Although some may disagree, I believe golf is the most difficult sport to play. Each golf course is different, creating a great advantage for playing on your home course as opposed to a rival course. Golf is also a strong mental game, and trying to come back from a bad shot can be grueling. Finally, the preparation for all the outdoor variables the weather has can be near impossible and hard to prepare for. These are just a few of the countless reasons why golf is one of the toughest sports to play.
In basketball, each court is identical. In baseball, the distances between the bases are the same. But in golf, each course you play is different. This causes a distinct home advantage for playing golf competitively. If you play your home course regularly, like in practice, you know it like the back of your hand. You know where all the hidden hazards are, the slopes of the greens, and which side of the fairway to play. But when you play on your opponent’s course, you might take a few extra strokes than them, due to the fact that you don’t know the course like they do. If you’re not smart about it, a few extra strokes can lead to their win.
Trying to beat your opponent is one thing, but trying to not beat yourself up mentally is even harder in golf. Since you face off against your opponent one-on-one, the pressure is a lot higher. If they have a good shot and you mess up, it feels like the end of the world and can be really hard to come back from. Even if you are a really talented golfer, the mental game can tear you apart.
The fewer variables you can have in a game, the more consistent your game can be. But since golf is an outdoor sport, the weather makes consistency almost nonexistent. So many factors go into the perfect shot. You need to account for wind, temperature, moisture, and a lot more other weather-related factors. The climate can vary from day to day, so trying to get a consistently exceptional shot is nearly impossible. Preparing for these can be complicated as well, because you can never perfectly simulate all the conditions to play in.
Golf is a very challenging sport to play. Course differentiation can make for a distinct advantage or lack thereof when playing an opponent. The mental game can even be tougher than the physical part of the sport and trying to keep your head up. Adapting to the weather changes can shake up your whole game no matter how much you’ve prepared. All these aspects make the game of golf the most difficult sport to play.
Elayna Kiehne is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its eighteenth year.