The game of golf provides a sense of responsibility. What other game begins with the assumption that the players will be responsible for enforcing the rules?
If hockey, football or basketball had similar expectations, the resulting chaos would fill emergency rooms for miles around.
One of the most common axioms in golf is that even the poorest player is likely to execute one good shot in an otherwise terrible round, and that this will bring him back to the course another day. So golf inspires hope, even if a shot or score indicates despair. Every player knows this.
On the other hand, the game is an effective antidote for presumption. Ask Greg Norman or anyone who has lost an insurmountable lead.
Yet many golfers, perhaps most, find ways to justify personal amendments to the rules, thus squandering opportunities to show themselves to the world as they are, mistakes and all.
Golf is a game whose spiritual benefits are available to anyone. It reminds us the worst player can bring more than a poor score (and an even poorer attitude) home with him. Since that poor player is often the one we face in the mirror, this is a comfort.
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