As a sports fan, whether you are a golfer or not, you have to like The Masters golf tournament. A bucket list item of mine is to attend the event.
It may be one of the most pressurized sports events each year. Augusta is the American cathedral of golf. Not many places compare to its beauty in the spring.
Golf itself maybe the hardest sport to master yet, the participating players make it look achievable and even easy at times. Anyone who plays the game knows just how difficult it can be to play well on a consistent basis. Even if you have been an athlete in your younger days, golf offers a whole new challenge. Even though golfers like Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler can make it look easy, it can be difficult to attempt the game without embarrassing yourself.
The most difficult aspect of the game is nothing remains consistent. You may drive the ball well but cannot make a putt to save your soul. The next day you might putt well, but you cannot hit a fairway. It is a game that no one ever totally conquers.
Golf is, and always will be, a game of failure not a game of success. If you cannot handle temporary failure, then you better forget taking up golf. No other game in the world tests your mental toughness more. To play this game, you must put your last shot out of your mind, whether good or bad, or you are doomed to fail.
You can play the game by yourself and still feel challenged – it’s a game of will between you and that little ball. It is game over if you allow yourself to focus on missed shots. Every single shot needs to be approached with a clear head, which is not human nature.
If you make a great shot and get big-headed you most likely will look like a fool on the next shot. Golf teaches mental balance. Mental balance gives any athlete in any sport a competitive advantage.
If I was still coaching football I would make my quarterbacks play golf with me at least once a week to teach them how to handle both success and failure. In golf, a player has no one to blame but themselves if things go wrong.
I can’t imagine how a pro golfer must feel when they are standing over a 15-foot putt to win The Masters with thousands of people standing around watching and millions more watching on television and the internet. It is hard enough to make a birdie putt when you are paying for rounds in the clubhouse, let alone winning the greatest tournament in golf.
Many people don’t believe you have to be an athlete to play golf. I disagree. I challenge them to give it a try. For old athletes who still have some competitive juices, the game of golf is a lifesaver. Even if you are in the fourth quarter of your life, the game of golf can motivate you and your competitive nature.
My favorite thing on the golf course is to watch some young athletic stud get put in his place by some old competitor who can play the game of golf – not because he is a better athlete, but because he is mentally tougher. If you think you are becoming mentally soft you need to take up golf. It will fire up your competitive juices and mental toughness.
• My quote of the week comes from Gary Player, who won nine major golf championships in his career (on his 1974 Masters title): “I knew I was going to win on the first tee. It’s the best golf I’ve ever played in a major championship, all the way. When I work for something, I expect it to happen. No one works as hard at golf as I do. No athlete has ever traveled so much as I have. I say all this only to try to make everybody understand what it means to me to win. There’s no way to properly describe the gratification from working so hard, and then being rewarded for it.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.