Why do people play golf?

Being outdoors is attractive compared to being stuck in an office space. Challenging oneself to master a difficult game would be on the list for many. Getting together with your friends- a golf course is a good place to do that also.

Now imagine if you had to play the same golf course every day. I don't mean being a member at a club and playing your home course every day. I mean, imagine if every golf course was the exact same.

Every course in every corner of the globe looked exact in design, yardage, elevations and slope, green contours, green speeds, Every hole had 40 yard wide fairways. Every hole had out of bounds on the left side of the 9th and 18th holes. Every bunker was placed 240 yards from the tee area sitting in the right side of the fairway. Every hole had the same trees that were cut to the same height.

Would you play? Would you get bored?

Of course we would!! A lot of the charm of golf is it's indifference. 

Different designs in different regions. Different wind directions, Different visuals. Some with oceans abutting the corners of the hole. Some with large mounds and no trees. Some with rough and some clean shaven. That's appealing. That's a different skill set or task asked each and every time.

Football field- same dimensions everywhere. Baseball fields and soccer fields are basically the same dimensions and layout. Basketball. Ice hockey. Tennis all the same court dimensions. The only difference would be the opponent standing on the other end of the court or the other side of the net.

Golf is an outdoor sport with variance. No two parcels of land are the same. If they arent the same then ifferent challenges are guaranteed. The true player adapts to the challenge of different circumstances. 

If designs and conditions and locations vary then so too should the lie a golfer is presented with. Different grasses challenge the golfer in different ways. Different lies with the ball below the feet or above the feet seek some alteration to the stance or swing to execute the shot correctly.

So why does the divot become a focal point amongst so many golfers as being unfair? Truly golf wasn't meant to be fair due to the uncertainty of the playing field due to dimensions, location, weather and so forth.

It is just another shot in a series of shots. No two golf shots are the same because of the playing field. There is no free throw line with the basket set at 10 feet high in golf. There is no baseline to hit with a monotonomous supply of ground strokes. 

People suggest a divot should be considered ground under repair- or GUR- as it is shortened to in golf glossary. Why?

Well it's unfair for a perfect drive to go straight down the fairway and end up in a divot made by some other golfer. Sure many may see it that way.

Is that a lack of character that the player can't accept tough situations? Is this belief a lack of ability that they believe they have no way to play the next shot? Probably both, but "rub of the green" has always been a feature of the game. A test of one's ability and a test of ones nerve and patience and inner workings.

Payne Stewart drove perfectly down the fairway during the 1998 United States Open at The Olympic Club only to find his ball in a divot. He misjudged the perfect execution of the shot and wound up short with the approach and made bogey. He would later finish one stroke behind in the tournament.

Steve Elkington had hit a perfect drive down the 72nd hole at TPC Sawgrass in the 1991 Players Championship and his ball came to rest in the middle of a divot. He never hesitated and hit down on a 3 iron sending the ball bouncing up the surface and resting 10 feet from the hole. He made the putt to win.

Every golfer ever has been affected by a bad bounce, bad luck, a bad lie or been in a divot. Every golfer has also hit a poor drive that richocheted off a tree and back into the fairway in a perfect spot. Should that golfer move his ball into the trees because that is where it should've ended up?

Those "lucky' moments many forget as it is much easier to complain about the bad than accept and acknowledge the good.


I will however feel some sympathy for the golfer in a sand filled divot. These types of lies are manufactured and certainly tougher to hit. Sand filled divots however have become a tradition to save the ground staff's energy of refilling divots and an enhanced turn around time for healing of that puncture of the ground.

Some of the blame also rests on the golfer for taking huge divots and not replacing them or kicking them in so they grow back sooner or are at least filled in for upcoming players.

Will the divot rule ever come into effect? No. How could it? For what constitutes a divot?

A fresh one. A deep one. A shallow brush of turf. A divot seemingly growing back. A small indent where grass is not rampant in its growth? Golfers would tip the ball over onto a good lie at any opportunity they could to improve their lie- divot or no divot. And out the window goes Rule 9 from the playback- "play the ball as it lies".

Golf wasn't meant to be easy. Golf was never invented to be played upon pristine surfaces without an element of luck. Cows and sheep originally mowed the grass in the 1800's in scotland. The Home of Golf- ST Andrews- has a road behind it's 17th green that is an integral part of the course and played from!!

So nect time your ball is in a divot take the time to practice the shot and learn how to move the ball from the predicament with the clubhead and not with your hand. I guarantee you'll gain much more satusfaction from the choice.