By Janie C. Farina
(The way you make me feel)
You really turn me on
(You really turn me on)
You knock me off of my feet
(You knock me off of my feet)
My lonely days are gone
(My lonely days are gone)
“The Way You Make Me Feel” Lyrics and Song by Michael Jackson
People ask me all the time: “Why play golf? What’s the attraction, anyway?”
Recently I hosted a beginner ladies golf clinic, and by the end of our class, there were smiles, pictures, and exclamations: “This was so much fun!”
For these ladies, golf made them feel happy — but why?
For every lonely golf widow and golf widower out there, there is golf addict counterpart that gets knocked off his feet every time he plays.
Golf addicts come in many shapes and forms. The most common example of golf addiction that comes to my memory growing up above the golf shop at Nick Stoner Golf Course, in Caroga Lake, NY, were the dew sweepers.
These guys would be pulling into the parking lot before donuts were done baking at Dunkin’s. My pro dad would grumble and make his way downstairs to open the golf shop before coffee, until he trusted they would come in and pay their greens fees at the turn (after nine holes) so we could sleep until dawn.
Golf addiction can affect women as well. Mom’s funeral set the stage for the Ladies League members to share stories about “Your mom, Millie” that had us crying with laughter. (My mom was the only one who could get lost on her way back from the restroom and miss playing the last back nine holes).
So how does a game that brings grown men and women to tears, as a result of laughter or despair, keep us hooked?
The RX for golfers who seek that “Golfer’s High” can be found in multiple ways:
- Social interaction: Family, friends, business colleagues, romance, league play.
- Competition: League play, golf team play, tournament play, career, friendly skins games, personal goals.
- Intermittent positive reinforcement: “The way it makes you feel” when hitting the shot that “knocks you off your feet”(playing the slot machine comes to mind as a suitable comparison).
- Proper fitted equipment paired with an encouraging instructor is a great combination for good golf health.
Golf clinics can open up a whole experience for the beginner student by offering all four “Golfer High RXs” that can be attained through a series of group classes.
If the professional teacher incorporates the learning experience with simple instruction, social interaction/team building that includes friendly competition, and helping encourage that one shot that “really turns them on,” it’s easy to get hooked!
Lastly, Happy Golf Health starts with properly fitted equipment that encourages freedom and balance in the golf swing to promote a “feelin’ good” experience for the player.
So for all you golf widows and widowers out there, why not “get turned on” by learning how to play?
By getting involved in a group golf clinic, before long you will be singing Michael Jackson’s “you knock me off my feet, my lonely days are gone!”
Janie C. Farina is a 26-year LPGA teaching and club professional in Duval and St. Johns County. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions for future articles.