Plugged In The Hazard: When Golf is Not Fun

by Andrew Penner - Yes, we can sugarcoat it all day long, but sometimes golf – and don’t come after me with your five-iron for saying it – just isn’t fun.


Yes, yes, I know, that’s blasphemy. I’ve got a pitchfork and very hot flames in my future, I get it.

But, come on, we’ve all played a round of golf that was about as much fun as peeing on a spark plug.

Image Caption : When You Require A Team Of Lumberjacks To Help You Out Before Continuing To Play, Golf Can Cease To Be A Joyful Experience

Indeed, when the birds are chirping, the company is good, and Big Bertha is behaving, a game of golf is great. That’s a given. It’s why we fork over a day’s pay and peg it up.

It’s why we lie to our spouse and make a mad dash for the door. (“Honey, I’m just going over to your mom’s house to mow her lawn and read her some poetry. I’ll be back in four hours.”)

However, not every round can be summed up as “poetic.” Sometimes, when the aim is so bad you couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle, the fun factor takes a serious nose dive. I mean, who, besides maybe Lindsay Lohan, really enjoys humiliating themselves in front of their peers? 

While playing bad, like disgustingly bad, is almost always a fun killer, there are other reasons why a game of golf can be, well, about as enjoyable as a root canal from a blind dentist.

Bugs, for example, can really put a damper on things. One summer, back in my homeland of Manitoba, I recall playing golf when the mosquitoes were so thick, so bloodthirsty, so hellishly heinous that the golf course – let’s just call it the Nameless Country Club – actually closed down for a full week in June (the weather was perfect) because of the wicked infestation.

Short of obliterating the place with a napalm strike, nothing would have fixed the problem. Before the course closed I remember teeing off on the first hole with 14,000 mosquitoes (I’m not exaggerating) biting into my flesh at the exact same time.

Trust me, this was not fun.

I could not possibly have drunk enough of my uncle’s hallucinatory hooch to make the round enjoyable. Speaking of hooch, playing golf when you’re sick, highly medicated, or hung over (I swear, I’ve never done it), can make for a fairly negative experience as well.

A friend of mine - who would love to be kept anonymous, but let’s just call him Bob Smith who lives on a chicken farm a mile-and-a-half east of Landmark, Manitoba on Range Road 42 - was so “hung” in one particular round that he barfed in his own golf bag. And, no, it didn’t do much good for his “grip” the rest of the day. 

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Obviously, your playing partners can also go a long way in terms of how enjoyable your experience is. For example, playing golf with annoying clients or your egotistical boss can be a nerve-wracking, walking-on-eggshells experience.

Even if you hammer one off the ball washer and it ricochets off the cart and beans your boss in the brain, it still may not be enough to salvage the round.    

The weather can also be a make-it-or-break-it factor when it comes to “fun.” For example, and I’m risking an extended “camping” trip on my sofa for saying this, my wife will only play golf if it’s 23 degrees Celsius, partly overcast (it’s too bright with full-on sun), and the barometric pressure is 101.325 kPa.  

I tried in vain to explain to her that a high pressure air mass might actually gain her a few extra yards off the tee, but my words fell on deaf ears. In her jaded opinion, playing golf in monsoons, blizzards, hurricanes, typhoons, hail storms, and tornadoes is a waste of time. How twisted is that?

Finally, playing golf when you’re battling an injury can also really put a damper on things. Interestingly, it’s often the annoying little flesh wounds – a blister on your thumb, a festering cut on your finger, a ruptured zit on your shoulder, etc. – that can really kill your joy. 

Of course, when a more significant injury befalls you or one of your playing partners, things can get especially depressing. I once played a round of golf where my buddy took a line drive (from an impatient a*@#hole on another hole) square in the temple.

He hit the ground like a sack of bricks and lay still for three minutes before he came to. His words, when he finally came around, were priceless.

“What’s up, boys? Are we having fun yet?”