What Have You Done Without Golf?
HAVE you seen that TV advert for Nationwide Building Society? The one where the guy is out running in the rain, tells us he used to go to the gym but when he was no longer able to do so because of the lockdown he made up his mind that he would go running....and hates it. He says that he will go back to the gym - but will catch a bus to get there.
I know how he feels. I know EXACTLY how he feels. The past 12 months have been tough on all of us. For all sorts of different reasons. And we have all been affected in different ways.
So here is my admission. I am sick to the back teeth of all those self-satisfied, smug people who have taken to social media to share their fitness stories. Yes, yes, yes, I know that I did it myself. I charted my progress on Golfshake. It wasn’t always easy. But I did make progress. That doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it.
I look out the window today and see that people are still pounding the pavements. People who would never have left their lounges are now walking, jogging and running as a part of their regular daily routine. It’s been good for the physical health of the nation. But how many enjoy it?
Like almost everybody else who went down that road, I had good reasons for doing so.
In no particular order, they go something like this:
- I needed to lose weight;
- I needed to get fit;
- I needed to do something to keep my spirits up (my mental wellbeing, I suppose);
- I needed to find something occupy myself;
- I was missing playing golf and needed to find something else to do.
When I started running it was an ordeal. A horrible ordeal. I was being overtaken by little old ladies with walking sticks! Okay, so that is a slight exaggeration. But only a slight one.
As the days passed, running became easier and I began to feel better physically and mentally. But one thing never changed - I found it brain-numbingly boring. And I found the likes of Joe Wicks and his endless workouts increasingly infuriating. Yes, I know that he built a huge following and that he helped with the mental wellbeing of the nation.
I got into a daily routine - shower, breakfast, exercise, shower, hours spent watching the likes of Wicks, TV, work, dinner. I tip the scales now at 10st 8lb. It’s the lightest I have been for years and I am actually quite proud of myself. But, like the man in the Nationwide ad, I hated running. I hated it so much that I stopped doing it. And I will never do it again. Ever. But I have changed my diet forever and I will never again weigh more than 11st. Never.
The week before the first national lockdown I joined a gym. I was never able to take advantage of my membership. So I cancelled it. But when the gyms reopen I will be heading back - and I will be driving there.
I know that I sound like Mr Grumpy. That’s because I am. And I have finally worked out why. I have been suffering from golf withdrawal symptoms. My name is Derek and I am a golf addict and I have hated being told that I can’t play the game that has given me so much joy and pain in just about equal measure.
Over the past year I quickly realised that I began to resent all those people who installed nets in their back gardens that allowed them to carry on hitting golf balls. All well and good if you can but I live in an apartment and I don’t have a garden. There isn’t enough headroom to swing a club indoors. The only outside space available to me is a car park. So the only thing that I have been able to practice is my putting. And don’t get me started on those who went out and bought simulators and effectively created indoor golf facilities. I said, don’t get me started.
I have binge-watched golf on TV for long enough. There was even a golf Zoom quiz. But that only further whetted my appetite and made me further realise how much I was missing the real thing.
And so, finally, March 29 is just around the corner and, like millions of others the length and breadth of the land, I will finally be able to get back out there and hit some golf balls.
I will be starting off at the driving range. Remember those? I want to get the rust out of my system before I tackle 18 holes. My plan is to hit 200 golf balls, then head to the practice bunker and finally to the practice green. It has been far too long and I cannot wait to reacquaint myself with a game that I have played on and off since I was about five years old. Spring is in the air, longer days are with us, courses will be in fabulous condition. They will also be busy. Really busy. And I can’t wait…because it means I will never again have to pass my time by donning my trainers, shorts and T-shirt and running like a zombie. I am toying with the idea of filling my trainers with compost and plants and creating a window display.
Golf rules OK!
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