The last couple of years I’ve begun to realize that I have to make the choice to not pursue an interest. I have a wide variety of interests, but I can’t pursue them all—at least not if I want to progress with any of them. I have, for instance, stopped playing video games and I watch much less tv than I used to. I now devote more time reading and writing.
I say this after a couple of rounds of golf, including a grueling five-and-a-half hour 18-holer yesterday with a couple of friends. I came away from that game thinking, “Well, there’s X hours I won’t get back.” I don’t regret the 18 holes yesterday—I enjoyed myself thoroughly (4 golfers is more fun than 2, but significantly slower)—but it was a lot of time, money and effort for relatively little reward in terms of quality of play and score. I usually end up frustrating myself to the point of it overshadowing the game and its environment (golf courses are always nice settings).
Because, you see, I’m not very good at golf. I started golfing about 4 years ago and made strides along the way, but I’ve come to a point similar to terminal velocity: my game won’t get much better than this. To significantly improve at golf, I need to play several rounds each week, if not every day. Having a family and a limited budget alone doesn’t allow for that kind of commitment, never mind work, housework and my myriad other recreational interests.
I bought a set of new clubs about 2 years ago, which in a way makes me feel obligated to keep playing. But golfing is also a good way to spend the afternoon with the guys, because guys don’t seem to get together for parties and whatnot the way that women seem to (how many Pampered Chef/Party Lite/Mary Kay/etc. parties have the male readers of this blog had? I would wager none). For recreational golfers like myself golf is a social game as much as anything.
I’ll probably continue to play simply because my friends play. But I have to make the choice to not worry too much about improving my game. In fact, yesterday around hole 15 or 16 we stopped keeping score, which was quite liberating in a way.
I can’t do everything I’d like to do, particularly if I want to do those things with any amount of skill. It’s much too late to set my eyes on professional golf, anyway.