Golf is Good for the Body and Soul

Golf is Good for the Body and Soul

by Susan Neuhalfen

Golf has always been a popular sport, but it really didn’t reach “cool” status until sometime in the 1980s. All of the sudden athletes and rock stars alike joined the ranks of the vividly dressed duffers, bringing an entirely new audience to a relatively low-key sport.

So why did they choose golf? Jim Sanders, General Manager at the Lantana Golf Club believes it’s the challenge that gets them hooked.

“It’s you against the golf course,” said Jim, who played for Texas Tech. “Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, something changes. It’s never the same.”

Golf is mentally challenging
First, golf is a mental game. Every day is a new day on the golf course. The challenge of hitting that crazy little white ball becomes obsessive for many people. Professional athletes are tremendously talented at their game so while the sport of their profession is challenging, it isn’t necessarily a new challenge.

“Baseball players will tell you that hitting a curve ball is the hardest thing,” said Jim. “But really, hitting a golf ball consistently is the hardest thing.”

Golf is, in Jim’s words, humbling. Pascal Begin, Director of Player Development at Lantana Golf agrees.

Every day and every round, the game of golf brings different challenges one has to deal with,” said Pascal. “It keeps you honest.”

Just when a golfer thinks he’s gotten the game figured out, it changes. It comes down to perseverance…and patience.

Golf is a Physical Sport
On a different note, many enjoy golf for the physical aspects. It isn’t as taxing on a body so it’s a sport played well into old age.

“We spend so much time inside at a desk,” said Jim. “Just getting outside can do the body a world of good.”

Studies show that the best thing a golfer can do is forgo the cart and walk with his or her clubs. The game itself gives a golfer a low impact workout, but the walk is what really helps.

“Certainly the physical benefits of golf are highly diminished when one plays riding a golf cart,” said Pascal. “Walking 18 holes is very beneficial.  You’ll generally end up walking close to 10 miles.”

Despite the challenges of golf and the frustration felt by many, the walk, the fresh air and the socialization help to reduce stress. It’s no secret that exercise releases endorphins, making one feel relaxed. It also usually ensures a good night’s sleep. The combination of the physical and mental benefits is the reason so many business people play golf.

Golf is a Social Sport

In randomly asking golfers why they play the sport, the first answer for most was one word: camaraderie.

Because many of us put in such long hours at work, socializing with co-workers and friends becomes more and more scarce. For the older folks, it’s a chance to get out and be social. For those in business, that’s four additional hours that you can spend with a client or colleague. Because the sport is low impact, there are lots of opportunities to talk, and not just about golf.

“A lot of business gets done on the golf course,” points out Jim. “Even when you’re on the range hitting balls, it’s a great opportunity to talk.”

Jim also noted that it’s a great way for families to connect.

“I tried for many years to get my son and daughter to love golf as I do to no avail,” said Jim. “Years later, my son, who is now 16, is infatuated. For us as a dad and son, there’s great bonding.”

Pascal agreed: “It’s a great family sport because veterans of the game and beginner golfers can easily play together and co-exist in the same foursome.”

In fact, that’s Lantana’s goal as a golf club – to engage the whole family. The key is to make it fun. They have lessons and camps for beginners, juniors, women and kids. They hold tournaments every month and a kids’ team that plays against other clubs. They even have glow golf (night golfing) twice a year. They will also to tailor a private lesson program for the entire family. Jim and Pascal both encourage anyone who wants to play to just start with a few lessons.

Get the fundamentals down, like your stance for instance,” he said. “Once you do that, just have fun with it. It’s all about having fun.”

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