Perhaps it was Ben Hogan who said it or perhaps someone else. Not that it really matters as it’s not the utterer that’s important in this instance but the utterance.
“It’s not the hook,” said our unknown golfer. “It’s the fear of the hook.”
As a species, humans tend to fear what they don’t know. Likewise, we spend much of our time worrying about things that haven’t yet happened.
During the recent bushfires the flames themselves were, in a strange way, the easy part because once there is fire there is a clear enemy to be fought.
But as anyone who endured that particular horror will agree, the waiting for the fire is truly awful.
"There will be a place for golf in whatever that turns out to be, just as there was a place for golf during wars and depression."
Uncertainty brings anxiety and what the world – golf included – faces right now is a period of uncertainty the likes of which none of us has seen in our lifetimes.
It infects every part of daily thinking, from travel and shopping plans to worries about vulnerable family members.
Things we once took for granted, like job security and the Saturday comp, are now anything but guaranteed.
Under these circumstances, it’s easy to dismiss golf as unimportant and in many ways that’s right.
But for a large number of Australians, golf (the industry, not the playing) is actually critical to survival.
Like restaurants and cafes and function centres, golf clubs and courses employ thousands of people across the country.
From bar staff to accountants to course superintendents, the array of trades touched by the game is extensive and diverse.
And as it is for all leisure industries, the potential impact of this Coronavirus pandemic is terrifying.
You will already have seen plenty of stories and opinion pieces about how golf is one of the few activities still safe to indulge in.
Not being an expert, I have nothing to offer in that discussion though the advice seems to agree that, assuming sensible precautions, playing the game is relatively safe (for now, who knows about tomorrow?)
More to the point is how golfers might feel about indulging their hobby at a time when there is so much else to be concerned about.
The answer about whether or not you should play at a time like this is entirely personal.
There is no right or wrong, only what an individual feels.
For those who do tee up, the golf industry will be thankful. For those who don’t, there is no judgement. It’s a completely understandable and reasonable decision.
The worst part of this whole pandemic is the uncertainty of it, chief among the unknowns is how long it might be before things return to whatever will be the new ‘normal’.
There will be a place for golf in whatever that turns out to be, just as there was a place for golf during wars and depression.
But what that place is and might be – now and in the future – remains unsettlingly uncertain.