I was standing on the 1st tee at Kapalua Resort in Maui, thinking to myself; “Should I really be playing this course?”
Should I really be spending my hard-earned money on a golf course that’s going to kick my butt up and down each and every fairway? Where, when I finally get to the green, the putting surface is so difficult, nothing ever goes in – as if every hole is wearing a chastity belt?
Why on earth would I want to put myself through that torture? I have an 18 handicap – Am I out of my mind? Shouldn’t I be at a smaller, easier course instead of one where tour pros grace the fairways on a regular basis?
And for that one fleeting moment – in the time in took me to bend over and put my tee in the ground – I doubted a philosophy that I have held dear for nearly 20 years: That you don’t have to be good at golf to play a good golf course.
But it was only a moment. By the time I was addressing my ball, the thoughts in my mind had changed from the course demolishing me, to me demolishing it. I was literally going to rip that course apart – with beaver pelt-sized divots for the 100+ swings I was about to take – I was going to need both of the sand/seed mixture bottles on the cart. And most importantly, I was going to enjoy every minute of it.
So many average golfers allow themselves to be intimidated by a good golf course. If the high greens fees don’t deter them before even stepping foot on the course, the view from the first tee box surely might. You know how the story goes from there: They play a wretched round, blame the course, regret “throwing their money away,” and vow to never play a so-called upscale golf course again – all because they’re “not good enough golfers.”
What a bunch of B.S. Who says you have to be good at something in order to love it? If that were an actual law, 90% of golfers would have to quit the game because they stink. I’m sorry, but when was the last time you heard something like this: “You know, I’ve been playing golf for 40 years now and I still can’t shoot anywhere near par. I guess it’s time to quit.” The thing is, you don’t hear stuff like that because people don’t play golf because they are good at it – they play golf because they love it.
So if you love golf, you shouldn’t hesitate to play an awesome golf course if the opportunity presents itself – no matter how badly it’s probably going to beat you up. As long as you play from the correct tee box, you have nothing to fear – tee off and enjoy. And don’t worry about your score – playing a legendary course or even a local “upscale” course isn’t about playing well, it’s about experiencing the best the game has to offer – and by keeping that in perspective, you’ll never regret forking over the hefty the greens fees.
My round at Kapalua was simply amazing. Sure, I put one in the Pacific Ocean on the signature hole (OK, I put two in). But the course was gorgeous; the scenery unreal; and the weather beautiful. And the cherry on top? I broke 100 with a 96! Now that even surprised me! Great golf courses are meant to be enjoyed… by everyone. Golf is a game, and you should have fun playing it.
Greg D’Andrea (affectionately referred to as Stinky Golfer Greg) is a regular contributor to the GolfStinks blog (golfstinks.blogspot.com) and co-founder of the golf social media site, golfstinks.com, which is currently in beta.