Golf: Not as Boring as it Looks

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Golf: Not as Boring as it Looks

By Ivana Kosir

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“You drove two and a half hours to watch golf?”Yes, I did. And it was the most interesting experience I had all year.

Seniors Katie McDonagh, Divya Shah, and Connor Dyer, and I drove out to watch junior Nate Lee play golf at the state tournament. We found it embarrassing that after four years at Niles West, not once did we watch a Niles West golf match.

“Niles West students go to all the football and volleyball games, but when it comes to golf, no one comes. It’s too bad that they’re underrepresented,” said Dyer.

To most people, golf is a sport in which you sit around and watch people swing clubs and miniscule balls for hours at a time. This is true, but there is so much more to the game that you would not understand until you saw it firsthand.

Essentially, a golf course is a never-ending grass field. Or at least, that’s what it looks like. From my perspective, everything looked the same. After asking for directions twice, we finally found the tenth hole, which was where Nate was golfing. We walked up to what looked like spectators, but we couldn’t confirm our location because the course was dead silent. Everyone was respectful of the golfers and kept their silence so that the golfers could concentrate. After watching just one hole though, it is easy to see why.

The golfers stood within the same vicinity of the hole, each taking their own measurements and observing each other. Players squatted down to the ground to get the see the best angle to hit the ball, and before striking it, they would take multiple practice swings. Every stroke was vital in this tournament, and one mistake could cost them. Everything was taken very seriously, even by the fans. There was no cheering- just classy clapping. Coaches are not allowed to give advice to players until in between holes. Perhaps the biggest shock was that there were no officials. All scoring is done by players and coaches, and at the end, they verify the score cards with IHSA officers.

Although it is very different from other sports, golf isn’t necessarily easy. Good golfers make the game look effortless with swift swings and rapid movements; however, the game has more factors. Take the weather, for example. A slight breeze can alter the game dramatically, carrying the golf ball in whichever direction. Then there is the problem of finding the ball. It can be hit hundreds of feet away, and it is the golfer’s job to find it.  There is no halftime, no lunch break, or anything of that sort. It is a mentally and physically demanding sport, for the fans as well, even though it is not fast-paced.

“I was tired, and I was just standing and sitting the entire time,” said McDonagh.

Regardless, you couldn’t help but cheer on your team. It was just as thrilling as a 24-23 scored volleyball game. With every stroke that Nate took, we held our breaths, used our “mojo” as Coach Mitch Stern directed us to, and hoped that the ball got closer and closer to the hole. After seven hours, the mojo worked, and Nate finished in top 25 of the state.

I can safely say that I learned more at the golf course than I would have in school on Friday. I will always have school work to do, but this was my one chance to see a state golf tournament. Niles West athletics don’t go down to state too often, and it’s a shame that only four students were able to witness it. Not only did I see something new, but at the end of the day, I understood and was able to apply golf terms like par, birdie, and bogie. If you don’t know what those are, I guess you’ll have to come out next year to watch the golf team.