to get through a round without killing a squirrel or, god forbid, sending a ball screaming into another foursome on another fairway, created plenty of nervous fear. Yeah, golf is scary.
2.) Golf is rewarding. As insane as it sometimes feels, as frustrating as 5 putting a hole, there is very little that feels more rewarding, more life affirming than driving the ball down the middle of the fairway. Watching it sail along in perfect geometry towards the hole. Or, when for some mystical and magical reason you read the breaks (or just get freaking lucky) and drop a 20 foot putt for par to the amazement of your golf buddies. But beyond the game itself, the strokes and swings, the divine and rare (at least for me) moments of triumph and victory, there’s the amazing serenity of being on a golf course. There is something so peaceful, so perfectly Zen about being out on a beautiful day. The sky a glorious blue, the various shades of green and, if you’re lucky enough to be on a great course, the awesome views. But the truth is, even on the most mundane of courses, even with houses and other distractions present, there is a serenity and peace to being on the course, away from the grind, sharing the game with your friends.
3.) Golf is challenging. Yes, yes it is. A wicked little challenge that, like all great challenges in life, offers only a temporary triumph over. The game and the courses always win in the end. I’ve experienced the divine joy of a birdie on a tough par 4, only to double bogey the next par 3. No matter if you play the same course every week, there’s always a new shot, a new angle a new challenge to confront. The game is genius. It keeps you coming back by giving you just enough of a victory (that birdie on five) to offset the humbling and crushing defeats (that triple bogey on 16) and give you hope for the next time out.
4.) Golf is fun. It truly is. No matter the outcome. Unless of course you’re playing for money, which brings a totally different level of challenge and frustration to the game. But if you’re out there either alone or with friends, the game is fun. As long as you don’t take it seriously. It’s just fun to whack the ball and laugh at your own foibles and mistakes. It’s damn fun to crush a drive and watch it soar, straight and true, towards it’s intended destination. It’s fun to mess about and check stuff out in the Pro Shop. It’s fun to enjoy a cold beverage in the lounge afterwards. It’s fun to talk about. In short, yes, golf is damn fun.
5.) Golf is life. The perfect microcosm. Golf has all the joys, triumphs and heartbreaking frustrations that, in the end, make life worth living. Let’s face it, if it was all smooth sailing, would we really have a great life? I think not. We need the downs to appreciate the ups. Golf is the same way. And golf, like life, really is built on relationships. Our relationship to others we share a game and a round with. Our relationship to ourselves. Golf, like life, makes us better, causes us to grow and certainly teaches us how, or at least, gives us the opportunity to deal with setbacks and losses. It doesn’t matter if you can’t break 120 or whether you are consistently at or around par, the game is a great teacher and a perfect mirror.
As for the Chicago Golf Noob, I highly recommend checking his blog out. You won’t get stunning and in-depth course reviews, but you will get solid writing and more than a few laughs and insights as he marches through the local courses (many of which we feature here on Look Around Golf) and describes his game. Like me, I’m sure you’ll find yourself relating to more than a few of his words.
I’ve decided to add links to the courses we feature on Look Around Golf that the Chicago Golf Noob has written about. The CGN is great and a wonderful resource for anyone looking to take up the game or just survive the ‘golf is scary’ phase. He is also a great reminder to keep a beginner’s mind when playing this wonderful, exhilarating, frustrating game.
Now, go be a noob and have some fun!