Why hackers are unique in sport

The golfing hacker occupies a unique place in the sporting world. As an under-achiever he,   or she, is no different from millions who play sport badly. What makes them different is that their chosen sport actively encourages them to keep banging their heads against the brick wall of their incompetence.
They are lured by the continual promise that their game will improve if they take a series of costly steps — lessons, more expensive clubs, better balls, instructional books, videos and magazines that pledge to help them hit the ball further and straighter, chip it more accurately or putt with unerring accuracy.
What is never done is to even hint they may be wasting their time. That wouldn’t be in the game’s interests. As bad as they are, they are vital to the health of wealth of the golf industry.
Other sports have a built-in ejector seat. If you are no good a button will be pressed to propel you out and into some other activity.
Lousy footballers, for instance, won’t find a team willing to pick them. The same applies to lousy cricketers, lousy rugby players and lousy netballers. Even lousy anglers eventually realise that the fish don’t want them.
But lousy golfers are most welcome. After all, they pay the same subs or green fees as the best players and probably spend more over the bar — and they very rarely win any of the prizes.
Hackers have to make up their own mind to quit and it is the very nature of this brilliant game that makes giving it up so difficult.
Just when you are ready to stomp off in frustration, you will hit a shot that feels so good and looks so impressive as it flies through the air that the lowliest spirits soar and you are fed enough fulfilment to keep you hooked.
Golf also has the best handicapping system of any sport. Theoretically, it enables the worst players to play on equal terms with the best. It is largely illusory but it maintains the hope level that drives us all.
And never underestimate the power of a hacker’s hope. Most of them believe fervently that one day they will blossom into better players. Some do; not many, but enough to encourage the others.
That is why, despite all the drawbacks listed above, hackers love and enjoy the game as much anyone. This enterprise, therefore, is not aimed at gaining sympathy for golf hackers. It is merely to identify them as bona fide participants in a great game and while their efforts may not attract admiration they deserve some respect.

2 thoughts on “Why hackers are unique in sport

  1. As a 68 year old ex hacker, who has for many years played off a handicap of 20+, a new lease of life has occurred since I retired at the age of 65 and joined the seniors section at my club, Thorney Lakes GC near Peterborough.
    I have risen to the giddy heights of 16 !, perhaps due to a more relaxing atmosphere but more due I think to a purple patch last summer when the ground was dry and hard and my ball was travelling unheard of distances.
    I feel that it will take many moons to reach my previous level at 0.1 shot a time and once again become a happy hacker.
    I look forward to reading your weekly column as I have done
    for many years in the Indie.

    All the best


  2. Peter,

    What a brilliant read. your point of view transcends all sports and even includes my own chosen labyrinth of running where my chosen designation is that of a “plodder”.

    Keep-up the good work, Bampy


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