6. Golf, when used properly, promotes a healthy sense of play. Most grownups don’t play enough, in the kid sense. In fact, most of what passes for play in the adult world is just work by other means. Many golfers treat golf not as a game but as a job they wish they had the guts to quit. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Golf is ideally suited to pretending.
Like most adults, I have watched my childhood powers of fantasy atrophy into powers of self-delusion. When I was eight years old, I had no trouble pretending that the monthly meetings of my Cub Scout pack were the conferences of a secret international intelligence organization whose members happened to wear blue shorts, neckerchiefs, and beanies. Nowadays, I mostly accept reality for what it is: no more slow-motion touchdown receptions, very little air guitar. On a golf course, however, I occasionally find myself playing in the old way—for example, pretending that my club’s three-day member-guest is the Walker Cup. Of course, doing that requires a herculean suspension of disbelief. (Not many world-class amateurs follow a sliced drive with a shanked approach, a sculled pitch, a chunked chip, and three feeble putts.) But there are occasional moments of transcendence.
To be continued.