A Game Played Around the World
Golf is played around the world and while it's popularity has been highest in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Ireland, it's popularity growth most recently has been the greatest in the far east. Growing economies in Asia and resulting rise in standards of living are producing a huge wave of people looking for leisure time activities. Golf is benefiting from this massive change in a big way, especially among the younger generations.
Witness the growing number of young Asian golfers joining the professional circuit and playing tournaments on prime time TV. The increase in Asian golfers playing, and winning, on the PGA circuit has been occurring for several years, but has been most notable on the LPGA tour recently. Countries represented by Asian golfers in the top 100 LPGA money list include China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and, of course, Korea.
This huge growth in Asian golfers on the PGA and LPGA tours is driving the growing popularity of golf within the emerging middle classes of Asia. With more money to spend on leisure pursuits the participative game of choice is very often golf. Golf Academies specifically established to nurture these young golfers are becoming very common.
A Game for All Ages
There are essentially no age barriers in golf. Youngsters can start playing as soon as they are tall enough to swing junior clubs. It is well documented how Tiger Woods started playing golf at a very early age when his father modified a set of golf clubs he could swing. At the age of 2 he appeared on the Mike Douglas Show and putted with Bob Hope. He shot a 48 for 9 holes when he was 3 years old and was featured in Golf Digest at age 5. Now not everyone can be a Tiger Woods, but youngsters playing the game around the age of 10 is becoming very common.
You are never too old to play golf. While the quality of your game may change a little as you become less flexible, golf is a marvelous exercise for seniors and a source of great fun and companionship for both men and women. Some senior golfers even improve their golf game a little in retirement. With fewer time constraints and other life’s distractions they have more time to play and work on their game. This makes the game they love even more enjoyable.
More and more local golf courses are becoming senior friendly as they respond to the baby boomer retirement bubble. Seniors golfers love the game and love playing it with friends.
The growing trend of retirement communities that build their senior activities around golf has contributed significantly to the increasing numbers of seniors who are playing the game. Providing a perfect solution to seniors needing to down size, retirement golfing communities are making their golf facilities a major attraction for this group by clustering single level homes around multiple golf courses. Often home ownership comes with a reduced rate for playing.
Enjoying the Game
So why is golf such a wonderful game? Well … there are many reasons and each golfers has their favorites. My favorites are:
For the Fresh Air and Being Outdoors
A round of golf is the perfect relaxing breath of fresh air needed to become revitalized from a week at work. This is especially true if work involves being sort of cooped up in an office or cubicle. The golf course allows you to connect with the outdoors. A well manicured golf course provides expansive green visuals that can be breathtaking. For many this unique panoramic landscape is one of the main attractions to the game.
For the Fun of It
Playing golf is fun. You might not have fun when you are struggling to get out of a sand trap, but on the whole golf can be a lot of fun. It’s an opportunity to feel good about yourself when you make a good shot or sink that long put. The anticipation of playing better can be very satisfying when you actually have those moments. The next time you are playing a round and not having fun because your score is awful try this. Stop keeping score. Just relax and let the game come to you. Now you can just think about executing the shot that has been causing your angst on the score card. Often you will quickly get back to hitting the shot a lot better.
For the Challenge
Even if you don’t like the challenge of playing against others in a tournament or if competition against others isn’t your thing, there is the challenge of competing against yourself. Trying to beat your personal best score can get the competitive juices flowing. This is really what golf is all about … continuously trying to get better even if it’s only by one stroke. Golf can be very rewarding because it is notoriously difficult to master. Separate from an improved score overall is the challenge of hitting a great shot ... and then another. This is repeated with every shot you make in your round and when you succeed there is no greater feeling of accomplishment.
For the Competition
If you choose to do so you can take part in various competitions and tournaments. Joining the men's or women's club at the local public links will afford many opportunities to do so. The recognition that goes along with doing well can be very inspiring and have an exhilarating effect that boosts one's self confidence. On a less organized level there is the opportunity to play with friends and experience the friendly competition that is often agreed to before the round starts. Longest drive, closest to the pin, fewest puts are some of the friendly wagers that can be played with friends with the pay off often being at the 19th hole when the round is over.
For the Friendships
Golf is inherently a social game. It’s not necessary that you play with other people, indeed playing a round of golf by yourself in the late afternoon can be very relaxing. But it can be a lot more fun when playing with good friends on a regular basis.
Making friends with people who enjoy the game as much as you do can be a very enjoyable experience. Making little wagers or side bets with these friends can be great fun. Even if you prefer not to wager, the time spent walking and waiting at holes provide a relaxing opportunity to chat and to get to know your golfing friends. Lasting friendships will often be the outcome of week end golfing.
For the Relaxation
The game of golf was invented to relax the mind, and to let the senses enjoy all what nature has to offer. It allows us to be drawn away from our daily concerns for a few hours. Walking the course provides a lot of time to reflect on things and when added to the endorphins released by the gentle and repetitive exercise we have the perfect escape from the rat race. This is especially true if you hit the course in the late afternoon and find yourself playing by yourself. Just you and the golf course can be very relaxing after a tough day or week on the job.
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