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Does Golf Remain Fun?

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My brother and I have discussed this topic for years. I agree with his conclusion that we don’t play golf because it is fun. We play it because it is really challenging, and that on the intermittent occasions that we do it really well we get great satisfaction; which is fun.

Former top 30 PGA Tour player.

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Golf has taught me how competitively self-centered I am. Bad golf frustrates me because I want to appear better at it than than I am.

It's the same syndrome that makes me want to "look good" on the first tee, when actually everyone else is wondering how they look in their new golf sweaters.

My best rounds over the years came when I didn't "care" so much, snoozing in the cart between shots.

Best, -Marv



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At one stage in my life I had a 0.02 handicap, this was more in my younger days. 
Now being in my 50s I still carry a single digit handicap, Just!
I have good days and bad depending if I have some form of over the counter medication. 
So yes golf has fun and not so fun days, but this also depends on who you’re playing with, some friends are chill and like to, let me say this. Liquid assistance, normally a fun day no matter what.

Some are a nightmare and you need to be a shrink when you play with them, not so fun. 

I will round this up, I love the game, even if Im playing golf like a one legged pirate, that chance of a hole in one, albatross or eagle is still out there, somewhere!

Titleist TRS Driver, Titleist TSR 3 Wood, Titleist TRS 2 Hybrid, Titleist T300 irons, Vokey SM9 wedges 56 - 60, Scotty Cameron putter. 

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When I find myself in the middle of a tough round, I will step away from the game and focus on the surrounding scenery and conversation with playing partners. For me, this mental reset allows me to take the edge off of the self-imposed pressure and relax. While it doesn't always provide desired results it does put it all back in proper perspective.

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I found golf to be my zen garden when going through a rough patch in life. My dad gave some advice that I needed to find something to do that was solely beneficial to me. 

I started playing 9-18 holes by myself 2-3 days a week. naturally my game improved and it was a great positive outcome, but it was just as nice to have several hours to myself, in the sun, listen to music and just decompress from a stressful day. 

Still remains true today, but as I have gotten better, I have also become more competitive and enjoyed competing in events. It always feels good to take money off your buddies or win a member/guest!

Fletcher Fairbanks Martin


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I've found it ebbs and flows. I look forward to league every week and sometimes I'll practice beforehand, but I've been dealing with fatigue issues for a few years and it just sucks the life out of me. I can feel it when I wake up if it's going to be a good round or not. I had one day last season where I felt great when I woke up and shot a personal best 85, beating my previous PB by 6.

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52 years playing and I still love it.

Up here in Saskatchewan, I play indoors in a league on a simulators on Wednesday nights from October to March. For me I look forward to Wednesday like it is a holiday day every week.

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On 1/24/2024 at 8:59 AM, Josh Parker said:

I recently had a discussion with my wife about how some rounds are frustrating and in general about how hard the game of golf can be.  It really got me thinking about a topic and figured I would start one to see what everyone else has to say.

We never become perfect in golf, and I truly believe that this is something that keeps most of us coming back week after week.  Whether it is enjoying being outdoors walking the course, out with friends or co-workers, or competing in competitions, we are all out here because we love the game. 

So, my question to the Spies is this: As you get better at the game of golf, does it become less fun and more about a personal contest within yourself or does the game continue to remain just as fun as when you started?

I was trying to explain to my wife that I have hard days on the course and it's not because I don't love the game or enjoy spending the time outdoors, but because I know that I could have played better.  I am honestly trying to think where that turn happened for me, where I quit saying, "I'm learning the game" and on to "I know I have this shot or could have played better."

Was it at a certain handicap or a particular moment in a round?  

I know every day that I get on the course or out to the range that I love playing golf and that hopefully will never go away but I do have days that I am working on enjoying the round more.

Does golf remain fun? That is an interesting question. I struggled last year and was often frustrated after a lot of rounds. I started playing competitive golf again after playing recreationally for 10 years. To be honest, I didn't think I was ever going to be playing competitively again. Years ago I was injured in the Air Force and had to have several back surgeries. I had to retire from service after 22 years, short of my goal to serve 30 years. I didn't think I could play competitively again. I was just playing for the fun of it. Last season I finally let some golfers talk me into playing competitive golf and joined the VGA. I wasn't ready for the disappointment of failing. I played in a club championship for the first time in forever. I was horribly disappointed and played some of the most uninspiring golf I have ever played. I couldn't get off the tee. I couldn't manage the course, couldn't make routine putts and shots. I finished last. It was embarrassing and my mental part of the game was in question. It carried over to the VGA. Every player that knew me was asking what happened; where was my game? My wife asked me why I was putting myself through all the disappointment and maybe I should quit playing competitive golf and just go back to playing recreationally. I lost sleep over it, constantly questioning what I was doing. Spent hours on the range, practicing the basics, realigning, re-gripping, shallowing, my stance, weak-strong-neutral grip. Lots of work, but I never gave up. Was last season fun? Last season was full of disaster, full of disappointment, full of questions. I look at last season as a journey, full of ups and downs. And after reflecting on it, I still had fun. 

As the new season starts for me, I am still having fun. I look forward to the next chapter in my great book of life and the sport I love. I am so happy that I have the support at home and that my wife always seems to inspire and support me and my chase; not for perfection, but for getting better, learning something new, remembering something good. I am resolute. I am trying hard. Not just to play better golf, but to be a better person too. Golf gives that to me; that chance. I love this game and yes, it is still fun! I can't wait for the next round, the next practice, the next birdie or bogey, whatever it may be. Because I will learn from it, and I will have fun doing it. Happy Birdie Hunting!!!

I could play golf every day and learn something new each round. 

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On 1/24/2024 at 11:10 AM, Middler said:

I started young and focused on improving and tournament competition for about 10 years, my lowest HI was in high school, and I’ll never match that again. I don’t have an interest in spending the time and effort to match those days. I guess I’ve moved past pure competitive golf to social competitive golf? TBH the latter is more fun to me than pure competitive golf.

Since then I have enjoyed golf for three reasons - the golf itself, just being active/outdoors, and the camaraderie. I try my best every round (still play in leagues and occasional tournaments) but I stopped getting better many years ago, with good days and bad days. But even when I’m not playing well, I enjoy it all the same. I had the best round of my life (59 years playing) in June, but I didn’t enjoy that day more or less than any other. Maybe not what you’re getting at but if I ever reach the point again that my enjoyment hinges on how I play above all else, I am sure I will lose interest in golf as an pastime…

Wow - what a great thread/question to ask.  I think the first response here is a great one.  I have been playing for 53 years now - starting playing with my dad when I was young. I have always enjoyed playing golf no matter what it was - casual, tournament, league, anything. It has been called the greatest game because the challenge is really with you and not vs someone else - haha, unless you let them in your head and make it against someone else.

You learn a lot about people on the course and about yourself. There is not just the golf either - you can get into being a club ho, you can get into the golf gear as well - clothing, training stuff, simulators, backyard green. So many possibilities.

For me golf is limitless in the possibilities where you can take it and just like during a round, the quality of your entire golf life is what do you focus on. Do you focus on the bad shot you just hit into the sh&t or does your mind immediately go into recovery mode and enjoy that recovery shot you pulled off. I think golf is what you make it and you can take it in so many directions.  For me it is always fun. Awesome question!

Edited by ajlacombe
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Its funny this topic would come up, yesterday after a few bad holes a playing partner came to me and said, "you know you'd enjoy the game much more if you'd move up to the yellows!"  I responded "I still feel too young to move up" but he did get me thinking, at what time or age do you or should you move up?  I'm 67 but feel younger.

Mountain golfer

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Similar to what everyone else has been saying, I love the battle and competition with one's self when I play golf. While I can get [very] upset on a few rounds because I'm not playing to my ability, there is always a shot or full hole that brings me back every time. 

chasing a number has been my main goal for the last 3 years. i usually hovered in the high 70's low 80's and my goal 3 years ago was to shoot even par at least once. Once I accomplished that I want to be a consistent shooting in the 70's, check. Next the goal was to break 70... Then I had my first kid and I thought it would never happen. But, it did out of the blue this past season.

Long story short this game is a never ending pursuit of perfection that we will never grasp. Understanding there is always next time has helped me mellow my temper, somewhat, on the course and just enjoy the day. Some days you got it some days you don't!

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We've all been there. I had a round last year that got so bad that Callaway texted me and asked for its clubs back. Yet, no matter how frustrating golf can be, I keep going back. Golf is unlike any other sport. It's hard to just dabble at golf. It's a commitment. It's darn hard too. You have to love it, not just like it. Golf isn't a sport, it's an affliction. However, a bad round doesn't mean it's a bad day. Golf is the invitation to get to hang out with friends. Even if my round is not going well, it's always fun to watch a friend do well and cheer him on. Golf also allows me to enjoy a hobbie with my wife and watch as she brings her own enthusiasm to the game. I can't count how many times I've been at a meeting in work and would have done anything to be on a golf course instead. So yes, it can be incredibly frustrating at times, but it's the 25 foot puts or the birdies that we remember. On these cold winter days, I would gladly sign up for a nice frustrating round of golf! Now that would be fun.

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One of my best friends (we've known each other since we were 1-2 years old) played in college (Big South Player of the Year in 1998) and then played on the Canadian Tour.  He didn't seem to enjoy golf.  That really made an impression on me, and I decided then that I would always appreciate the round I was playing.

The moment this realization really hit home with me was about 15-16 years ago, I was playing in a men's league with my dad as my partner.  At the time, I was in my late 20's and he was in his early 50's.  He was still in really great shape, and could MASH the ball.  It was an absolutely beautiful evening and I realized hat he wouldn't always be in this shape, and I tried to be really mindful to enjoy every outing with him from that moment on.  It spilled over into every round I play.

20+ years later, I still LOVE golf.  I love grinding, I love being with my dad/friends out on the course, I love the courses, I love the gear, I love watching YouTube videos, etc...  I play on weekends with my friends, and will do stuff like putt up a hill and try to let the putt leak back down into the hole, or skip a ball across the water to see if I can do it.  I play in the Wednesday Night League (defending champion) and take it kinda seriously; my teammate and I basically laugh the entire round.  Then I play in some match play events and grind the entire round, serious-ish demeanor and high concentration level throughout the entire round.  Because of this (and my length because I swing HARD), I get accused of being a sandbagger occasionally, but really golf isn't just 1 thing to me, it's several.  And I enjoy them all. 

My teammate in WNL always says to me "you're doing it again."  He recognizes me looking around at the course, the sky, etc.. and knows I'm just taking it in.

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My grandfather was a scratch handicap deep into his 60s and continued to play until he was 83.  I was with him the day he shot his last round at even par sometime in his mid-70s.  The smile on his face said everything.  In his mind, he had just played a perfect round of golf.  

I've now reached the age where his game gently started falling apart and I'm watching friends forced to give up the game because it's too painful to tee it up I appreciate that I'm still out here and still trying to get better.  

I'd say more but I have a tee time at 5 Iron Golf.  The season has begun.  

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There are a lot of really good perspectives here. I think it’s a frustration that keeps us coming back. If golf was easy, none of us would be addicted. It’s knowing just how hard the perfect shot is, and how rare it is that makes it so enjoyable when we do accomplish it.

I can tell you along my journey, the better I get the less I play, but it doesn’t reduce the amount of enjoyment. When I started shooting consistently mid 70s, I was content playing once or twice a week, before I would try and play four or five times a week, and think about it all the time.

I had shoulder surgery about two years ago, and I struggled coming back. I found myself in the same situation of wanting to play for five times a week, grinding it out, figuring it out. As I’m making the same progress again I’m finding myself experiencing the same feelings. getting the same amount of enjoyment out of less golf but not enjoying it any less

Edited by knotthead17

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I think we all have days where we get frustrated and know we could've done better. I'm not a great golfer by any means but I have frustrating rounds where I just couldn't do anything right and was out of rhythm the entire round. I think some of it can also be about mindset. If you're out playing by yourself, those will be the rounds where you challenge yourself. If you're out with a foursome or just a friend or two, then those are the rounds where you focus more on the fun of the game. After all, golf is more fun when you're playing with your friends.


Livin that San Diego Life

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Before taking a "break" from golf after the 2009 season (didn't start playing again in any real way until I retired in 2019) I had played in a Monday night golf league with a bunch of guys from work. On one of these Mondays, I remember coming home from league in a pretty foul mood after a frustrating round and my wife asked me why I continued to play if I wasn't having any fun.  After a few years and a few more frustrating rounds, I did stop playing. 

So why did I start playing again? Because I missed being outdoors in beautiful surroundings getting exercise, I missed the challenge and competition and most importantly, I missed the comradery. If I had an index when I started playing again, it probably would have been around 30 (I was about a 16 when I quit) and I ended 2023 at 20.8, so I get to enjoy improving all over again! 

I think that I've gotten better at keeping my expectations realistic, enjoying the walk and meeting new people and so I have a great time each time I play. 

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Hello All,

I don't feel that I have an "addictive" personality however, when it comes to golf I think I just might.  Golf for me is pretty simple.  No matter how well I play, I can easily look back to many shots, chips, putts, etc. during that round that could have been better.  Those better shots would have resulted in lowering my score even if only by 1 stroke, but it's usually more like a few strokes per round but regardless, it's clear to see how easily I could/should have shot better.  Then there's the "other" rounds where nothing really goes my way and the whole game is just off and I shoot an out of range round much higher than normal.  The same principal still applies though as I can look back and count all the shots that could/should have been better which would also result in a better score.   Sooo... for me, no matter what I do good, great, the best round, terrible, the worst round... after each round I feel I can do better next time and it always makes me want to go back out and do it again.  Golf is the hardest most frustrating sport I have ever played and I've played many sports throughout my life.  It's also the most rewarding and best sport I've played for too many reasons to list here.  

Not sure anyone feels similar to me as we all have our reasons to love and or hate this game all at once.  Sometimes I think I'm more afraid of getting injured and not being able to play golf anymore than I am of dying.  Not physically being able to play golf would be such mental torture I'm not sure anything else could replace what golf is to/for me.  

Hope that rant makes sense to someone else!  

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On 1/24/2024 at 10:50 AM, chisag said:

When I am playing well I can't wait to get back on the course and repeat it and when I am playing poorly I can't wait to get back on the course and fix it. 

That's top drawer stuff. Couldn't agree more. 

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Ball: Titleist Pro V1, 1X, Vice Pro Plus or anything I find that day and try out for the fun of it (I haven't bought balls with my own money in at least 10 years)

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On 1/24/2024 at 12:50 PM, chisag said:

When I am playing well I can't wait to get back on the course and repeat it and when I am playing poorly I can't wait to get back on the course and fix it. 

This here, 100%. 

I’ve played the game off and on for over 30 years. I started out just having fun, blissfully ignorant of how to swing or play “properly”, just hit it hard and go hit it hard again. Then I got the idea to get “good”, but didn’t approach it in any moderately productive way. Extreme frustration set in, no more fun.  Stepped back and decided to use it as a venue to drink beer and hang out with friends, fun again. Life got in the way, so I didn’t play for ~7 years. A work scramble inspired me to dust the clubs off, hooked again. I’ve been back for three years now. I committed up front to play strict rules of golf (no more “preferred lies” or “I’ll just drop one here”) and pursue improvement in a structured way. That approach, enabled by greater maturity, has allowed me to go from 32 to 17 HI, but more importantly, have a framework that gives me to confidence to fix things when they inevitably go awry.

So that brings me to the quoted portion. Now that I feel like I have to tools to fix what’s wrong, I’m not frustrated when a round goes sour, I’m excited to get back at it again. If it goes well, I can do better next round. 

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Does golf remain fun? Well yeah it does. There are lots of answers here that I agree with, in fact I have not read one that I disagree with. I have not read anything about base reasons like I really enjoy whacking the crap out of the ball with my driver.  Or seeing my wedge shot curve into the green, bounce twice and stop dead.  Or like on Wednesday this week I made a 60 foot blind luck and superstition big looper putt for a birdie. It meant nothing for the game. I didn't get a stroke there so the birdie would not hold up for a skin, but it was still thrilling to watch my line and speed send the ball exactly where I wanted it to go. 

Are there some days that I cannot wait to walk off the 18th hole? Yes there are. And while I have been trying to figure out a good reliable and repeatable swing since my last shoulder surgery there are probably more days that I have really looking forward to the end of the round than days I want to just keep on playing. But, there is always something good that happens that makes me want to go back.  On those days I shake the hands of the guys I played with and tell them, "It was real and it was fun, but it wasn't real fun."

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Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

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"You're not good enough to get mad" - sophomore or junior year, a college teammate said that to me during a practice round when I was ready to smash my bag with an iron. I hated it in the moment, but he was right - I thought I was better than I was, and had no perspective on how good the really good players actually are. That quote stuck with me over time and was a turning point for me, which led to me enjoying the game a lot more for the last ~15 years. And...I also got better - my handicap has been consistently lower over those years, despite not practicing or playing nearly as much (I had flashier rounds back then, but very streaky). 

It's easy to forget some key things when working toward improvement, especially that potential and production are very different. At the time of this quote, I was about a 5 handicap, rebuilding from what's still probably my worst year of playing since I was 13 (multiple bouts with the shanks, still pulled enough rounds together to keep it to a 5, but 71 and 95 were both in play at the start of any round). I got so wrapped up in my "potential" to hit great shots and shoot good scores (because I had seen myself do it so many times) that I lost sight of how frequently I should expect to hit a good one, and also started to think "reasonable" shots were actually "bad" -- if I missed a green or hit an errant tee shot, it led to anger, both because I knew I could do better, and it meant I had to grind; every question of "how'd you play?" had me saying "terrible", because I had unreasonable expectations for my own skill level. I got lost in thinking I should be better than I was, not accepting faults, and was not having any fun at the time (and, in many rounds, I was no fun to play with either).

That's not to say you should just brush off shots/scores as "I'm not good enough", and it doesn't mean I never get angry over individual shots - it's just a reminder to stay grounded. If you're not putting in multiple hours a day and spending thousands of dollars on lessons, it's OK to scrape it around a bit, and once I started accepting that in the moment, the game became fun again. My tendency now is to laugh off bad shots rather than be tempted to smash something, and if I go out and shoot 85, I no longer beat myself up over it - instead, I just think about what I should practice next, and aim to play better next time (and if I don't, just repeat the thought process). 

Driver: :taylormade-small: Stealth Plus 8* (adjusted to 8.75*), Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 70 X Flex (New toy incoming!)

Fairway: :taylormade-small: Stealth2 Plus, 15* (adjusted to 14.25*) w/ Graphite Design Tour AD-IZ 7X

Irons:  :titleist-small: U505 1 Iron (16*), T200 "Utility Build" 3 and 4 irons, all with Graphite Design Tour AD-IZ 95 X Flex, :titleist-small: T100S 5-9 with Nippon Pro Modus 120 X Flex (2021 MGS Test). These things are monsters. 

Wedges:  :vokey-small: SM9 46.10, 54.12, and 58.08, all with custom etchings & KBS Tour Masters-themed shafts, X-flex (CHA Post)

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On 1/24/2024 at 10:59 AM, Josh Parker said:

I recently had a discussion with my wife about how some rounds are frustrating and in general about how hard the game of golf can be.  It really got me thinking about a topic and figured I would start one to see what everyone else has to say.

We never become perfect in golf, and I truly believe that this is something that keeps most of us coming back week after week.  Whether it is enjoying being outdoors walking the course, out with friends or co-workers, or competing in competitions, we are all out here because we love the game. 

So, my question to the Spies is this: As you get better at the game of golf, does it become less fun and more about a personal contest within yourself or does the game continue to remain just as fun as when you started?

I was trying to explain to my wife that I have hard days on the course and it's not because I don't love the game or enjoy spending the time outdoors, but because I know that I could have played better.  I am honestly trying to think where that turn happened for me, where I quit saying, "I'm learning the game" and on to "I know I have this shot or could have played better."

Was it at a certain handicap or a particular moment in a round?  

I know every day that I get on the course or out to the range that I love playing golf and that hopefully will never go away but I do have days that I am working on enjoying the round more.

For a variety of reasons, I stopped playing about 15 years ago.  I'm now 67 and started playing again last spring.  I am enjoying it so much more than before.  My expectations are more realistic and instead of getting worked up over a bad shot, I look at it as a challenge to try to still salvage a decent score on the hole.  Huge regrets about waiting 15 years to resume the game.  

I had shoulder surgery back in December and I am hitting the PT hard with hopes for minimal lost time with spring golf.  


Titleist TSR1 Driver

Titleist TSR1 23 and 26 degree hybrid

Titleist T200 Irons (7-GW)

Cleveland RTX-7 Wedges (52, 56, 60)

Odessey 1.5 putter

Bridgeston Tour BRX-S, Srixon Q-Star Tour

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Golf does remain fun for me, thank goodness. Now more than ever especially since my son (13 yrs old) plays and really enjoys it. My frustration level remains at times, but if I ever have the chance to play, I jump on it and totally look forward to it. One more thing, I know I still enjoy it because I miss it SO much during the winter!!

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I'm now at the other end of the spectrum. I ain't going to get the Call anymore unless it is Gramps "Can you take me to Practise??

So, this is something I have to learn & do & that is "Play Smarter", Learn to Laff at my ugly shots, & generally Stop being a PITA!!

& hit the Odd Good One just to "Tick Off" the Young Guns!!

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I think golf has been a good way for me to do a lot of things that I enjoy. getting better was definite focus for a long time. But at 59 years old now, I realize that the amount of time I put into getting better is not really netting the improvements I used to see. I'm a 6 handicap and getting lower than that might be possible with a commitment to more practice but it's not going to happen. I focus now on seeing wildlife, beer and friendly games among friends. Vacations include playing new courses and taking a few pics of interesting features like waterfalls, creeks, elevated tees or anything weird I can spot. Where else are you going to see a bald eagle swoop down and grab a duck or a squirrel? A few buffalo laying in a field next to a fairway? Last week I was in Scottsdale and a coyote was just laying out in the fairway in the sun while we played 35-40 yards away. Saw a bobcat last year stalking rabbits while we played 50 yards away. I even started keeping a small fishing rod in my bag with a little tackle box and if we get held up near water I have casted out and caught a bass, which was hilarious. Heck, I even found a cool bridge we stopped to take a break on. Golf will get you into some places you would otherwise never see. I haven't seen bigfoot yet, here's a pic that came close. Have fun out there guys because you never know when it's your last. 







Cart: image.png.50e429cab7658fa55a7699ecf1a9bc3b.pngElectric Cart Tek 1500

Driver: :ping-small: G430 LST  10.5  Mitsubishi Kai Li white 60 stiff

3 wood: :ping-small: G430 15 Mitsubishi Kai Li white 67 stiff

3 &4 hybrid:  pxg-logo.gif.f353978c9ce9413281f838c1a44b4b8e.gif0311 Gen 5 Mitsubishi MMT 80 stiff

Irons 5-GW:  pxg-logo.gif.f353978c9ce9413281f838c1a44b4b8e.gifPXG Gen 3 0311T Steelfiber 115 

Wedges: :titelist-small: Vokey SM 6’s gw 50.8, sw 56.8, lob 62.8)

Putter: :odyssey-small: O-Works Red Versa #7S slant neck

Ball:  vice golf.png Vice Pro bridgestone_logo.jpg.4e27c12bc4cae05babb1372e71a3f149.jpg RXS


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I have really worked on my attitude in general, and focus in golf.  I used to be a real hot head, and when that occurred my game suffered, and I had some real miserable rounds, in score and in fun factor.

I still am grumpy somedays and am not myself and usually are my worst days on the course score wise.  But I still try to have fun as I know its better than sitting on the couch, or doing yardwork lol.  It's been a long time since I lost my composure on the course. I'm sure it's been better for my playing partners enjoyment of the game too! lol.

My enjoyment of the game has improved immensely, as has my desire to improve. 

:callaway-small: Paradym 9 degree Driver

:wilson-small: DYNAPWR 3 wood

:callaway-small: Apex 21  PW-4 Iron

:cleveland: CBX 50 degree

:cleveland: CBX 54 degree

:cleveland: CBX2 58 degree

:vokey-small: SM6 62 Degree   

:EVNROLL: ER2 Putter

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The short answer is "yes".  I first picked up a club when I was in grad school.  They had a course that was free to students, and as a teaching assistant, that's certainly all I could afford to do.  Played off and on depending on whether I was working or laid off, and finally started playing regularly when I moved to Arizona.  Got down to about a 2 handicap, and then "annoyances" like cancer came around.  Went through the chemo and bone marrow transplant, but the handicap never recovered, and I'm about a 12 now.  So, virtually every round, it's "I could have played better", but it's also "I could have played worse, and at least I was able to play".  Bottom line is the ball putts MUCH better on this side of the grass, and I just enjoy being out there and trying to make that silly ball do what I want it to do.  My brother plays regularly with me, and that's reason enough all by itself.

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