It is often characterized as a sport for those with deep pockets or those close to the courses, but time has come to break these barriers. Traditionally if you wanted to play golf you would join a club and play in competitions to get a handicap. This would let you play in more competitions and you would normally play the same course week after week. Times are changing as more limitations are placed on our personal recreation time and many people now want to play for relaxation.
And unlike other sport codes, age does not mean anything when it comes to golf – it is all about you and the ball.
In Namibia, golf development is growing on a steady pace but more people still need to understand the benefits.
Like many, Alfred Ndyenge is a retired footballer who has for the past seven years been playing golf as a means of relaxation especially after a long week of work. But besides relaxing, he has come to reap more benefits that no other sport offers from the get-go.
“This is actually the sport I love more than soccer. If I want to relax, I have to come play golf. It gives you time to think through things. It teaches you self-confidence. And if you one day want to compete, you need to have the self-confidence. With a lot of practice, it gives you the boost in your personal character that you can hit the ball in different speeds, conditions and ranges – an aspect paramount to life,” said Alfred.
While the sport helps you to grow in confidance, the route to this achievement comes with baby steps. If you hit the first ball, your confidence grows to hit another. But equally, technique also plays a role which can be sometimes frustrating if you don’t do it right.
“This is one of the sports that teach you self-discipline. You will hit a ball 100 meters away and you have to follow it until you hit it in the hole. So it can also be very frustrating but it will certainly teach you patience and proper planning which automatically wakes the technique.”
In football, 11 people play for one team. One person can do a blunder and the rest can cover up for him. In golf, it is simply the one player who has to make calculated decisions. No one else.
He adds that just like other sports, golf is determined by the number of times you play. One has to be consistent with their swing and every hit is a new hit all the time. The way you hit the ball is the same way you should try to hit it over and over again. Technique dismisses the need to go to a gym for golf and it is for this very same reason that age does not count.
Many people have been at meetings or heard talks about the power of positive thinking. Golf gives you what you take from it, and it can be the most enjoyable game ever if you let it be that way. In the retired footballer’s narration, golf is the only sport you can play and have a conversation with someone at the same time. As a business personality, he says one of the attractions of playing the game is that it is very easy to meet people and you can also take time to plan and work out ways to steer your business forward.
“When playing golf, you get the opportunity to look at things in a different way.You think about how you can restructure your business modules. You draw up your business plans in your mind. So it is relaxation and planning as well.”
“But while it is beneficial for planning, it also helps you to mingle with other people like business personalities. You will in fact find many of them on the course. You can also clinch a business deal on the golf course.”
From his busy schedule, Alfred has committed slots on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday to go to the course and just hit balls to relax. He started off as an amateur and has now grown the interest to join the competitive ranks. Amateurs start on a handicap system where you play your handicaps down. He however advises people to take up the sport and see what it opens their lives to.
“The good thing is that there is a fun part, a competitive part and then there is a leisure part of it. The leisure part is when you come with your family and just hit balls. The fun part of it is when you come on Sundays and play with friends.
While many have looked at the sport as a rich man’s ‘thing’ Alfred refuses to acknowledge the reference saying it is just like any other sport today. “You would pay to play for any sport today. In soccer, you need to buy your boots, the training gear and sometimes even pay for the field on which you will play. So there is not much difference.”
So, if you just want to play golf now and again for fun with family or a group of friends there are many choices – But it is still a good idea to learn to play properly. When starting out, you just laugh off your bad shots. Don’t dwell on the bad shot because it may cause a problem on the next few holes as well and make things worse for your round overall. If you laugh it off, you will be more relaxed and not tighten-up. These are big keys to hitting a proper golf shot. So join the Windhoek Golf Club at the Country Club Resorts and Casino and play for the fun. You might just want to take it far.