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GOLF DOCTOR

Are you addicted to golf? The Golf Doctor spells out some symptoms

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Aging rocker Alice Cooper is a serious golfer; and good. Even while still performing, he has played golf six days a week for 35 years. He is addicted to golf.  He readily admits he started playing golf because he was an alcoholic; so he replaced one addiction with another. But, Cooper is quick to  offer, golf saved his life. When he first tried golfing he striped his very first ball straight down the middle.

“And that,” says Cooper, “was sexual chocolate.”

Turns out a lot of people are addicted to golf in one form or another. Are you?  If that thought concerns you here are a few warning signs and symptoms that suggest golf addiction. 

First, you have let golfing interfere with your work, so that your job or business is suffering.

Another key item has to do with golf affecting personal relationships and loved ones,  resulting in friction and resentments. In other words, your golf gets in the way of family obligations and functions, often leading to arguments.

Other ways you can tell if you might be a golf addict is if you have more than 1,000 golf balls in your garage; or if you secretly buy golf clubs and hide them; or if you suffer injuries due to stupidity or self-flagellation; or you belong to a country club you can’t afford; or you are compelled to go out and play in rain, snow, cold or otherwise weather conditions dangerous for golf; or you get to the parking lot at your local muni in the middle of the night to put your ball in the rack and then sleep a few hours in your car; or you’re writing golf articles ‘til midnight with a 7:30 a.m. tee time.

Sometimes folks find themselves attracted to golf partly because they find it helps their self-confidence and self-esteem.  A lot of golfers have a strong need for a sense of personal competence and worth and control; they find golf to be a way of demonstrating and reinforcing that feeling, just like addiction to work in a way. 

Others find the fairways and greens a great escape from whatever they want to get away from.

That’s not crazy.

However, if you let golf take over and occupy a completely inappropriate dimension in your life, to the extent that it has replaced other recreational pastimes or normal activities and interests you used to enjoy, you may be struggling with real problems.  I don’t mean to scare anybody, but over the years golf has surprisingly been a frequent cause for divorces and people going broke.

Just about all addictions have fundamentally the same underlying habits, thought distortions, denials and emotions in common. Yet, compulsive golfing seems a more socially benign affliction than say gambling or drug abuse.

So what’s an obsessed chop to do? Go to AA? Hardly.

Get a shrink and suffer a few visits on the couch? Find a local Golfers’ Anonymous? Go it alone cold turkey? Of course, one paradoxical option could be joining the Golf Nut Society  (www.golfnut.com) and admit you’re powerless over golf. 

The most famous Golf Nut member (# 0023) is basketball legend Michael Jordan, who earned the title in 1989 when he didn’t bother to show up for his first NBA Most Valuable Player Award because he was at Pinehurst Country Club playing two back-to-back rounds. 

Bob Hope was a Golf Nut board member. The 2006 Golf Nut of the year was Steve Thorwald, who played golf on his wedding day and then played 36 holes each of three days on his honeymoon.

The marriage didn’t last.  He went on to marry another certifiable Golf Nut.

Send me your stories.  Well, it’s now near one o’clock in the morning – I gotta go.

Golf Doctor