GOLF – The World’s Largest EGO Sport

20140826_192635Does the EGO of Golf get in the way of your enjoyment of the game? 

EGO is defined as a person’s sense of self-esteem, their self-importance, their self-worth or self-image. Ego is a vital part of who we are and is key to our existence as human beings. Most times, an ego – or our ego, is a positive thing, however, on occasion, we can all be reminded of the dangers when ego and golf collide.

We see ego and golf collide many times in the normal play of our game. They collide, when everyone seems to say and think they drive the ball 300 yards off the tee. They collide when golfers won’t play a course from the correct set of tees for their game because they are labeled “senior” or “ladies” by others.  And by the way, hitting a drive 300 yards – once – and saying you hit it 300 yards every time, is the same as being able to play a riff on the guitar, and telling others you play the guitar . . . but I digress.

Ego and its relationship with golf have been around since the invention of the game. I’m sure Scotsman bragged, boasted, and skirted the truth about golf from the beginning – just like all of us do now. The latest ego and golf collision occurred recently as the Golf Channel shook up the masses by releasing their “Relaxed Rules of Golf” to the public.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 11.12.18 AMYOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT

The Golf Channel’s Relaxed Rules of Golf is a simple listing of seven suggested rules on how to make the game easier to understand, play, and also hopefully improve golfers’ enjoyment while on the course. The relaxed rules aren’t meant to replace the USGA or R&A rules. They are meant to lesson the complexity of the rules for most golfers. The introduction of the “Relaxed Rules” brought with it some praise – but standby – also hit a nerve with many golfers who find a relaxed set of anything (especially rules), well . . . not relaxing.

In the midst of the rules going public, the Golf Channel asked golfers how often they played by the Rules of Golf. The standard answer by nearly all who were asked was “always.” Interestingly, when asked how to play under common golf rules like; out-of-bounds, water hazards, etc., most of those same “always” golfers, couldn’t explain how to proceed under the rules or were confused about some of the differences in the rules (yellow stake/red stake/white stake). One golfer even went as far as to say he only plays relaxed rules “10% of the time,” which really means he’s better than me, you, and everyone else 90% of the time . . . man, egos are amusing.

However, the answer of “always” didn’t surprise me and neither did the misunderstanding of how to proceed under the rules of golf by the same group. It’s not surprising to me, because almost all of us (including myself) play under the rules of golf, but not strictly within the rules of golf most of the time . . . let me explain.

I’ve played golf for almost 30 years. I know the rules well, but also give and accept gimme putts during normal rounds. Under most conditions, triple bogey is enough in the groups I play in; not because we understand Equitable Stroke Control, but because it’s slow and painful to score more than double par on a hole. Gimme putts and max scores are just two examples of these common rule alterations. Mulligans, adjusting clubs mid-round, and using different balls on the green, are some of the others. Most rule alterations have come about over time as a way to speed up play and enhance the enjoyment of the game a little bit more.

NOT ME!

I’m confident one or two of you just thought, “Not me!” when it comes to not playing by the Official Rules of Golf. Before you go too crazy, know that I’m a very serious golfer also at times. I have played in many formal tournaments (including a USGA qualifier) and within the seriousness of those tournament rounds; I play strictly by the USGA Rules of Golf.

MetLife, Inc.

MetLife, Inc.

And Yes, I know the MetLife, Inc. commercial, which shows a professional golfer getting yardage information from his caddie using a two-way radio and weather information from the blimp – prior to selecting a club, is outside the rules of golf.

Bose(R) Headphones

Bose(R) Headsets

And Yes, I know it’s “illegal” under the rules of golf when Rory McIlroy put those Bose® headsets in his ear to eliminate noise and outside distractions on the course.

Geez, I get it, rules ARE rules! But, just for the sake of argument, what if I did play by a relaxed set rules all the time? What if I took OB drops nearest the point to where I went OB (vice hitting a provisional)? What if I decided to take 1-mulligan on the front, and 1-mulligan on the back, and roll the ball everywhere – including the fairway? Would I still be a “Golfer” . . . or would I be someone who just “plays golf?”

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 2.49.16 PMTHERE’S ROOM FOR ALL

This type of judgment of others is where the ego of golf comes into conflict for many who play the game. If I play strictly by the rules, am I somehow better than those who don’t – perhaps on a number of levels? If I play using relaxed rules, am I better than the “uppity” guy/gal who can’t seem to get over himself/herself?

Whether you’re a golfer who plays relaxed, strict, or something in between golf, it really doesn’t matter, because everyone is welcome in golf. Golf is an every person’s game, which teases us with the promise of always getting better. It’s why golf, unlike any other sport, lets everyone who plays the game share in the dreams of grandeur. In golf, we can play the same courses and make eagles, birdies, or pars on the same holes as Rory does. We can seemingly hit the ball the same distances as Bubba. We can play the same equipment, wear the same clothes, and use the same ball as the greatest golfers in the world.

Other sports squash our dreams quickly. We give up on our NFL dreams when we realize we’re not fast, strong, or big enough. We give up on MLB dreams when we discover we can’t hit a home run or throw a major league fastball, but golf . . . that’s another story.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 2.53.55 PMWhen we put together a great round, our golf ego says “maybe.” When we really catch fire, we may even allow ourselves to dream of the possibility of, “Standing in the Hall of Fame” (sorry, that commercial is burned into my mind). However, the problem is when we judge others as not “real” golfers because they don’t play like us, we lose out on the opportunity to grow our game.

The next time you find yourself judging the “relaxed” guy/gal, the “strict” guy/gal, or the “in-between’r” like me, think about how you can enhance their enjoyment and love of the game by understanding where they’re coming from and maybe even including them in your next round – no matter which set of rules they play by.

Congratulations to the Golf Channel for their development of the Relaxed Rules of Golf. Thank you for your continuance and dedication to make the game better. Let’s keep the conversation going! #GOLFISFUN

Image: Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy: Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Editor’s Note:  What do you think about the ego in golf? What do you think about the new “Relaxed Rules” introduced by the Golf Channel? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section. We would love to hear from you. 

BIO: Keith Cook is a Writer and Contributing Editor for localgolfer.com. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumnus living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and  @LocalGolfer

Read more from Keith, Click here

FootGolf: Hmmmm . . . It’s a Kick in the Grass!!

Fairways at West Terrace LogoWe’ve heard of it… we even have a term called a “foot wedge” that applies to someone kicking the ball toward the hole with their foot.  The Aflac duck uses it.  Now you can use it and it’s totally legal! 

FootGolf is a combination of the popular sports of soccer and golf. The game is played with a regulation #5 soccer ball at a golf course facility on shortened holes with 21-inch diameter cups. The rules largely correspond to the rules of golf. FootGolf as a game is played throughout the world in many different forms, but as a sport, it is regulated by the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG). The American FootGolf League (AFGL) is the exclusive member of the FIFG and governing body for the sport of FootGolf in the United States. The AFGL is organizing tournaments throughout the country working with golf courses to bring FootGolf to their clubs as another avenue for revenue and to develop the game further.  Watch the video about the rules and etiquette of FootGolf” from the American FootGolf League.

 

One of only a few FootGolf courses in the Northwest, The Fairways at West Terrace near Spokane also features 18 holes of championship golf for the golf enthusiast.  The cool thing about FootGolf is you don’t have a goalie trying to deny your shot.

For more information visit:  http://www.golfthefairways.com/

The Fairways at West Terrace

549-747-8418

 

 

My Past Year At TheLocalGolfer.com … How Time Flies!

Local-Golfer_2Local Golfer’s own, Keith Cook, takes a look at his first year at www.thelocalgolfer.com.

A GREAT YEAR . . . HOW TIME FLIES

One year ago this month, I joined LocalGolfer as a new writer on staff.  It was a great opportunity given to me and one I’ll always be grateful for. I mean, what a dream job . . . to get to write about the sport I’ve always loved, GOLF, for aLocalGolfer_Banner_300x250_01 growing and prospering website!

Growing and prospering, because in August 2013, golfers were visiting thelocalgolfer.com to find out about golf courses, write personal reviews of courses, and read course reviews from other members. The numbers for site visits (“clicks”) in 2013 were good, but looking back, the potential for future growth now seems obvious.

A year later, in August 2014, thelocalgolfer.com has now transformed itself into a site where golfers are visiting regularly, to not only read about and review golf courses, but also to read articles about amateur golf, professional golf, and the current topics affecting the world of golf. Golfers are now visiting the site more often and in greater numbers than ever before. THANK YOU!

Here’s a look at just a few of the numbers highlighting LocalGolfer’s successful year.

Courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net (ddpavumba)

Courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net (ddpavumba)

Since August 2013:

–       LocalGolfer.com’s membership growth is up 16% to over 12,000 members.

–       Big increases in site traffic, with a jump of 22% in the western United States alone.

However, www.thelocalgolfer.com is not just about tracking “clicks” or visits to the website. No, our priority is to provide you, the golfer, a reason to visit the website. Over the past year, we’ve dedicated ourselves to improving the way in which we present articles and information to the golfer. We’ve worked on our site layout, have incorporated better graphics, and have focused on providing interesting and high-quality writing on the latest topics in golf.

We will continue to strive to provide you all the best in in 2014 and beyond.

HIGHLIGHTS & MY LAST YEAR OF ARTICLES

From a personal perspective, this has been a great year in golf to write about. I have written almost 60 articles for the site in the past year, ranging from my first article discussing the 2013 Solheim Cup, all the way through to the 2014 PGA Championship. Below are my most “clicked” on articles from the past year. The subjects vary widely, but hopefully one or two sparked some interest, debate, and/or provided some enjoyment along the way.

Feel free to click on any (or all) of the articles and re-visit the topic, or enjoy them as a first read if you haven’t seen them yet.

Thank you once again, from www.thelocalgolfer.com for helping us to continue to grow YOUR website.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.29.31 PMWhy We Yell “Fore”– And Other Golf Traditions.

–       A brief history of golf and the answers to some of golf’s most interesting questions *Why –  “Fore”, “14-clubs” and more.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/01/yell-fore-golf-traditions/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.33.42 PMIs “Golf” Feeling OK? I’ve Got Bad News.

–       A look at the reasons Golf is quickly becoming an isolated sport in America . . . but why we shouldn’t lose hope.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/08/golf-feeling-ok-ive-got-bad-news/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.31.30 PMMy golf ball hit a car/house/person: What happens next?

- It’s smart to know the basics when that awkward moment comes your way.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/04/my-golf-ball-hit-a-car-house-person/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.31.03 PMStriker Golf GPS-A Revolutionary Jump Forward In Golf Apps.

- Striker Golf GPS – Not just another golf app for your phone!

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/03/product-review-striker-golf-gps-just-another-golf-app-phone/

 

HistorianGolf “Experts” Are Everywhere!

- Three types of Golf’s “Experts” we all come in contact with on and off the course.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/02/experts-everywhere/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.50.52 PMIs It Just Me? Tiger Woods and Golf.

- Why does Tiger always seem to be the story?

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/07/just-tiger-woods-golf/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.29.03 PMSergio’s Year? What Do You Think?

- A look at the beginning of a promising 2014 for Sergio Garcia.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2013/12/sergios-year/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.52.27 PMMcIlroy Connects With Fans During Flight Delay

- Rory McIlroy takes time with fans over Twitter during a flight delay.

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/02/mcilroy-connects-fans-flight-delay/

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.32.19 PM2014 U.S. Women’s Open-Tournament Wrap-Up.

- Michelle Wie wins the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open!

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/06/2014-u-s-womens-open-tournament-wrap/

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.33.14 PMTeam Spain “Crowned” Champions at 2014 International Crown!

- Country versus Country: Eight Teams started, Team Spain “Crowned” Champions after 4-days of stellar golf!

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/07/international-crown-tournament-team-spain-champions/

 

 

 

My latest:

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 9.03.33 AM Rory McIlroy, “Golf’s Next Superstar?”

- Rory McIlroy is now on the larger radar of the sports and news world as “Golf’s Next Superstar!” . . . “Welcome to the Conversation.”

http://www.thelocalgolfer.com/blog/2014/08/rory-mcilroy-golfs-next-superstar-welcome-conversation/

 

LocalGolfer-info card

 

Editor’s Note:  Our motto, “Serving golfers with the best—Above all the rest,” is the driving force behind what we do. Keith Cook embodies that motto. When we say, “Find only the best” at LocalGolfer.com, whether it’s looking up a course, reading a course review by real golfers, like you, keeping a handicap, booking tee times, or commenting about what you see and read on the site, we strive to give it our all for our members each and every day.  Please let us know how we are doing with a comment in the comments section, or writing us at info@localgolfer.com  We’d love to hear from you. 

BIO: Keith Cook is a Writer and Contributing Editor for localgolfer.com. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumnus living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer

Read more from Keith, Click here

Gunn Yang Wins 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship

114th U.S. Amateur Championship conducted by the United States Golf Association

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Gunn Yang, 20, of the Republic of Korea, defeated Corey Conners, of Canada, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final match Sunday to win the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club’s 7,208-yard, par-71 Highlands Course.

Gunn Yang celebrates with his caddie Richard Grice (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Gunn Yang celebrates with his caddie Richard Grice (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

“I was just trying to make it to the match-play portion, really,” said Yang, a San Diego State University sophomore who had back surgery in May 2013. “That was the goal, first of all. And then when I made it to the match play, I was like, maybe I can do this. I was just trying to go through by every single match, just trying to play my game and trying to see how it goes, and I got the trophy. So, I’m really excited and really happy about it.”
Yang, who grew up in Korea and played competitive amateur golf in Australia for five years, is the second Korean-born player to win the U.S. Amateur, joining Byeong-Hun “Ben” An, who claimed the title at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., in 2009.
Conners, 22, a recent graduate of Kent State University in Ohio who lost to eventual champion Matt Fitzpatrick in the 2013 semifinals, was vying to become the first Canadian winner since Gary Cowan in 1971. He was the first player since Patrick Cantlay in 2010 (semifinals) and 2011 (final) to advance to at least the semifinals in back-to-back years.
Yang, who was playing in his first U.S. Amateur after qualifying on July 21 at Hacienda Golf Club in La Habra Heights, Calif., held a 1-up lead through the morning 18 holes. He never trailed in the match.

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

“I haven’t won a tournament for a long time, like maybe five or six years,” said Gunn. “I was going through my injury, also. I was just trying to play my game. Obviously, it just popped in my head that if I beat Corey, then I win the trophy. But, I was just trying to concentrate and just trying to hit balls and just put it next to the hole and make the putt.”
Conners, a member of the Canadian national team, won the first hole of the afternoon 18 to square the match and that status held until Yang won the 24th and 25th holes for a 2-up advantage.
Yang led 1 up through 28 holes when the match was suspended at 4:25 p.m. because of dangerous weather. Both players had hit their drives in the fairway on the 29th hole. Play resumed at 6:02 p.m.
“He struck the ball great,” Conners said of Yang. “He made a lot of key putts when he needed to and didn’t really have any weaknesses out there. He didn’t give me any openings to climb through.”

(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Gunn Yang proudly displays the trophy after winning the 2014 Men’s Amateur (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Yang’s sloping, 18-foot birdie putt on the 32nd hole pushed him to 2-up. Conners, the Mid-American Conference co-player of the year, missed birdie opportunities on the next three holes and Yang’s two-putt for a halving par on the par-3, 35th hole closed the match.
“Especially the second round, I had a lot of looks for birdie,” Conners said. “I had a bunch of birdie tries. I thought I hit nice putts. They just slipped by and that was kind of frustrating not to have any of those drop and win some holes.”
Yang receives a gold medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the next year. By virtue of reaching the U.S. Amateur Championship final, Yang and Conners each earned an exemption into the 2015 U.S. Open – provided they remain amateurs – and a likely invitation to the 2015 Masters Tournament. The champion receives an exemption into the 2015 British Open Championship.
All quarterfinalists earn an exemption into the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club.

For more USGA News click here