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Move Over, College Football: How Golf Helps in College

A student discusses how the game of golf helped him prepare for college.

No offense to college football, but the game of golf presents many lessons for college.
Move Over, College Football: How Golf Helps in College
Sports have a variety of different purposes. Some people play sports because it is a good pastime and hobby; it helps to distract them from the day-to-day bustle of ordinary life. Although many people play sports for this very reason, a positive externality of playing sports is that it can teach people important moral lessons that they can implement in their life, not just on the field. People who are athletic learn how to get through adversity, grow and develop one’s self, and believe that hard work does pay off in the long-run. Personally, the sport I played was golf. Golf is a very rare sport in my hometown. Basketball, football, and baseball are the popular ones that dominated my high school, but for me, golf was the sport I played. I find that golf is a very interesting sport because it is unlike other ones.
A very interesting aspect about the sport is that you call a penalty on yourself. Instead of a referee calling a foul, in golf, when a golfer finds that their ball is out of bounds, they call the penalty on themselves. Also, it is the golfer’s responsibility to keep track of the score on the scorecard. So after each hole, the player has to record his score and the score of his playing partners. Most importantly, he writes the actual scores. I remember this incident when a friend of mine was suspended from his high school golf team because he lied about his score in certain holes. He couldn’t play golf for his school anymore.
These parts of the game teach people the value of honesty and integrity. In college, honesty is key to success. College expects you to be a well-rounded student who doesn’t cut corners. If a student is found out to plagiarize an essay or cheat on a test, that student is most likely suspended; and guess what, it is even less likely that the used-to-be student will be accepted to another university. For me, I want to be genuine, make people trust me. You want to put in the work that is rightfully yours. This is very important when you are making a network of people because nobody would work with somebody who is simply a liability. Golf also taught me that my actions have consequences. The game of golf is a very individualistic sport. There is no such thing as defense—a player can’t tackle another while he is swinging. The only determinant of the shot comes from the player himself, and that means the only person who could be blamed for a bad shot is the player.
It is very easy to blame others for their mistakes. However, blaming others is outside the bounds of reality; when you fail an exam, that is on you. You end up learning this notion that you have to pull up your bootstraps during college. You can’t expect to get results when you just sit on your bed and scroll through Instagram on your phone 24/7. You have to put in the hours to get the results you desperately want. This isn’t like high school, where you can not study and still get decently good grades. That is a completely different story in college. A ritual that golfers do after an eighteen hole round is that the players shake hands, take off their caps, and say ‘good game’ to each other. This may seem like an ordinary gesture that golfers do, but the handshake actually represents the characteristic of what it means to be a golfer: being a gentleman. Think about this: what is a thing you do when you first meet your professor during Office Hours? You shake their hand. As a student, you are supposed to act professional when speaking to them during a formal discussion. College is a place that teaches you how to be independent, and independence requires maturity. The game of golf taught me how to be mature and respectful to the people around me—and no wonder people actually like me in college. Golf is extremely hard because there are a lot of variables you can’t control. The weather might be very rough today. Your ball might have a bad lie. Maybe your swing is just not there. Tiger Woods, considered to be the greatest golfer to ever play the game, didn’t win every tournament he participated in. According to PGAtour.com, Woods has only won 22.8% of his PGA Tour starts. Can you imagine if Tiger Woods gave up golf during a time when he wasn’t winning? What if he followed the critics who think that Tiger Woods has run out of gas? Funny enough, Tiger Woods is known to prove the critics wrong. During the 2008 US Open, Tiger Woods was experiencing a knee injury, and the doctor recommended that he shouldn’t play in the tournament. He, however, isn’t going to waste an opportunity, so he played anyway. Guess what happened? He ended up winning the tournament despite a broken knee. It goes to show that the greatest athletes learn how to deal with these challenges, and the greatest ones learn how to play the best under the hardest circumstances. For me, I want to have this kind of mindset. I want to be an escape artist in life, being able to cope with the stress and anxiety that lingers during the college cycle. Golf is a mental sport, and so is life. How you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically can be great determinants of your success in college. Of course, there will be times when I am down, but it doesn’t mean I can’t get up. The most underrated advantage in college is having a positive mindset. Even though it is underrated, it doesn’t mean it is unimportant.

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