Golf shares similarities with lots of other sports but one of its great appeals is that it simultaneously manages to remain wholly unique.
Like darts, your opponent can have no direct influence on your play. It is also not dissimilar to snooker in that the quality of any individual shot can only be judged by its relationship to the next shot (hat tip to Geoff Ogilvy for that nugget).
If you look hard enough you can also no doubt find interesting parallels to be drawn between golf and football, cricket, tennis and any number of other sports.
But what about surfing?
Many a golf coach will tell you that the balance and core strength required for surfing are beneficial for golf (see Adam Scott and Kelly Slater) but the two are kindred spirits in more than just the physical execution of the act.
Both can be – and often are – spiritual activities capable of being enjoyed as either a solitary or group undertaking
Fans of the elite level of each are drawn almost entirely from the pool of people who also participate in the sport. Both have their own language.
But most importantly, both offer the chance to travel and expand their knowledge and love of the pursuit in a way few other sports can.
Yes, you can take a trip to watch a rugby or cricket game but it will be played on a pitch of almost exactly the same dimensions as the one at home.
The French Open and Wimbledon may have a different vibe but aside from the change of surface, there is little to differentiate the two.
But in golf and surfing, the lure of a different break or course is like nothing to be found elsewhere.
Our American friends call it a ‘buddy trip’ and there is almost no end to the possibilities for such a getaway.
“Many a golf coach will tell you that the balance and core strength required for surfing are beneficial for golf (see Adam Scott and Kelly Slater) but the two are kindred spirits in more than just the physical execution of the act.”
From a day trip to sample a new or renovated local course to an overseas pilgrimage to the home of golf in Scotland, there is always something new to be discovered in golf.
In many ways the golf trip may be the single most enjoyable aspect of the game. The anticipation in the lead up, the organising of travel, accommodation, tee times and associated competitions and betting to be undertaken.
On an away trip, there always seems much less focus on day to day performance and much more emphasis on fun.
But above all else, the joy of the golf trip is the chance to see and play new golf courses or revisit old favourites.
Later this week I will be embarking on my first golf trip in more than a year, three days at Barnbougle Dunes with Mike Clayton and a bunch of other certifiable golf nuts.
The trip is a little bit different because it’s partly business (myself and Mike are hosting the tour and recording an audience participation podcast one evening) but the sense of anticipation is familiar.
I haven’t been to Barnbougle for almost two years and just thinking about the drive up to
the Dunes clubhouse has me on the verge of salivating.
And the endless hours of dissection and discussion about the two courses that would put non-golfers (and some golfers) to sleep in minutes? Heaven.
I’m sure surfers get the same buzz ahead of a flight interstate or overseas to sample a new break or revisit an old one with friends.
It’s got nothing to do with scores or how one plays, yet it touches the very essence of both pursuits. Player and playing field, just for the sake of it.
I can already tell it will be the highlight of my golfing year.
Rod Morri is founder of the TalkinGolf Podcast Network, home of the State of the Game, iSeekGolf, TalkinGolf History and Feed The Ball podcasts.
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