This coming week my wife Dana will be competing in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Wellesley Country Club in Wellesley, MA. This event will mark more than 25 USGA tournaments that she has qualified as a participant. In addition Dana is 16 times NHWGA champion, a past winner of the New England Women’s Amateur and won the prestigious women’s Eastern Senior Amateur.
Fantastic accomplishments that I suspect many might feel comes from her innate athletic talent, and a lot of practice. Not that such an assumption is incorrect, but winning golf championships requires more than just hard work and athletic ability. More specifically, winning a golf tournament also requires an inner desire, almost an intangible, to compete and win! One either has IT or doesn’t have IT.
It is this inner intangible that separates two very distinctive types of golfer. It doesn’t mean that those who have IT derive more enjoyment from the game while those who don’t have IT can’t derive as much enjoyment from the game. It simply means that the game will be enjoyed from a completely different perspective by those who are intensely competitive oppose those who are not – regardless of their ability or athleticism.
For the intensely competitive golfer enjoyment from the game comes from accomplishment. Keeping an accurate score and detailed attention to the rules are important to this type of player. Specific goals such as shooting a career or season low score measure success. Winning or losing matches, whether it be a friendly Saturday game or a formal tournament, determines the level of enjoyment the competitive golfer derives from a day’s play.
These TYPE A golfers, those with IT, are the players who make up the field in USGA events, the state amateur, the club championship and even handicap events at local courses throughout the world. Measured accomplishments and winning are the most Important aspect of the game for those that have IT!
Professional Golfer Checking Yardage The Intensely Competitive Golfer
“Those Who Have IT”
But… How about those who don’t have IT?
The good news is that the non competitive golfer might derive more enjoyment from the game than those who have IT!
Experiencing the out-of-doors while playing a round, appreciating the design of the course, socially relating with playing companions and the simple enjoyment of a walk are all enjoyable aspects of our game. Score and the rules are not important factors to those who are not competitive players. Specific goals are seldom set or even considered. Winning or losing a match never affects the enjoyment derived from a day’s play. These TYPE B golfers are seldom successful in a competitive environment, and seldom even enter tournaments at any level… They’re just not interested.
Of course, I’m not naïve enough to think that there are only two type’s personalities playing golf. Certainly there exists a continuum ranging from the intensely competitive to the completely casual golfer. I’m also aware that some of us evolve from being competitive golfers to enjoying some of the more subtle aspects of the game. In fact, I’m one such golfer!
I grew up loving the competition and for years tournament golf was the primary reason I played. As I’ve become older and less competitive I find myself enjoying the fresh air, friends in my foursome and the character of the course design. I think I might even enjoy a round of golf now more than ever before.
Give it some thought and decide where you might fall on this continuum. Maybe you are like my wife Dana and you have IT, or maybe you are one who does not have IT. Regardless of the results of your analysis you are fortunate to be a golfer. Our great game, unlike any other that I know, provides a forum for the intensely competitive, the non competitive and for all those who fall virtually anywhere in between.
To every golfer: Enjoy the Game!
And — Good luck to my wife Dana in this week’s U.S. Senior Amateur Championship… I’ll be on the bag as her caddie.